Thank God America has journalists who aren’t afraid to ask President Obama the tough questions about the brewing scandal knows as “Gunwalker.” [FYI: That’s the name given the scheme whereby the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) enabled gun smugglers intent on providing Mexican drug cartels with weapons purchased in the United States.] Univision‘s Jorge Ramos grilled President Obama on the topic with some not-entirely-unpredictable results. Turns out the President of the United States didn’t tell the President of Mexico about the U.S. feds aiding and abetting gun smugglers because he — the president of the United States — didn’t know about it. What’s more, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is also doing a passable Sgt. Schultz imitation. I know nothing! Make the jump for the full transcript of the interchange . . .

JR: THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT COMPLAINS THAT THEY WERE NOT INFORMED ABOUT THE “FAST AND FURIOUS” OPERATION. DID YOU AUTHORIZE THIS OPERATION AND WAS PRESIDENT CALDERON PROPERLY INFORMED ABOUT IT?

PBO: Well, first of all I did not authorize it. Eric Holder, the Attorney General, did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gun runners and put them into jail. So what he’s done is he’s assigned an I.G., an inspector general, to investigate what exactly happened…

JR: SO WHO AUTHORIZED IT?

PBO: Well, we don’t have all the facts. That’s why the I.G. is in business. To collect the facts.

JR: AND YOU WERE NOT EVEN INFORMED ABOUT IT?

PBO: Absolutely not, this is a pretty big government, the United States government. I got a lot of moving parts. But I want to be very clear, I spoke to President Calderon when he came to visit just a few weeks ago, our policy is to ramp up the interdiction of guns flowing south because that’s contributing to some of the security problems that are taking place in Mexico and what we are doing is trying to build the kind of cooperation between Mexico and the United States that we haven’t seen before. That ensures that we have a comprehensive approach.

I’ve said to President Calderon and I’ve said it publicly, we’ve got obligations. It’s not just Mexico’s problem, it’s also our problem. We got to reduce demand for drugs, which is why even though we got obviously significant deficits; we are allocating 10 billion dollars in our budget to try to reduce demand through prevention programs and education programs.

We have to make sure that we are enforcing the kinds of measures that will stop the flow of guns and cash down south that is helping to fuel these transnational drug cartels. So we’ve initiated excellent cooperation, there may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made, if that’s the case then we’ll find out and will hold somebody accountable.

JR: MEXICO WAS NOT INFORMED THEN?

PBO: Well, if I wasn’t informed I assure you that Mexico wasn’t either.

Right. Because there’s no way that the ATF would keep the President of the United States and the Attorney General in the dark about the main thrust of its firearms interdiction program—for which they received an extra $200m or so—and tell the Mexicans what they were up to. Because shhhh. It’s a secret!

We can now conclude that President Obama isn’t the ringleader in a large criminal conspiracy perpetuated by a federal law enforcement agency against an ally. I repeat: the buck doesn’t stop there. But this exchange does reveal the Prez and his number one law enforcement guy as disconnected and incompetent.

Now, shall we talk about the cover-up?

 

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47 Responses to Obama on ATF Operation Fast and Furious: “I did not authorize it”

  1. dance…dance…dance…plausible deniability…dance…dance…LOOK, A SQUIRREL!…dance…dance…Did you go to an Ivey League school?…dance…dance…HIGH SPEED RAIL!…dance….

  2. I knew you would like it.

    The fact that this made the drudge report is also a huge step towards bringing it out into the light.

  3. Public denial of knowing something does not make one less guilty.
    “I didn’t know it was loaded!” Doesn’t make anyone less responsible for the outcome.
    Tricky Dick anybody?
    The only ones they (you know who they are) are going to pin this on are the agents at the bottom of the totam pole. The people in charge of this fiasco are going to deny all of it and pin it on them. Those in charge of this are going to have long and fruitful carreers.

  4. OK, either Obama or Holder are lying, or someone at ATF authorized an operation with major foreign policy implications and they didn’t clear it at the cabinet level? Why do they still have a job?

      • Do you REALLY think that is going to happen in the Senate? And what makes you think The One won’t just ignore the House? After all, they are ALREADY stonewalling Senator Grassley’s requests, and lying to him as well.

