Coming to us from the “Reap What Ye Shall Sow Department,” Richard Serrano and the LA Times reports that more guns from the Epic Fail known far and wide as “Fast and Furious” have turned up at eleven more violent crime scenes. In the U.S. That’s in addition to the starring role played by ATF-enabled firearms in the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. And the possible connection of Gunwalker guns with the death of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata. Talk about them chickens comin’ home to roost, eh? Here’s looking at you, kid!
In Congressional testimony, the ATF has admitted/acknowledge/boasted that their Gunz for Gangstaz outreach program has resulted in some serious suckage, crime-scene-wise. From the Times:
The department did not provide details about the crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, where a total of 42 weapons from the operation were seized at two crime scenes.
Wow. 42 weapons? Sounds all Douglas Addams, “Meaning of Life” kinda thing, doesn’t it? [Note to our TTAG readers who have a problem with the religious reference in paragraph one of this post: Douglas Addams was a noted atheist. Consider this part of my personal ‘equal time for alternative viewpoints on spirituality outreach.’]
Now here’s the kicker:
Justice Department officials also reported that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials advised them that the agency’s acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, “likely became aware” of the operation as early as December 2009, a month after it began.
Melson has said he did not learn about how the operation was run until January of this year, when it was canceled.
This letter, dated July 22, was signed by Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich. So apparently, we’re now playing “throw someone under the bus” and “musical chairs” at the same time, inside the Beltway. Fun! Melson throws the AG’s office under the bus, and the AG’s office returns the favor. Now THAT’S comedy!
In the spirit of putting a few more nails in that particular coffin (which would be, I think, Melson’s career):
Weich said that although the “ATF does not have complete information” on all of the lost guns, “it is our understanding that ATF is aware of 11 instances” beyond the Border Patrol agent’s killing where a Fast and Furious firearm “was recovered in connection with a crime of violence in the United States.”
Justice Department officials did not provide any more details about the crimes or how many guns were found.
The peripatetic “unnamed source” contributed this little jewel: “…as early as January 2010, just after the operation began, weapons had turned up at crime scenes in Phoenix, Nogales, Douglas and Glendale in Arizona, and in El Paso.”
Wow. The largest score of ATF party favors was 40 weapons at an El Paso crime scene. (It’s always bigger in Texas.) All in all, the score stands at 59 – two at the Agent Terry shoot, and 57 over the other eleven crime scenes. (Maybe THAT’S where Obama got that number when he ‘mispoke’ about the number of U.S. States he’d visited!)
We now have a head count on the guns that went walkabout, courtesy of the ATF’s brain trust: 1,418. This estimate is a downward revision from the initial claim of over 2,000. Of course, what’s 600 or so guns when you’ve put some two thousand in the hands of the über-violent Mexican drug cartels, eh?
So it appears that the love fest between AFT and AG has gone public, in a way that befits a ripping exposé from the National Enquirer or another of those fine journalistic edifices that you peruse when you’re stuck in line at your local Supermercado.
Melson claims that he pulled a Sgt. Shultz up until after the program was shuttered in January. Uh huh. Weich counters that Melson was given the 411 on things F&F-related “on our about December 9th, 2009, as part of a briefing following a seizure of weapons in Douglas, Ariz.”
Ouch. Driving home his point (with his middle finger), Weich added that the ATF had told them Melson might not have been given “regular” briefings on F&F, but was given “periodic updates were provided to the acting director as determined to be necessary by the [ATF] Office of Field Operations. These briefings typically coincided with planned field visits or in preparation for meetings.”
To put it in technical terms, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
Weich also helpfully tried to keep the tire treads off his boss, AG Eric Holder, by adding that Holder first spoke to Melson about F&F in late April of 2011, after Holder learned of the program during a regular briefing. Note that this sentence has plenty of wiggle/weasel room in it. Holder may well have not spoken to Melson about F&F until April of 2009, but there’s no date stamp on when he learned of it in his “regular briefing.”
Let us turn our hymnals back to page 1974, and ask the musical question, “What did he know, and when did he know it?”
The higher-ups at Justice are back-pedaling as fast as they can on this one, insisting that they had no idea of the “operational tactics” of F&F. Uh huh. In my not-so-humble opinion, ya got two choices here: they either KNEW (which makes them criminally liable) or they were CLUELESS (which makes them inept managers and unfit to run a department that kinda specializes in upholding the law.)
Weich goes on to opine that the Justice Department is cooperating with Congress (apparently, unlike those naughty boys over ATF with all their redacted documents) and they have a “commitment to learning the facts underlying this matter.” Um…yeah. Squared.
I think someone is lying, under oath no less. I think a LOT of those weasels are lying. And we’re a little thin on facts, at least coming from anybody in the Justice department. (Hell, they might as well rename it the “JUST US” Department for their attitudes on who gets to lie under oath around there.)
Bottom line, we’ve seen this movie before. Put Weich in the role that Claude Rains made famous, and Melson in for Peter Lorré, and it’s beginning to sound a whole lot like a couple of scenes from Casablanca. (He was shocked! Shocked I tell you, that gun walking was going on in that organization!)
The disturbing thing about that: at the end of the movie, Captain Renault (Rains) had cut a deal, fingered some low-level patsies, and walked off into the sunset with Rick Blaine (Issa?), who states, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
In this case, let’s hope life doesn’t imitate art.