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Luetkemeyer Seeks Answers from ATF about Agency’s Role in State Records Release

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Washington, April 16, 2013 | comments
In light of new information showing that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was working with the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA/OIG) to obtain private information from the state about Missourians holding conceal and carry weapons licenses, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today sent a letter to the ATF seeking answers from the agency about the depth of its involvement in the burgeoning scandal and has asked for a meeting with the ATF.
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In light of new information indicating possible involvement by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General’s (SSA OIG) efforts to obtain private information from the state about Missourians holding conceal and carry weapons licenses, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) today sent a letter to the ATF seeking answers from the agency about the depth of its involvement in the burgeoning scandal and has asked for a meeting with the ATF.
 
An email dated January 23, 2013, from the Missouri State Highway Patrol indicates that a special agent with the SSA OIG was seeking a list of Missourians holding conceal and carry permits as part of a joint investigation with ATF into potential Social Security fraud and, according to the email in question, whether or not certain Missourians could be disqualified from owning a gun or possessing a CCW permit. While the information was provided on multiple occasions by the state to the Social Security Administration, federal officials have now said that the information was never accessed, and later destroyed.

“As I have told the SSA Inspector General, this is very clearly a violation of one’s personal privacy and I cannot adequately express to you my incredible concern over this situation.  What is more concerning is that, according to reports, the Missouri Highway Patrol released a full list of Missourians holding concealed carry permits, numbering anywhere from 167,000 to 187,000 individuals, to your office,” Luetkemeyer said in the letter to Acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “This situation continues to evolve and, judging by the most recent reports and emails provided to my office, one in which ATF seems to have played a meaningful role.”

The newest revelations come on the same day as Inspector General of the Social Security Administration  Patrick O’Carroll, Jr. apologized for his agency’s “sloppiness” in releasing the wrong information about whether the agency accessed private conceal and carry permitholder information. Luetkemeyer and O’Carroll are scheduled to meet on Thursday morning in Washington D.C. to discuss the specifics of the agency’s activities and O’Carroll plans to answer the 10 questions, one of which explicitly asks whether or not any information was shared with other federal agencies.

“It is incomprehensible to me that the people of Missouri have been unable to get a straight answer out of the federal government about what happened and to now learn that the ATF may be involved adds another troubling layer to an ongoing and disturbing series of events, and I’m determined to get answers,” Luetkemeyer said.

NOTE: Text of Luetkemeyer’s letter to ATF is below:

The Honorable B. Todd Jones
Acting Director
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
U.S. Department of Justice
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20226

Dear Director Jones:
I write to you to express my serious concern over new reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in conjunction with the Social Security Administration (SSA), recently requested and received detailed, personal information from the Missouri Highway Patrol or other government agencies and offices in the State of Missouri.  Specifically, it has come to my attention that your office received a list of Missourians who have concealed carry weapons permits.
As I have told the SSA Inspector General, this is very clearly a violation of one’s personal privacy and I cannot adequately express to you my incredible concern over this situation.  What is more concerning is that, according to reports, the Missouri Highway Patrol released a full list of Missourians holding concealed carry permits, numbering anywhere from 167,000 to 187,000 individuals, to your office.  This situation continues to evolve and, judging by the most recent reports and emails provided to my office, one in which ATF seems to have played a meaningful role.
In order to provide badly-needed clarification to the people of Missouri, I request that you respond immediately to the following questions:

1. Did ATF or any other Justice Department (DOJ) office request from the Missouri Highway Patrol or any other state agency a complete list of individuals with concealed carry permits? 

2. Did your office or any other DOJ office request any other information, personal or otherwise, from any State of Missouri department or official?  If so, what specific information was requested and from whom?

3. Did ATF or any other office within DOJ receive any information or documentation from any State of Missouri department or official, including but not limited to the Missouri Highway Patrol?  If so, what departments provided information and specific information was received?

4. In how many instances was information provided to ATF or any other office of DOJ?

5. Does ATF or any office within DOJ still have access to or hold any data provided by the State of Missouri?  If so, what specific data is still accessible or held?

6. If your office did request information, on what legal grounds did it do so?

7. For what explicit purpose did your office request this information?

8. Did you agency, under any circumstances, seek the information on Missourians to disqualify gun owners from owning a gun or having or maintaining a CCW?

9. Detail the manner in which ATF coordinated with the SSA Office of Inspector General to request and/or receive this information.

10. Has or will any information received from the State of Missouri been or be used in any way by ATF or any other DOJ office?  If so, please detail the ways in which this information has or will be utilized.

11. Has this information been shared by ATF or any other office within DOJ with any other federal department or agency, including SSA?  Do you intend to share any information you have received with any other federal department or agency and, if so, which departments or agencies?

12. If any information was requested or shared, was the request and subsequent transfer of said information performed in accordance with all federal statutes including but not limited to the Federal Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579), Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act (P.L. 100-573), and the E-Government Act (P.L. 107-347)?

13. If any information has been shared with other federal departments or agencies is there a guarantee that the privacy of Missourians has been fully protected?

14. Has ATF or any other office within DOJ requested or received any personal information from any other state agency outside of Missouri?

I greatly respect ATF’s mission to protect the American public.  However, I take significant objection to the collection and distribution of personal information of Missourians and other Americans. 

This is a very important issue to me and to all Missourians and, as such, I request a personal meeting with you as soon as possible so that you may clarify any actions taken by your agency.  In addition to that meeting, I request written responses to the aforementioned questions as soon as possible.  Additionally, please provide me with copies of all correspondence between agencies in the State of Missouri and ATF requesting or granting this information, including the individuals requesting and granting said information, and with copies of any information that has been or will be shared between the State of Missouri and the Federal government, including but not limited to ATF.  Additionally, please provide me with copies of all relevant correspondence between ATF and SSA.

Please have your staff contact Chris Brown of my staff (chrisbrown@mail.house.gov or 202.225.2956) with the responses to my questions and to schedule a meeting.  I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Blaine Luetkemeyer
Member of Congress

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