ATF in Damage Control Mode over Gunwalker

ATF Memo from  The Sipsey Street Irregulars

Public Information Officers:

Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize coverage
of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and
regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last
week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every
opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS
story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and
seems to have fizzled.

It was shoddy reporting, as CBS failed to air on-the-record interviews
by former ATF officials and HQ statements for attribution that
expressed opposing views and explained the law and difficulties of
firearm trafficking investigations. The CBS producer for the story
made only a feigned effort at the 11th hour to reach ATF HQ for comment.

This week (To 3/1/2011), Attorney General Holder testifies on the Hill
and likely will get questions about the allegations in the story. Also
(The 3/3/2011), Mexico President Calderon will visit the White House
and likely will testify on the Hill. He will probably draw attention
to the lack of political support for demand letter 3 and Project

ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort
to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage
of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories
about ATF. The more time we spend highlighting the great work of the
agents through press releases and various media outreaches in the
coming days and weeks, the better off we will be.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any
significant operations that should get national media coverage, please
reach out to the Public Affairs Division for support, coordination and

Thank you,

Scot L. Thomasson
Chief, ATF Public Affairs Division
Washington, DC

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