Friday, June 17, 2011

Fast And Furious - How The Dept. Of Justice Ran Illegal Guns To Mexican Drug Gangs

The US DOJ had a really bright idea. They put together an operation known as 'Fast and Furious' that allowed almost 2,000 illegally purchased weapons to be sold in gunshops to known straw buyers - people who legally purchase firearms and then sell them to unauthorized third parties - in Arizona and sent to Mexico, where the DOJ knew they were almost certainly going to end up in the hands of drug gangs. The idea was that the Department of Justice would record the serial numbers and eventually recover them from crime scenes and use them as evidence to build a conspiracy case that might take down the leaders of major drug cartels.

Accordingly, The DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( BATF) ordered its agents to ignore the purchase and subsequent smuggling of these weapons into Mexico, over the objections of many BATF agents who realized something their bosses were too stupid to comprehend - that the influx of weapons would lead to a spike in murder and mayhem across the border, that it would eventually spread across the border and that the sort of weapons being being purchased were going to allow the drug cartels to outgun the lightly armed Border Patrol. In fact, as BATF agents later testified, ATF supervisor David Voth implied in an e-mail that staff who objected to his orders would be fired.

What the agents who objected predicted is exactly what happened, as the body count mounted on both sides of the border and only a few relatively small time operators were apprehended with the smuggled weapons.

Two of the guns allowed to get into the hands of the drug cartels were used in a December 14, 2010 shoot-out that killed a US border patrol agent, Brian Terry. This lead to a congressional investigation by Rep. Darrell Issa and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which endured an incredible amount of stonewalling and outright untruths from the Department of Justice and the BATF. and squarely contradicted a Feb. 4, 2011, claim by a department spokesman that DOJ did not approve of the program that sanctioned the illegal sale here in America by legitimate gun dealers of assault weapons to representatives of Mexican drug cartels.

The agents also testified that Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley, a Phoenix-based appointee of President Obama, "orchestrated" Operation Fast and Furious. ATF Phoenix field office supervisor Peter Forcelli, for example, told the committee: "I have read documents that indicate that his boss, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, also agreed with the direction of the case."

The findings of the investigation were outlined in a 51-page investigation written by Congressmen Darryl Issa and Charles Grassley that detailed exactly what went wrong with 'Fast And Furious'.

"Both line agents and gun dealers who co-operated with the ATF repeatedly expressed concerns", about the operation, the report says. "But ATF supervisors did not heed those warnings. Instead, they told agents to follow orders because this was sanctioned from above."

When the fall out became obvious, both the ATF and the Department of Justice engaged in a massive coverup. William Newell, the special agent in charge of the operation, ordered the arrest of people agents had been watching buy weapons for months. Then, he held a press conference calling 'Fast and Furious' a success.

When Newell was asked by the Investigative committee if any weapons had been deliberately allowed to end up in the hands of criminals, he replied, "Hell no!" a statement the report called " untrue and shocking." It then details how the Department of Justice continued to attempt a cover-up for several months, including ignoring subpoenas from the Committee.

When the committee hearing was held, the Democrat members of the House Oversight Committee, led by Elijah Cummings, actually tried to make this about gun control and shield the Obama Administration, a tactic that made Issa furious.

“Obviously they had an agenda,” Issa stated, “perhaps the administration’s agenda was that this collateral damage, as they obviously thought it would be, in fact served their agenda. But it’s very clear they are still trying to promote one thing using anyone, including Brian Terry’s now dead body, and it was the worst I’d ever seen in Congress, that kind of opportunism, inappropriate opportunism.”

Could the BATF and the Obama Justice Department have cooked up this entire scheme as a sort of Reichstag Fire to promote harsh legislation on guns that would gut the Second Amendment? Considering whom we're talking about and their often quoted statements on this issue,it's not exactly unlikely..and it was only discovered by the chance revelations of one informant. WHat remains to be discovered is how high this goes.

