Imagine U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on patrol, staring into the night sky. Imagine Terry sees the flashing lights of an airplane. What would have Terry thought if he’d known that the jet twinkling above him was filled with tons of cocaine, crossing the border with the full knowledge and consent of the United States government? What if Terry had somehow known that the man about to end his life in that cold, empty desert would do so with a gun purchased at an American gun store under the watchful gaze of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives? Would the Marine feel betrayed?

Yesterday, the Acting Head of the ATF was deposed and exiled by his Department of Justice taskmasters. The Arizona U.S. Attorney who oversaw Operation Fast and Furious resigned. During the ATF’s recent administrative reshuffling, no one’s stopped to consider the full criminality of what Kenneth Melson and Dennis Burke and their minions and co-conspirators and handlers and enablers and yes, the Commander-in-Chief have done.

The legacy media continues to mention Terry’s death as a footnote, and carry the water for the Obama Administration. They repeat the exculpatory meme: Operation Fast and Furious was a good op gone bad. Even as Dennis Burke ran for the hills, the President’s key supporter on the Congressional committee investigating F&F did his bit to perpetuate the lie that the CIA-backed black bag job was all a big mistake. Clock this from azcentral.com:

Excerpts of Burke’s testimony released by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking committee member, show that Burke took responsibility for mistakes.

“I get to stand up when we have a great case to announce and take all the credit for it regardless of how much work I did on it,” Burke said. “So, when our office makes mistakes, I need to take responsibility, and this is a case, as reflected by the work of this investigation, it should not have been done the way it was done, and I want to take responsibility for that, and I’m not falling on a sword or trying to cover for anyone else.”

Point of order: when someone dies as the result of a criminal activity that violates federal law, the usual way a participant accepts responsibility for his actions is to plead guilty to the relevant charges (e.g., conspiracy to commit murder) in a court of law in front of a federal judge, who then has the power to send said confessor to prison for his crimes.

Burke would have us believe that the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was a simple failure of process. I could have done a better job. But hey, my heart was in the right place. I’d like to see Burke offer that justification to Brian Terry’s mother and father. Actually, I wouldn’t. Burke’s the sort of man who would look Mr. and Mrs. Terry in the eye and lie, justifying his “spin” as “the right thing to do” for their emotional health.

I wonder how the Terrys would take it if they knew that the FBI subverted their criminal background check system to allow felons (including known FBI informants) to purchase firearms as part of Operation Fast and Furious? Or that the Drug Enforcement Agency helped their ATF BFFs with wiretaps and intel. And so on.

Over the course of some 2000 Gunwalker guns and dozens of ATF-IDed smugglers, not a single ATF-enabled gun or bad guy was intercepted. All the law enforcement agencies in charge of border security must have been instructed to leave the Gunwalker smugglers and their cargo alone or, at the least, catch and release. Including Terry’s employer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB).

TTAG’s uncovered a connection between the CPB and Fast and Furious involving Blas Gutierrez, the recently sentenced New Mexican gun smuggler. Six of the weapons in his case were tied to the ATF’s stingless sting. When I asked United States Attorney John E. Murphy’s office for an explanation, his press flack sent this statement:

The investigation of Blas Gutierrez and others in New Mexico was not part of Operation Fast and Furious and was developed independently of that operation. On January 14, 2010, a Border Patrol agent found Gutierrez in possession of 8 firearms in Columbus, NM, during a routine stop. At the time the Border Patrol Agent had no cause to seize the firearms, but recorded their make, model and serial numbers.

Three months later, an ATF agent in New Mexico began to investigate other firearms purchases by Gutierrez and determined that six of the firearms Gutierrez possessed on January 14, had been purchased by persons under investigation in Arizona. To the best of our knowledge no other firearms associated with Blas Gutierrez were involved in the Arizona investigation.

Gutierrez’s lawyer buys the story. C.J. McElhinney told TTAG his client was pulled over “because the vehicle matched the description of a stolen vehicle. BP does help the locals do stuff like that, especially in little towns like Columbus. They searched the vehicle, found those guns, recorded the serial numbers, ran them through NCIC [the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database] and then let them go because the vehicle wasn’t stolen and guns were legal.”

McElhinny told us that his client was “holding the guns for a friend” who “may have been a straw purchaser for Jaime Avila.” A friend who picked up the Gunwalker guns the next morning. And . . . that was that.

Nothing about this story rings true. No matter. It proves that the CPB was a participant in Fast and Furious, whether wittingly (as part of inter-agency coordination) or unwittingly (as part of a compartmentalized conspiracy).

It would be unfair to lay all of the blame for Agent Terry’s assassination at the feet of this conspiratorial cabal of federal employees. Uncle Sam’s deeply misguided foreign policy towards Mexico handed Terry’s killers the murder weapon. But a fed didn’t pull the trigger.