        The REAL question is “What will “Law Enforcement’ do?” After all, there have already been TWO of their number murdered as a result of this operation. Surely you DO know what would be going on by now if the people behind those murders had been mere “citizens”. The stench is overwhelming.

  5. Lots of doubletalk here. O-dog says he wasn’t “informed” of Gunwalker and he didn’t “authorize” it. Does that mean he and Holder didn’t “know,” as opposed to not being informed? That he and Holder didn’t “approve,” as opposed to authorize? Methinks that POTUS is a very practiced liar in the mold of one William Jefferson Clinton.

  6. ATF has given us Ruby Ridge, Waco and now this. Why do they not stick to one-gun buys in darkened parking lots? The collateral damage is far less.

  7. There is NO WAY that a subordinate in the DOJ would sign off on this operation WITHOUT clearing it with the Attorney General Eric Holder.
    Holder is LYING THROUGH HIS TEETH!
    The AG, the Director of ATF and the supervisors that approved this op all need be FIRED and to pay a long visit to Leavenworth.

  8. Obama is lying when asked if he knew anything about it. Look at his body language, it is so obvious.

  9. Hey, I thought it was legal to buy guns at gun shows without background checks. Every gun show I’ve been to, I could walk out with as many guns as I had money to buy so where is the problem with ATF letting that happen. We’d better be careful what we wish for – tighter controls at gun shows – is that what you are calling for?

  10. Looking into this case of “fast and furious” I see document dates with 2008. What if this project was another leftover from the prior administration? Who do we point the finger at then?

    • Then he still shut have known about it and shut it down !
      if you run through a 60 zone doing 100 because you didnt see the sign you still get punished !

  11. Unfortunately for Obama, he is ultimately responsible for what goes on involving the US government. Whether he knew about it or not makes no difference, he’s in charge therefore responsible.

  12. Before y’all start layin’ all the blame on Obama — and I KNOW that many of ya are rabid Obama haters — how about we look into WHEN this gun-running deal was actually authorized, and WHO actually authorized it. I’m willing to bet my life that it was a done deal long before Obama put his name on the ballot back in 2007. Here’s a hint fer ya: G.W.Shrub and/or the Right-wing CONservative “Law & Order” Republicans.

    • typical liberal response , blame everything on bush !
      Altough government agencies run slow i doubt it would have taken them from 2007 to 2010 to actually carry out the operation !
      So UNLESS you have proof to the fact that this was authorized by bush and you can provide this proof it will still be obama who is on the hook for it !

    • Lets look at this closer , the root causes for the economic meltdown were laid by DUMYCRATS long before GW ever took office, yet it blew up under bush and so he got the blame, this just comes with the territory, on who s watch it happens gets the blame just like whoever will be in office when obamacare blows up will get the blame for the fallout !

      • before you guys start laying into the democrats, take the time to research what you are ranting about. when president clinton was in office he worked his ass off to make a surplus of money. when 9/11 happened that surplus was gone after a week when we started bombing afganistan so blame that one on the republiCAN’TS.

  13. Obama approved this, much in the same way Reagan approved the Iran/Contra guns for hostages debacle. I am sure all of you conservatives were sure Reagan would never do such a thing. It had to be good ole boy Olly North all by his lonesome making all the decisions with no one giving any orders at all. Hypocrisy is over whelming.

  14. Give me a break !
    his nose is growing longer every minute , nobody tells me that the ATF without proper authorization from highest levels , lets gun runners get to mexico with high powered weapons !
    Obama and holder both knew about it and im sure sooner or later, hopefully before the elections , the proof will surface !

  15. Knowing or not knowing about it either way it reflects really bad on him and his leadership !
    If he didnt know about it then it means that the inmates are running the asylum so to speak and he has no control over his subordinates or what they are doing, which is just as bad as knowing about it or authorizing it !

  16. Lothar Baier: Your understanding of how the federal government works is shockingly ill-informed. My suggestion. Read Richard Neustadt’s, “Presidential Power.” It’s a little outdated but it’s fundamental premise is just as true today as it was then: presidential power is the power to persuade. All presidents are faced with the same challenge when they come to office. They have to deal with hundreds — maybe thousands — of entrenched bureaucrats who they cannot fire. These bureaucrats, who’ve seen presidents and their appointees come and go, often times act independently, based on what they think is best for their agency. From the president’s perspective, that can be good or bad. It’s good because if the bureaucrats do something that works well, the president can take credit. It’s bad because if the bureaucrats screw up, the president gets blamed. But to assume that the president must have known about it is — as I said — shockingly ill-informed.