It's pretty obvious from documents released by the Issa panel that Operation Fast and Furious was well-known and enthusiastically supported at the highest levels of the BATF, which means they had clearance and oversight from the Justice Department, and that Attorney General Eric Holder had to have known about it, wither initially or as the coverup continued.

So we're left with the old Watergate question - What did Eric Holder know, and when did he know it?

Issa is quite clear that he's 'proceeding vertically' ( which means Holder comes last) and that he's not backing away from this in the slightest. Stay tuned..

: Issa finally got question Holder today, June 21st...and ask the Watergate question.

It's obvious from Holder's demeanor and body language that he's being less than forthcoming..and Issa knows it.

The full exchange can be seen here, and it's worth watching.

This is by no means over yet.

please helps me write more gooder!


B.Poster said...

If they knew the guns were likely going to end up in the hands of drug dealers and they were expecting to recover them from crime scenes, then you had to have known that these guns would have been used to kill innocent people. Why would they do such a thing? To say that such a policy is unethical, is a major understatement. Not only is it unethcial, the incompetence involved in even thinking such a plan was going to work is absolutely breath taking.

Where did these people learn supervisory skills? Any college business student knows that when the people you need to implement a plan think its a bad idea, in this case line aganets and gun dealers, you should, at the very least, rework your plan. In fact, your plan should probably scrapped all togehter. This lesson is one of the very first lessons college stuedents are taught.

This plan no doubt led to the needless deaths of Mexicans and Americans. From a foreign policy standpoint, our main goal should be the defense of our nation and improving our image in the world. These two are interrelaed. By improving our image we get greater cooperation from people whose assistance we need and people are less likely to want to harm us. This make the defense of our country much less problematic.

This particular stunt only undermines our image in further with Mexico. I'm sure the Mexicans will demande a full investigation of this and will probably insist on prosecutions to the fullest extent possible.

B.Poster said...

I was thinking today before you posted this, if there ever was a case to be made for the "responsibility to protect" dcotrine to be used, it would be Mexico. The drug cartels pose a greater danger to Mexicans than Ghaddaffi forces ever posed to Libyans snf liklry ever could. Not only that but the drug cartels are a major threat to America as well.

Apparently Mexican lives and American lives are worth less to the Administration and DOJ than Libyans lives are. Maybe British and French oil deals are worth more to them than America's national security is. In any event, we need to get rid of these people by any and all means necessary.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the weapons that are used by the drug cartels aren't even legally available for the average American to own. I can't own fully-automatic weapons, grenade launchers, or 50 calibre weapons (given that I'm in California). I can't even buy a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds or a gun that has a flash suppressor or handle.
Secondly, there are a glut of less-expensive weapons available from other countries and given the financial means and international connections of the drug cartels, would be the place for them to get the bulk of their weapons.
This program was, plain and simply, a means by which this administration wished to demonize gun ownership in the country and gin support for a back-door infringement of our rights (UN treaty, anyone?).

udrankwhat said...

"...over the objections of many BATF agents who realized something their bosses were too stupid to comprehend -"

Not in the LEAST! They knew full well what they were doing and what that would enable.

The un-noticed elephant in the room is this: Why did the cartels bother?

They're on record in the Mexican press, and in wikileaked papers from the US Embassy in Mexico City--- 90% of the arms employed by the cartels are bought from merchants on the world market, and smuggled in over Mexico's southern border.

'Mike's Gun Shop, on the east side of Phoenix', never stocked, and never sold live hand grenades, RPGs, 50 caliber machine guns, APCs, or sledgehammers. Ok, maybe he sold sledgehammers - the new gladiator favorite for Los Zetas, and others. Same for Carter's Country in Houston.

Was this an international political-influence operation all along?

Roy Lofquist said...

Holder is a little fish. Issa is aiming directly at the President.

Anonymous said...

aiding the enemy is treasion