Even so, Terry’s service demands that we see Operation Fast and Furious as it really was: a gun running program (designed as such) whose complete disregard for U.S. law reflects systemic corruption in the Obama Administration. An ATF-enabled bullet may have stopped inside Agent Terry, but the buck that financed that bullet stops at the President’s desk.

In Terry’s memory, and the memory of thousands of Mexicans tortured and killed by drug thugs holding ATF-enabled weapons, ALL the perpetrators of this blood-soaked criminal enterprise should be brought to justice. The feds involved shouldn’t be shuffled around for their own protection (a story for another day). They should be investigated, indicted and prosecuted.

Anything less would be a perversion of the founding principles that Agent Terry fought for—and died defending.

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8 Responses to ATF Death Watch 67: The End of the Beginning

  1. While I’m sorely pissed off at ATF, my greater anger is reserved for Janet Napolitano, the bitch who forced Agent Terry to defend his life with beanbag rounds.

  2. I remember a time once when we could defend our country (and others) through our own bullets…not by arming our enemies’ enemies. This is one of those Patton moments…it may not be politically right, but once we were done with Berlin we might have wanted to seriously contemplate marching to Moscow. If we were serious about killing the cartels, we would do it. We have been willing to send troops to the other side of the world to defend our freedom, but not willing to do anything just miles south of Arizona? The drug game is just a money shell game anyway. Legalize and most of this can disappear over night…but that doesn’t serve any liberal purpose, primarily disarmament.

    • Legalize and most of this can disappear over night…but that doesn’t serve any liberal purpose, primarily disarmament

      Don’t let yourself be fooled — it doesn’t serve any conservative purpose, either. In this business, libs and cons are like brothers in arms. Their agendas are certainly different, but neither “side” wants to end the flow of drugs and money.

      • True. The lib purpose is that it helps strengthen the grabber argument. The con purpose is to keep feeding the “drug war” militarization complex. I can just rationalize the con one more than the lib one, but I agree with neither on this.

  3. I don’t want to sound overly critical, but you have beaten this story to death with a lead pipe and now you are wading through the ruined corpse looking for marrow to suck from the bones of what used to be an interesting and important issue. For my tastes there was not enough new information presented in the article and there was far too much editorial opinion and feigned disbelief and compassion for the deceased. You have not “proved” a sinister link between the Border Patrol and ATF. All you managed to do was to bring to light that a Border Patrol Officer preformed his job and was unable to prosecute a person of interest. At that time no one would have been able to prosecute Gutierrez because as far as anyone knew all of the firearms were legal. The rest of the piece is just a biased, overly dramatized op-ed.

    I would love to sit down and a read story that I could respect for its nonbiased presentation of facts by an author that stayed away from the sensational practices of the tabloid rags that line the litter box of journalism. May be I am apart a minority that pine for a better class of journalists as I travel the sticky and foul passages of Web 2.0 looking for information. I can respect honest journalism, but I cannot respect good intentions presented through yellow journalism. Personalizing the deceased officer to generate “unique views” and misdirected outrage is crass. You have do not have unique information about the personal feelings, intentions or what “sort of man” the deceased was. For all you know he may have been the sort of man who would have believed in a tactic like Operation Fast and Furious, or he may not have been but neither you nor I have the right to speak for the dead.

  4. Ok, the whole F&F issue really boils my blood. I personally think there are some appointed officials that are in need of a jail cell.

    But there is something else in this story that bugs me. Someone is pulled over for being in a car that matches the description of a stolen car. I am assuming it was determined that it was not the stolen car, because he was allowed to go. I am also assuming he was not a felon because he was not arrested for having firearms in his possession. So given that for all intents and purposes he was not breaking the law, the CPB office then records the make, model, and serial number of the firearms he is carring in his car !!??!!

    If the vehicle wasn’t stolen, then why are they running serial numbers on the guns anyways? They also kept a record of these guns and serial number, as they are now able to link the guns back to this guy. I don’t know what the laws are in NM, but I would be upset if someone pulled me over, it was found I had commited no crime, then any firearms I had in the car had their serial numbers recorded and saved.

  5. Please continue to keep this story front and center. I hope it will not fade with time.

    It’s unbelievable why it is taking so long to find out the simple questions of who authorized this operation, who knew what, and when they knew it.

    Thanks for your reporting.

  6. Beanbags? Shirley you jest. Please. Can Brewer (Az Gov) have Holder charged as an accomplice? I know it’s far reaching and likely assinine. But my frustration with theses Chicagocrat thugs cries out for sunlight and disinfectant. Something, anything to force the Dino-media report this like it would be if Repubs had done this stuff.
    BTW. Should I check my AK for Indian Rosewood?

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