    • it is not only the power to persuade! not when he can end run around the Constitution and Congress with Presidential executive orders!

  17. Do not waste your time. Just follow the money. Who are the main beneficiaries in selling guns?
    I am impressed that so many people are outrages for the two US citizens death for this irresponsible action of the Federal Government. However, people do not mention the 40,000 Mexicans who have been killed with guns sold in the USA. It is sad that two U.S. Citizen died, but, we must stop the arrogant attitude assuming that only our people’s lives are worth to mention.
    At least 85 % of the guns use by these criminals to kill each other was sold in the U.S. As long as we keep consuming more Illegal drugs than any other Country in the world, drug cartels are going to keep fighting for their share of the business. Operation Fast and Furious was designed to help criminals in the US to supply guns to criminals in Mexico, so, they can kill each other. Unfortunately, innocent people get caught on the cross fire and they are kill as a result.
    Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County , Arizona self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in the country pursuing illegal immigrants, it will be interesting, if he shows his records in capturing criminals who purchase guns with the intention to send them to Mexico.
    Bottom line, who is responsible for this “Operation”?

    • Bill McMahon, ATF deputy assistant director, testified that of 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities, only 18,000 were made, sold or imported from the U.S. And of those 18,000, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers. That’s 7.9%, not 85%.

  18. I was watching the hearing this week, and both Issa and agent Dodson clarified that this operation began in 2007. I am not a Bush hater, folks, I just think that it’s important to discuss things with all the facts at hand.

    • True enough. In fact, it should be noted that the ATF has a long history of malfeasance and corruption, including the debacle known as Waco and the practice of creating a bust and inviting large numbers of agents—so they can party with a retiring member of staff.

      • Wow! I can’t believe that someone ACTUALLY blamed Bush! What a shocker! Jim, get your facts straight instead of listening to your pundents. It was in 2009. And Obama damn well knew about this as well. Unless he’s a complete moron who can’t control his people. Either one is bad.

  19. if anyone believes that the President is not briefed on everything that is going on with investigations being conducted by the ATF and that it doesn’t have the blessings of the Justice Department, they are either drinking the kool aid or are just plain sticking their heads in the sand! nothing happens in a vacuum in the White House and government. this stinks on ice! this a end run around the Constitution to do away with our 2nd Amendment rights, he ran on a platform to do away with all guns and when he saw that he didn’t have the votes in Congress he had the Department of Justice have the ATF do this and have Hillery start to try and get the U.N involved by saying they wanted to sign the Small Arms Treaty. Since when did the U.N. have any jurisdiction that supersedes the Constitution? NEVER! Can anyone say WACO or Ruby Ridge?!

  20. Please, Obama expects us to believe that he was totally unaware of a major operation like this
    Then tell us mr president have you started a full investigation? How soon will you inform the americN people and most of all the families of ATF agents and border patrol agents killed by these illegal guns that thier loved ones didn’t die in vain

  21. As all this BS go’s on I think any one that had to do with it should be fired. Then sent to prison for crimes for allowing the illegal transportation of weapons to another country. Because if this go’s on as it has for years now we will all pay the price for it as we always do.Now if you think about can we trust any thing we are told by ower Government any way if you think so ask an Indian if we should! How safe do you feel about your rights as an American. Look at the past and you will see the answer for your self . If you love this Country vote out all these career politicians that have too much power over what happens to us American People in the real life America and help save ower Country.

  22. I think it is very plausible that the operation was sanctioned without presidential approval as part of the ongoing operations at the border. Operation Fast and Furious, conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was launched in 2009 in an effort to track the flow of guns from U.S. straw purchasers to Mexican cartels. It is essentially an undercover operation. It is probably inevitable that some of these arms would go off the radar and be used. It is good that we now reevaluate the operation.

