The ATF denied a 2nd FOIA request related to Hunter Biden’s gun investigation, citing ongoing litigation, raising questions about transparency.
There’s concern that ATF may indefinitely delay the FOIA request, potentially hiding sensitive information about the Biden administration.
Allegations suggest a potential cover-up involving the Secret Service & IRS whistleblower testimony, casting further doubt on the administration’s actions.
U.S.A. — “At this time, the information you requested is related to ongoing litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware,” Adam C. Siple, Chief, Information and Privacy Governance Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives informed attorney Stephen Stamboulieh in an email Monday. “Therefore, your request is denied pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 552(b)(7)(A) because it concerns a criminal action currently pending before the Court.”
That information is what I asked for in a Freedom of Information Act Request on June 20, my second on the Hunter Biden gun investigation, after a court upheld ATF’s rejection of my first FOIA on the grounds that privacy interests trumped the public’s right to know about it.
Specifically what I am requesting are the following:
“[C]opies of law enforcement and administrative reports, communications, correspondence, and work papers, including with internal State of Delaware DOJ, the Delaware State Police, any local law enforcement, and all relevant federal agencies. This includes any case handling instructions from overseeing administrative authorities and/or agencies.”
At least now, by denying it, they are acknowledging that there in fact are documents.
In the first FOIA, ATF wouldn’t say whether or not there were, refusing to confirm or deny that there even was an investigation. Now that they’ve confirmed it, they’re just not going to do anything (without explaining how the information being requested for this specific instance would affect tangential investigations in any way).
The “ongoing litigation” Siple referred to was the prosecution deal with Biden that blew up Wednesday after “Judge Maryellen Noreika did not accept the plea agreement, questioning the constitutionality — specifically the diversion clause and the immunity Hunter Biden would receive.” When the Department of Justice admitted Biden was still under investigation but would not say what for, his attorney said he did not agree with that, to which the prosecutor replied, “Then there is no deal.”
What this means to the FOIA request is that without an end to the investigation and affected litigation in sight, ATF could stall on answering it indefinitely. Even if the criminal litigation is resolved, there remains the very real possibility that they’ll find another reason to deny complying and providing the requested information.
After all, the first FOIA request was initially balked at by questioning my qualifications as a journalist, then claiming no records could be found, then saying they withdrew that, and finally declaring they shouldn’t have responded at all because Biden’s privacy interests made the requested documents none of the public’s business. Now they’re saying they can’t answer the second FOIA request because of “ongoing litigation.”
At some point, it becomes obvious they really don’t want to answer this at all and will keep coming up with reasons to stonewall and defer for as long as it takes. It’s almost fair to wonder when ATF will resort to Jake’s excuses from The Blues Brothers.
It’s more than fair to wonder if the Secret Service signing an affidavit denying involvement despite reports placing them on the scene of the investigation of Hunter Biden’s gun might pose an exposure risk for the administration. What made some witnesses think they were there, and assuming they weren’t imagining investigators, who were those guys (and the ones who ordered them there)? The best way to nip speculation and potential conspiracy theories in the bud is to be forthcoming with the truth.
Speaking of that, in a related development, Biden’s attorneys have had to respond to allegations about a fake phone call and an attempt to “remove testimony from IRS whistleblowers about the Justice Department’s lackluster criminal investigation into his tax offenses from the court docket.”
It’s like everything about this guy, his dealing and his associates is shady, and the Biden administration is up to its neck in things and running interference as a matter of desperation and survival.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.