Nevada's U.S. Attorney and the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have until Wednesday to tell a congressman why federal prosecutors in Reno refused to take cases generated by local ATF agents for the past year, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal, which has been reporting on unidentified “issues” at that heart of the strange dispute. The paper says that besides refusing cases, the federal prosecutors also filed motions to dismiss four indictments against convicted criminals in cases that had been brought by Reno ATF agents.
The rift prompted four of the six Reno agents to transfer to other states. A source who supplied the RGJ with documents on the case recentdly sent those papers to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the ATF. The documents included a September 2011 letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami, head of the Reno office, to local ATF agents saying she would not take any of their cases until “issues” were resolved. Grassley responded by sending a letter to Nevada U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden last week that said: “Refusing to even consider cases that might merit prosecution as a way to exert influence over a law enforcement agency appears to be an extremely broad application of your discretion.” He told Bogden to pull together the people involved in the issues for a briefing by Wednesday. Grassley also wrote to ATF Acting Director Todd Jones and demanded answers from his agency, also by Wednesday.