The Los Angeles Times confirms it: the rifles used to murder U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry were “allowed” to slip into Mexican hands by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Clearly, the agency is trying to get out ahead of the scandal. “Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing.” In other words, the ATF is blaming the criminal conspiracy that led to a man’s murder on federal bean counters who’ve hamstrung their valiant efforts to stop guns from crossing the U.S. – Mexican border (even though they were engaging in said traffic). By extension, given the Washington Post’s take on ATF funding, they’re blaming the NRA. It gets worse . . .
“My worst fear was that they would be used in a homicide of a Mexican military official or a Mexican police official. It crossed my mind that they would be used against U.S. forces, but I didn’t think it would happen this soon,” said another federal law enforcement source.
This soon? So these unnamed feds were expecting the smuggled guns to be used against U.S. law enforcement officials eventually? Pardon my French, but how fucked-up is that? The question now becomes how far up the food chain this fiasco extended. Here’s an indication . . .
Federal sources confirmed that there has been controversy over the program within the bureau and, at least in the early stages, little communication with Mexican authorities, many of whom are often targeted with U.S.-smuggled weapons.
“Should they have been notified? I think you’re correct,” said one source familiar with the investigation.
“The policy [until Project Gunrunner] has always been we don’t allow any weapons to cross south of the border, because then it’s out of our hands and we can’t control it,” he said.
But the complaints were “overruled,” he said, by both the Phoenix office and bureau headquarters in Washington, D.C.
And who, pray tell, might those taxpayer-funded officials might those be? The stonewalling is breaking out all over. Again, the ATF line: we’re underfunded and sometimes guns slip through. Here’s the conclusion of the LA Times piece:
Agents are hampered in following up [on straw purchases, Tom Mangan, spokesman for the bureau’s Phoenix office] said. “An individual could buy 500 guns, and painfully, we know that’s legal. And then they can turn around and say, ‘I sold them.’ And then again, realistically, say you have a list of these guns, if some of them would turn up in Mexico, it’s, ‘I just sold them; they’re not my responsibility; I don’t know how they got there.'”
TTAG knows for a fact that this is bullshit. New Mexico’s largest gun dealers tell us [via friends] that they have NEVER sold more than two rifles at a time. Not that they wouldn’t have. Just that they don’t; there isn’t demand. Not ten years ago. And not now. The ATF’s Iron River is an illusion, as is any idea that they are somehow not to blame for supplying guns to the men who murdered Agent Terry.
“My worst fear was that they would be used in a homicide of a Mexican military official or a Mexican police official……. ” said another federal law enforcement source.
Duh….. Worst fear? Did he think the cartels were going to use the rifles for rabbit hunting?
“Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border, in part because current laws and low levels of staffing.”
Couldn’t the ATF have just looked in the back of the truck they were driving?
I would like to believe that the agency’s worst fear would be having the weapons used against US law enforcement or citizens. ie. the people they are suppose to be protecting.
I read a story on Fox that claimed an “unnamed source” inside the ATF that said they let the guns cross the border so that they could trace them and see where they were ending up. That seems stupid enough to be true of the ATF. Someone being killed by one of those weapons obviously wasn’t in the plan, but surely if anyone at the ATF has two brain cells to rub together they knew that would be a possibility.
Robert, For a reasonable guy you really have a hard-on for the ATF.
“TTAG knows for a fact that this is bullshit.” Is that right? How, because a friend of a friend told you?
I read different news sources, sorta like Sarah palin, you know, “all of them,” and this is the only place I’m reading such alarmist reports of this “big scandal.”
Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like you’re trying to turn it into something it’s not.
Mike, I have it on good authority, but I can’t disclose my source. This was my work-around.
And yes I have a hard-on for the ATF. The organization is deeply, profoundly, inherently corrupt. The Gunwalker scandal is but the latest example, Check wikipedia. As for TTAG’s coverage being the only “alarmist” reports, that says more about the mainstream media than it does us. IMHO.
Yeah, I saw something today about it. But about your fixation with that ATF’s failings, are they really worse than the IRS, for example? Isn’t it your interest in guns that makes them seem so?
I figure there’s nothing wrong with the ATF that about another billion dollars couldn’t fix. Maybe that’s going to be what Obama has to say.
W A R N I N G: Strong language ahead . . .
“Sources said U.S. authorities did not have the ability to adequately monitor the movement of the guns toward the southern border”
Did you get that? They “did not have the ability”. Not “we lost track of a couple,” not “our informant tracking the shipments was killed”. No, they “did not have the ability“. So these microcephalic morons KNEW they were going to lose track of these weapons. These murderous bureaucratic shitheads knowingly and deliberately provided arms to some of the most violent scumbags on the planet. I say turn these fuckers over to the Mexican authorities and let them rot in Mexican prison for however long it takes for the gangs that they provided with guns to pull a Vlad the Impaler on them. Failing that, since they aided and abetted drug traffickers with their salaries, take their pensions, take their savings, take their homes and take their cars under ‘civil forfeiture’ laws (finally a good use for those laws). Turn their families out onto the streets (hey, it’s better than burning them to death in their church) and lock their asses up for the rest of their lives.