ATF Death Watch 132: Operation White Gun Revealed

 

On yesterday’s John Gibson radio show, a caller defended presidential candidate Ron Paul’s plan to eliminate the CIA. The caller repeated Paul’s claims that the CIA is helping drug smugglers ply their trade in the United States. The talk show host pressed the cuckoo clock sound effect and dropped the call. Yes, well, the facts speak for themselves: the CIA has a long and well-documented history of “enabling” drug trade to support our “friends”  in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and, of course, Mexico . . .

Even if the Company didn’t plan Operation Fast and Furious—the ATF program that channeled some 2000 U.S. gun store guns to Mexican drug thugs—the CIA certainly knew about it. The CIA was also in the loop on Operation Wide Receiver: the ATF op that exported an unknown number of U.S. gun store guns to Honduras. Why wouldn’t the CIA be situationally aware? That’s their job.

This website has always maintained that the American gun running programs were designed to arm the Sinaloa cartel against Los Zetas. Uncle Sam supported the former against the latter to prevent Los Zetas from assuming control of the country, either by the ballot box or the imposition of a military junta.

As part of this grand strategy, the DEA laundered tens of millions of dollars for the Sinaloas (sometimes by wire, sometimes by trailer truck). Immigrations and Customs Enforcement let cash go south and drugs come north. The FBI allowed Sinaloa surrogates to bypass their NICS check system to buy guns illegally; in some cases, providing the cash to do so.

The ATF supplied the guns. Not all the guns. Mexico is awash with firearms, grenades, grenade launchers and ammunition that somehow “leaked” to the cartels via officially sanctioned sales to the Mexican (and other Latin American) military and law enforcement organizations. The cartels are also armed with weapons imported from China and Eastern Europe. But the ATF did their part to keep the Sinaloas sweet.

Yesterday, the latimes.com revealed yet another ATF guns for goons program: Operation White Gun.

According to internal ATF documents, including debriefing summaries and border task force overviews, White Gun and Fast and Furious both began in fall 2009, and the same ATF officials ran both cases.

MacAllister was the lead agent. Her supervisor, David J. Voth, was head of the ATF’s Group VII field office in Phoenix. His boss was William D. Newell, then the special agent in charge in Phoenix . . .

According to documents that the ATF sent to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, an umbrella group of U.S. agencies that seeks to disrupt major drug trafficking and money laundering, White Gun targeted nine leaders of the Sinaloa cartel. The list included Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, who heads the cartel and is Mexico’s most wanted drug suspect.

In ATF reports, MacAllister wrote that U.S. intelligence showed cartel members were setting up military-type training camps in the Sierra de Durango mountains, near Guzman’s northern Mexico hide-out, and wanted to bolster their arsenal with grenade launchers and .50-caliber machine guns.

The agents focused first on Vicente Fernando Guzman Patino, a cartel insider who was identified as one of their weapons purchasers and who often used code words and phrases, saying “57″ for “OK,” for instance.

In fall 2009, the ATF team sent an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer to Guzman Patino. Photos of weapons, including a Dragon Fire 120-millimeter heavy mortar, were emailed to his “Superman6950″ Hotmail account.

According to the ATF documents, Guzman Patino told the undercover agent that “if he would bring them a tank, they would buy it.” He boasted he had “$15 million to spend on firearms and not to worry about the money.” He wanted “the biggest and most extravagant firearms available.”

The two met again outside a Phoenix restaurant, and the undercover agent showed Guzman Patino five weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, including a Bushmaster rifle and a Ramo .50 heavy machine gun [above]. The undercover agent said he could get that kind of firepower for the Sinaloans.

Just as Guzman Patino seemed ready to buy, according to the ATF records, the investigation into his activities abruptly ended. The documents do not explain why, and they don’t indicate whether he obtained any weapons.

When Fast and Furious first came to light—via the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry at the hands of drug thugs using ATF-enabled weapons—the Bureau claimed they launched F&F to link U.S. gun store guns to the Mexican cartels. They were trying to catch the “big fish.” They “lost” the guns purchased with their blessing.

The “botched sting” defense was a ludicrous idea (the ATF never followed the guns); immediately adopted by an all-too-credulous press. The new information about ATF Operation White Gun establishes the fact that the ATF was already in contact with the Sinaloa cartel’s “big fish.”

And did . . . nothing? If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a dozen times: follow the guns. How many? Why type? Where are they? If Patino received firearms from the ATF and wasn’t arrested by the ATF on weapons charges, what does that tell you? Was Operation White Gun another AFT f’up or part of a larger conspiracy to provide logistical support to the Sinaloas in accordance with unofficial (i.e. CIA) policy? Or both?

Senator Grassley and Representative Issa are on the case. Expect more fireworks from their respective committees, even as the U.S. Presidential race heads to its denouement. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is set to throw all the ATF agents involved with Fast and Furious under the proverbial bus. The big question: which one of them will turn against their taskmasters and what will they say? Someone will crack. It’s only a matter of time.