ATF Death Watch 130: Enough With the ‘Botched Sting’ Crap Already

Brad Hoffman wrote a letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer allegedly to correct mistakes about Fast and Furious in a previous letter they’d printed. Brad opens with:

I am disturbed by statements from Plain Dealer reader Jeff Longo (Letters, Saturday) who condemns U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as an ‘enemy of the Constitution‘ over the Justice Department’s attempted Fast and Furious weapons sting in Mexico. Longo plays fast and loose with the facts in libeling an official whose 28 years of public service have been recognized by presidents from both political parties.

I am disturbed that Brad (or anyone, for that matter) can still refer to F&F as some sort of “botched sting.” There was no botching involved, the operation went down exactly as planned. Straw purchasers bought guns, smuggled them into Mexico for delivery to some of the most violent, vicious criminals in the Northern Hemisphere – Mexican narcotrafficantes. The guns were then recovered from crime scenes, adding weight to the bogus claims that border gun stores in the U.S. were major the suppliers of weapons to the cartels.

But what are these fake facts with which Brad says Jeff libeled Holder?

In characterizing the admittedly flawed sting operation as ‘an attack our Second Amendment rights,’ Longo conveniently fails to mention the overwhelming number of guns purchased here legally that are later found in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. A 2010 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms suggests that as many as 70 percent of the weapons that circumvent Mexico’s own strict gun laws may originate in the United States.

The ATF study that Brad refers to was actually essentially a press release put together by three notoriously anti-gun Senators; Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Charles Schumer of New York, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. It’s difficult to pin down how many seized guns actually came from the U.S. since they are very careful to specify “guns seized and submitted for tracing,” but looking at Finding #6, we see that

[F]rom January 1, 2010 to October 5, 2010, 5,329 weapons seized in Mexico were traced using ATF’s firearms tracing system, known as eTrace. During the same period, the Mexican Defense Ministry reported approximately 16,000 weapons recovered throughout Mexico.

So over that nine month period, about one-third of seized guns were submitted for tracing, which means even taking the 70% number at face value, less than one-quarter of seized guns came from the U.S. When you add to this the fact that CBS reported our State Department has approved sales of literally tens of thousands of weapons from U.S. manufacturers direct to the Mexican military and police (a fact unmentioned in the FeinSchuWhit report) and that more than 9,000 of those weapons went missing from police inventories you have to really start wondering just how few of these “U.S. guns” came from Bob’s Border Gun Shop.

Now, perhaps, we can see that characterizing F&F as ‘an attack on our Second Amendment rights‘ is not so outrageous, especially when you consider that the (distorted) numbers of US guns showing up at Mexican crime scenes was and is being used to justify ‘renewing’ the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban (aka the Scary Black Gun Ban). It’s also being cited as justification (by bureaucratic fiat) for additional sales reporting requirements on border state gun shops, further demonizing them.

Brad goes on:

Longo further reports that ‘hundreds’ have been murdered with weapons used in the U.S. sting operation — weapons that later went missing. This undocumented claim has been attributed to Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales, who is herself accused of mishandling evidence in domestic legal actions and seems a curious source for Longo’s research.

For starters that number is hardly undocumented and does indeed come from the Mexican Attorney General. It also comes from the head of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies’ Justice Committee, Congressman Humberto Benitez Trevino, who believes the number of killed and wounded is closer to 300.

Oh, and those allegations “of mishandling evidence in domestic legal actions?” That was actually Ms. Morales’ predecessor and it is speculated that those allegations were why he resigned. Unless Brad is talking about the videotaped “confession” that the cartels tortured out of Ms. Morales brother (whom they then murdered) after they had kidnapped him with . . . wait for it . . . AK-47s that the ATF had “walked” across the border.

In fact, according to the L.A. Times, Ms. Morales is “a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico” and was honored by Secretary of State Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama with the 2011 International Women of Courage Award. Finally, if you can’t use a country’s top law enforcement official as a source for information on murders in that country, who in blazes can you use?

Brad’s letter is a good example of what I like to call the Lib-tard Protocol (or would that be Procto-col?) which states that as long as you can parrot the New York Times and Washington Post‘s talking points, no actual thought process is required.