God knows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) has had enough time to come up with a suitable explanation for why they let scumbags smuggle guns to Mexican cartels. And here it is: it was a mistake. “In March 2010, the No. 2 man at the ATF was deeply worried,” latimes.com reports (in an “I’m the ATF’s bitch” kinda way). “His agents had lost track of hundreds of firearms. Some of the guns, supposed to have been tracked to Mexican drug cartels, were lost right after they cleared the gun stores.” To quote Fergie, h-h-h-h-hold it. They lost the guns? That’s not even remotely credible . . .
We have direct, sworn evidence from ATF agent John Dodson—in front of a Congressional committee—that he phoned his superiors and asked to interdict a smuggler heading Mexico way. Dodson was told, in no uncertain terms, to let the guns walk.
The Gunwalker guns were no more “lost” than the dog I took for a walk this evening. The one that’s sacked out next to me. But don’t take my word for it (on the smuggled guns not the schnoozing Schnauzer). Here’s the relevant excerpt from Dodson’s statement:
Over the course of the next 10 months that I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and .50 caliber rifles almost daily. Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing.
I can recall, for example, watching one suspect receive a bag filled with cash from a third party then proceed to a gun dealer and purchase weapons with that cash and deliver them to this same unknown third party.
Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest, but rather, to keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk. Surveillance operations like this were the rule, not the exception.
This was not a matter of some weapons getting away from us, or allowing a few to walk so as to follow them to a much larger or more significant target. Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals—this was the plan. It was so mandated.
Clearly, the ATF has switched from stonewalling the Congressional investigation to outright lying. The Bureau is hoping that Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley are as stupid/corruptible as the Los Angeles Times. I don’t think so. And yet the ATF’s lies are coming fast and furious, and going retroactive.
Acting Deputy Director William Hoover called an emergency meeting and said he wanted an “exit strategy” to shut down the program. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for decades had dedicated itself to stopping illegal gun-trafficking of any kind. Now it was allowing illegal gun purchases on the Southwest border and letting weapons “walk” unchecked into Mexico.
But those at the meeting, which included a Justice Department official, did not want to stop the illegal gun sales until they had something to show for their efforts. Hoover suggested a “30-day, 60-day or 90-day” exit plan that would shut Fast and Furious down for good — just as soon as there were some indictments.
But indictments did not come for another 10 months. By then, two semiautomatics had been recovered after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed south of Tucson, and nearly 200 had been found at crime scenes in Mexico.
“I probably should have been a lot more strident with that, there’s no question,” Hoover has since acknowledged. “I probably should have jumped on a plane and flown to Phoenix and gotten the field division team and the U.S. attorney’s team together and had a discussion.”
So they were going to shut down Operation Fast and Furious (it was on Hoover’s to-do list) when drug thugs used an ATF-enabled rifle to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. I bet Terry’s family feels so much better about Operation Fast and Furious now.
For my part, I’d like to know what results the ATF and DOJ expected Operation Fast and Furious to deliver. As the program didn’t deliver a single indictment against a gun smuggler after ten months and some 2000 guns, and the ATF had no way of tracking the guns once they crossed the border (save a heads-up when the weapons were recovered at “crime scenes”), maybe just maybe catching gun smugglers wasn’t the ATF’s goal.
Maybe the ATF let the guns walk on the CIA’s behalf, indulging Spook Central’s desire to arm the Sinaloa cartel in the heart of Los Zetas territory with ATF-enabled guns, working to prevent a coup d’etat by the former Mexican military men. In any case, the Hoover’s explanation has no credibility. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Which indicates the utter desperation that ATF jefe must feel as the noose draws tighter.
Now that the ATF’s Phoenix junta chief has admitted that ICE, FBI, DEA and IRS were up to their eyeballs in Gunwalker, it’s only a matter of time before our Brad Kozak’s prediction comes true. Men like Hoover—and what federal employee isn’t like Hoover—will eventually cut deals and finger someone else to avoid jail time.
More globally, all the federal agencies involved will turn on each other to avoid blame. The FBI, which guards its rep like Fort Knox gold yet happily subverted its criminal background check system for the ATF, is sure to rat out everyone else. As will the DEA, CPB, ICE, DOJ and the State Department. The CIA and White House? Not so much.
Of course, this will only happen if Issa and Grassley and the media outlets who aren’t in the ATF’s thrall keep up the pressure on weasels like Hoover. My suggestion: threaten to extradite all the people who participated in Operation Fast and Furious to Mexico to face gun smuggling charges.
The Calderon government was aware of the Gunwalker conspiracy, as evidenced by their complete lack of outrage at the admitted violation of their sovereignty and the subsequent murder of their citizens with Gunwalker guns. So I don’t think that will happen. Then again, Calderon’s cronies are corrupt to the core. With enough incentive they’ll play Let’s Make a Deal with anyone.
Rat bastards. All of them. We should pull the plug on the ATF ASAP. At least it would be one less breeding ground.