NEWS FLASH! The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) let one of their chief gun smuggling suspects—Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta [above]—walk. No c’mon. Really? Really. “Seven months after federal agents began the ill-fated Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, they stumbled upon their main suspect in a remote Arizona outpost on the Mexican border, driving an old BMW with 74 rounds of ammunition and nine cellphones hidden inside,” latimes.com reports . . .
Detained for questioning that day in May 2010, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta described to agents from the ATF his close association with a top Mexican drug cartel member, according to documents obtained this weekend by the Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.
The top Fast and Furious investigator, Special Agent Hope MacAllister, scribbled her phone number on a $10 bill after he pledged to cooperate and keep in touch with investigators.
Then Celis-Acosta disappeared into Mexico. He never called.
No, you are not reading a Carl Hiaasan novel. These are real taxpayer-funded fuck-ups letting goons with guns—in this case ammo and cell phones—walk across the U.S. border into Mexico, never to be seen again. Until, of course, they were. Speaking of which, let’s recap and put this strange inability to understand the ATF’s motives for giving Celis-Acosta a pass into perspective . . .
According to a large assortment of liars and dupes, the ATF’s “Guns for Goons” program (and other similar efforts which involved grenades and machine guns) was a “botched sting.” In other words, the ATF let, nay encouraged gun smugglers to smuggle guns from US gun stores to Mexican compadres so the Bureau could catch the really big gun smugglers. Only the guns “went missing.” You know: oops!
It’s a nice theory—if you’re trying to hide a government conspiracy to arm Mexican drug thugs (as in one side against the other). Well, not that nice. ‘Cause ATF agents at the sharp end testified in front of Congress that they called their boss from the field and asked if it was OK to do their job (i.e. arrest the bad guy before he got away). The ATF jefe said no, let my people (with illegally purchased guns heading across the border) go.
So the idea that some 2000 illegally purchased guns somehow slipped out of the ATF’s control and into the hands of vicious criminals known to man is complete and utter horseshit. Celis-Acosta and Co. were our criminals smuggling guns at our behest. Ipso ‘friggin’ facto.
You know that. I know that. The ATF knows that. Representative Issa knows that. Senator Grassley knows that. The Attorney General of the United States of America knows that. So the sudden appearance of documents that show that the ATF let their “prime suspect” go should come as no surprise to anyone except those people who haven’t spent ten seconds thinking about Fast and Furious.
Why in Hell would the ATF stop Celis-Acosta? What would be the point of that?
In fact, arresting and incarerating Celis-Acosta would scare the shit out of the other gun smugglers, and gum-up the whole program. Which was gummed-up but good when cartel members murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata with a gun or guns walked by ATF-sponsored scum. In case anyone’s forgotten.
So now [via politico]. . .
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican lawmakers are demanding to know why one of the main gun trafficking suspects in the Fast and Furious operation was released after being interrogated by an ATF agent in 2010.
Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta was not arrested until February 2011, another eight months after he was first questioned, over which time five straw purchasers the ATF knew to be working with Celis-Acosta illegally acquired more than 284 weapons, say Rep. Darell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a joint letter.
Snuff out that joint fellas. I think we’ve already answered that one. Although I can’t wait to here the AG talk about “not compromising an ongoing investigation” and what a “valuable asset” Celis-Acosta was. And how Celis-Acosta wasn’t the REALLY big fish. Who shall remain nameless because there wasn’t one. Minus that last bit, obviously.
Hey, here’s a question: why? Why was the ATF working with Celis-Acosta and the DEA, ICE, FBI, DHS, CPB and other players that will not be named later to get illegally purchased firearms from U.S. gun stores to Mexico? There are only two possible answers (which are not mutually exclusive): to arm the Sinaloas against Los Zetas and/or to gin-up support for more gun control in the U.S.
Which makes the Celis-Acosta story a storm in a tea cup. As is the lesser known fact that U.S. judges are busy handing down light sentences for the other Mexicans caught doing the ATF’s bidding.
Lest we forget, there’s a war going on south of our border. It’s just as violent as anything happening in Afghanistan. And it’s on our border (worth mentioning twice). Another non-revelation: the U.S. is right in the thick of things, providing troops, training, guns (!), drones, secret agents and every single thing that a war requires. Including billions of dollars of funding for the main combatants through illegal drug sales.
And no one’s talking about it.
You know what? I agree with the Democrats: the Fast and Furious investigation is little more than “gotcha politics.” The Republicans keeping the scandal on drip feed seem hell-bent on doing nothing more than getting Holder out and a few minions fired, preferably right before election time. It’s slow and ridiculous.
Congressional investigators need to blow the Fast and Furious scandal wide open. They need to hold a hearing on U.S. foreign policy towards Mexico that includes all the CIA-inspired perhaps even orchestrated and certainly ATF-enabled wet work. While we’re sleeping, Mexico is dying. And the cancer’s spreading north. It’s not about blue state or red state politics. It’s blue pill vs. red. And the stakes couldn’t be any higher. Or so I hope.