As the ATF’s Gunwalker scandal continues to unfold, we’re getting a clearer picture of who did what when. For example, the scale of Operation Fast and Furious is starting to emerge. The word “thousands” seems appropriate to describe the number of American weapons that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed smugglers to smuggle to Mexican drug lords. elfronterizo.com.mx reports that an ATF informant videotaped a single delivery of 40 weapons. The feds showed the tape in court to prevent the Osorio brothers—the Texas men accused of purchasing the gun or guns used to kill ICE Special Agent Zapata —from receiving bail . . .
At the hearing on Friday, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), showed a video that supports the charges against the three suspects. The video was captured last November 9 with a hidden camera he was carrying the confidential informant who came to pick up a shipment of 40 guns, which was delivered by the Osorio brothers in the parking lot of a Walmart store in southern Dallas.
The informant recorded the 15 minutes it took to speak with Osorio, while they proceed to transfer the bags containing the weapons from his vehicle to the cabin of the trailer in which the employee of the ATF came to pick them up.
Let’s think about that for a moment. This revelation means that Osorio’s didn’t actually smuggle guns into Mexico. They gave them to an ATF informant who smuggled the guns to Mexican drug cartels. I repeat: the ATF was running the guy running the guns—and let him take the weapons into Mexico.
Question: did the ATF “let” this unnamed gun smuggler bring guns into Mexico or did they help him bring the guns into Mexico? If ICE or the DEA or U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the Texas state police intercepted the ATF’s man with the guns en route to Mexico, he would have ratted out the ATF in a New York minute. So . . .
It’s relatively safe to conclude that the ATF’s gun smugglers got a free pass across the border. This opens-up a whole new chapter in the Gunwalker scandal: other law enforcement agencies’ knowledge of, and participation in, Operation Fast and Furious (part of Project Gunrunner).
I know for a fact that the Drug Enforcement Adminstration’s tight with the ATF; the ATF often supplies money for DEA drug buys. (The DEA is prohibited from using drug money for sting operations.) Was the DEA in on this heinous, cynical plot to amp-up the ATF’s rep by allowing guns into Mexico (to make the problem look worse for federal funding)?
Collusion with the ATF would also explain U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s lack of public outrage at the death of Agent Brian Terry, shot by one of the ATF-enabled guns. Perhaps Customs is in this Gunwalker thing too. How about this from kgun9.com:
But tears quickly turned to anger as [Brian Terry’s father Kent] replied, “I’ll tell you the truth, I think my son was set up. I think he was set up!”
“I know two weeks prior to his death he (Brian) was out there looking for dirty agents!” added Carolyn, citing a conversation she had with Agent Terry prior to his death.
Carolyn also described a conversation she had with officials on the night of Brian’s Tucson memorial. She recalled them saying there was no friendly fire involved. “So my first question was ‘what about dirty agents?'” she said. “And their eyes all got real wide. And they kind of looked at each other like ‘we’ve been caught’ type thing.”
One thing’s for sure: no one’s got a handle on the numbers. Senator Grassley asked the Department of Justice for an accounting of the Gunwalker guns. This is what they finally told him so far (via the extremely late to the party washingtonpost.com):
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the operation, said that 1,765 guns were sold to suspected smugglers during a 15-month period of the investigation. Of those, 797 were recovered on both sides of the border.
Why in the world would we believe the ATF’s stats when they first refused to surrender the info, refuse to provide other info requested by Senator Grassley and teeter on the edge of a criminal investigation?
Meanwhile, it appears that there’s some kind of disinformation campaign afoot. Check this from the AP story US push not halting guns to Mexico, a story that completely ignores the statistical distortion created by Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious:
In fiscal year 2009, Customs and Border Protection agents at all border crossings separating the 2,000-mile border, from Brownsville on Texas’ Gulf Coast to San Diego, seized 107 guns.
The next fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, they seized 279. Those are the most-recent, border-wide figures available.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported seizing 2,633 guns in 2009 at its offices in the four southwestern border states, the most recent figures available, but those were captured before making it into border traffic _ and even if they had, they would have amounted to a little more than a day’s worth that get through.
A November 2008 study by The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, stated that 2,000 American guns are smuggled into Mexico each day. Compiled by a commission including ex-Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador to Russia and a senior State Department official during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the report was the last comprehensive estimate on the subject, though it did not include information on how that figure was reached.
Two thousand guns a day? I don’t think so. That would be 730k a year. In 2009, U.S. firearms production topped-out at 5.4 million guns. It seems like 100% of the people involved with disarming the Mexican drug lords (as if) are lying through their teeth. And the media is still buying their bullshit. Seen this before?
Many guns used to kill in Mexico never have their origins traced. Still, ATF has long estimated that of the weapons discovered at Mexican crime scenes which authorities do choose to trace, nearly 90 percent are eventually found to have been purchased in the U.S.
This article could have been written by the ATF. And if you’re looking for really good example of media that doesn’t “get it,” there’s this editorial arguing FOR the ATF’s long gun registry: a measure to combat the gun running that the AATF has enabled. It’s from this morning’s (Sunday) appeal-democrat.com: Give authorities the tools to track gun-runners
Giving federal agents a tool to trace guns isn’t going to solve the problem of violence at the border, but it may help identify those who are supplying brutal drug gangs like the one that killed a U.S. immigration agent and injured another one this month in Mexico. As modest as the ATF’s plan is, it’s far better than what Congress is offering: the continued flow of instruments of death across a dangerous border.
Are they really that lazy/stupid/corrupt as to miss/ignore the entire Gunwalker scandal? Granted, I don’t watch NBC Nightly News, but I do Google stories upon which I issue pronouncements.
It’s time for the media to stop buying what they’re selling, and start working to force the government agency—all the government agencies involved—into providing full details of a program that “enabled” the death of two federal law enforcement officials. And, it must be said, hundreds if not thousands of Mexicans.