The “Gunwalker” scandal–in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) stands accused of enabling gun smuggling, arming the men who murdered a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent—continues to bubble on the back burner. The Department of Justice has responded to a request from Senator Grassley of Iowa for clarification on the ATF’s involvement in the murder weapons. Click here to download the doc, which contains a seemingly unequivocal denial . . .
The allegation described in your 27 January letter—that ATF “sanctioned” or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico—is false.”
Yes, well, this letter was written by lawyers. A careful reading of that single sentence reveals a DOJ loophole. Or two.
We know for a fact that the ATF knowingly allowed the sale of weapons to straw purchasers. Indeed the scandal first started to take shape when a Houston gun dealer went public with the allegation that the ATF had done just that. Lone Wolf Trading, the Arizona gun store in the center of the latest “enabling” allegations, has also admitted that it “worked closely” with the ATF. So how could the DOJ claim otherwise?
Read the wording carefully: ” . . . a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico”. If the straw purchaser handed the weapons to someone else who transported them to Mexico, then this statement remains true. Clever eh?
And how about the word “knowingly.” It raises the specter of plausible deniability. In fact, this denial letter form the basis of a classic stonewall, with just enough wiggle room to save a career or two should the SHTF. Meanwhile, the DOJ is telling a United States Senator to fuck off.
We also want to protect investigations and law enforcement personnel who directly conduct them from political influence, For this reason, we respectfully that Committee staff not contact law enforcement personnel seeking information about pending criminal investigations, including the investigation into the death of Customs and Border Patrol [ED: that’s “Protection”] agent Brian Terry.
Somehow I don’t think Grassley will be deterred from pursuing the truth about the ATF, Project Gunrunner and the weapons that took an agent’s life. Nor should he be. We shall see.