The Department of Justice (DOJ) allowed thousands of powerful firearms to be purchased legally in Arizona, and walk illegally into Mexico under a program known as Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner. The goal was to trace the weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and/or track them to Arizona gun stores, and blame U.S. gun laws. It’s hard to know the truth of the reasoning behind the programs. Instead, only 700 of these guns have been recovered, leaving 1500 or more somewhere inside Mexico. An American border security agent, Brian Terry, was killed by one of the weapons and traced to the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) program, Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner. Mexican authorities were not informed that we were supplying the cartels with deadly weapons. Attorney General Eric Holder and Barack Obama both say they didn’t have clue this was going on, oh…and the head of the AFT didn’t know about it either. See a video below.
A Mexican attorney was murdered with one of the U.S. AK_47s. Recently, the DOJ ignored subpoenas and seven letters, demanding details of the program. Not a single document has been supplied to to Congressman Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They have simply refused to co-operate, but found it acceptable to try to blame U.S. business men for crimes in Mexico.
Border Agent John Dodson knew Brian Terry, and he exposed the program. Dodson said he was ordered to sit by and watch large caches of guns cross the U.S. border into Mexico. His superiors said he was lying. Here is Dodson’s reply:
I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,” he said. “Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn’t happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.”
Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets… the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.
One e-mail noted, “958 killed in March 2010 … most violent month since 2005.” The same e-mail notes: “Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,” including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.”
Agent Dodson says the violence inside Mexico can be blamed on the hugh quantities of weapons – even AK-47s – that we sent into the country in order to try to track-back the weapons to cartels. He says he confronted his superiors time and time again, as did other agents. But the answer back was goading and mocking:
There was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an ATF supervisor issued an e-mail noting a “schism” among the agents. “Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case…we are doing what they envisioned…. If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work… Maybe the Maricopa County jail is hiring detention officers and you can get $30,000 … to serve lunch to inmates…”
Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.
While it is egregious to think a legal gun seller will knowingly sell guns to gun smugglers (and it appears that has happened) I’ll hold judgement until this lawlesss DOJ is forced to prove the consequences of Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner – both of which is responsible for the death of Brian Terry, and has imperiled the lives of citizens on both sides of the border. Will Holder and other culpable U.S. officials be held in contempt of Congress? Issa says he will do so. It’s about time. Ran at Si Vis Pacem has more, and plans an update on June 19th.
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.” That direction was established sometime after Obama was inaugurated in 2009 when Phoenix ATF agents, breaking with long-established agency practice, were ordered to monitor, but not stop, gun sales to suspected gun traffickers. The agents testified that Phoenix ATF supervisor David Voth “was jovial, if not, not giddy, but just delighted” when Fast and Furious guns were subsequently recovered at multiple Mexican drug busts. And emails released Thursday by Rep. Darrell Issa,R-Calif., revealed that acting director Kenneth Melson even arranged to watch live feeds from ATF cameras in gun stores being used by the program while sitting at his desk.