  23. Where are the criminal indictements ? This is unbelieveable. Where are the Congressional investigations? Is Congress more worried about steroid use in sports than criminal activities performed by the Administration ? While Obama is focused on outlawing private gun ownership in America, he wants to supply illegal activities in Mexico ! Impeachment seems to apply here !

  24. The Bush administration left many piles of problems such as the worst economy since 1929, illegal warrantless wiretapping, unfunded war(s), authorized torture, etc. Just another pile was OF&F buried in the bowels of the next administration’s BATF. If you’ve been in a large bureaucracy you understand that if you’re responsible for a really big pile you would just as soon not advertise the fact. Or if you are a true believer you try to run it under the radar as long as possible unbeknownst to the current administration.

  25. So what was he talking about in Mexico in 2009?

    Attorney General Eric Holder at the Mexico/United States Arms Trafficking Conference

    CUERNAVACA, MEXICO ~ Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Remarks as prepared for delivery.

    First, let me express my thanks to Attorney General Medina Mora and Secretary of Government Gomez Mont for making this conference possible.

    This is my first trip to another country as Attorney General. I wanted to come to Mexico to deliver a single message: We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this fight against the narcotics cartels. The United States shares responsibility for this problem and we will take responsibility by joining our Mexican counterparts in every step of this fight.

    And, together, we will win – thanks in large part to the courage of my Mexican colleagues here today, who are on the front lines every day, and with whom I am proud to collaborate.

    The topic that has been addressed over the past two days could not be more important – the development of an arms trafficking prosecution and enforcement strategy on both sides of the border.

    I would like to thank the Mexican and U.S. experts who have worked so hard on this issue. On our side, Secretary Napolitano and I are committed to putting the resources in place to increase our attack on arms trafficking into Mexico.

    Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner, DEA is adding 16 new positions on the border, as well as mobile enforcement teams, and the FBI is creating a new intelligence group focusing on kidnapping and extortion. DHS is making similar commitments, as Secretary Napolitano will detail.

    But as today’s conference has emphasized, the problem of arms trafficking will not be stopped at the border alone. Rather, as our experts emphasized, this is a problem that must be met as part of a comprehensive attack against the cartels – an attack in depth, on both sides of the border, that focuses on the leadership and assets of the cartel. This is the type of full-bore, prosecution-driven approach that the U.S. Department of Justice took to dismantle La Cosa Nostra – once the most powerful organized crime group operating in the United States.
    With partners like those we have here today, I am confident that together, we will defeat these narcotics cartels in exactly the same way. I am proud to stand with you, and to join you in this fight. Thank you again for inviting me here.

    Quiero que el pueblo Mexicano sepa que mi nación está con ustedes en la lucha contra los narcotraficantes.

    México y los Estados Unidos comparten mas que una frontera—compartimos cultura, sangre e intereses comunes. Somos hermanos unidos contra una batalla que ganaremos.

    Tenemos que aprender de uno a otro, trabajar juntos y luchar juntos. Si hacemos estas cosas, si nos dedicamos juntos a esta lucha, no tengo duda que tendremos éxito.

  26. we think that you need to figure out whos side you be on, home dawg.
    you skraight trippin up in hurrr ^^
    peace out girl scouts ! <345.
    much luuuuv.

  27. so many of you are the kind of nut cases leading the USA to circling the drain….you’re so intent on sticking it to Obama you dont bother to learn the facts…ie this operation began in 2006 under some local Ariz ATF nutcase…yea the name was changed, new people took office yet this type of thing is just more of the same feckless, undersupervized typical Bush era operation….lets face it, the list is sooooo long it will tke 3 or 4 presidencies to straighten out the incompetence of the 8 yrs of Bush League adminisration….but hell…there haver been so many more important things to get Obama for ….like not being a born citizen…or being a commie….God I hope we get a Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachman ticket so we can finally count the **sholes….vote Republican because the rich don’t have enough money!!!

  28. We now believe that Obama was and always has been a “plant” by the global elite as a tool. As the saying goes “you listen to what they say, then watch what they do”.
    I just hope the American awakening happens quickly now, before the brainwashed public pulls the election button again for Obama, or any of the establishment candidates, like Romney or Santorum. Ron Paul is the only candidate that the elite are afraid of, just like they were of JFK, who was taken out because he also wanted to get rid the the Federal Reserve and restore our monetary system back to the people.

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