Fast and Furious: DoJ Inspector General looking into missing third gun

January 23, 2014
Brian Terry

Brian Terry

When Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered by Mexican drug smugglers near Arizona’s border with Mexico in late 2010, two firearms were recovered that, while traceable to weapons bought through the felony-stupid Operation Fast and Furious, were unable to be identified as the murder weapon. (Neither were they wholly ruled out.) Months after that, strong suspicions arose regarding a possible third weapon, which vanished mysteriously. Audio recordings and emails from that time attest to its existence. Since then, though, the question of “the third gun” has lain fallow.

Until now, that is. CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson breaks the news of a preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General:

In a new development in the Fast and Furious gunwalking case, the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) is making inquiries into the possible existence of a missing third weapon in the 2010 murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, CBS News has learned. According to sources close to the investigation, the IG is questioning the Border Patrol’s evidence collection team this week in Tucson, Ariz.

(…)

But references to a missing third weapon, a Soviet-made SKS rifle of the same caliber as the WASR’s, have persisted since the crime. CBS News previously obtained and reported on secretly recorded conversations referencing such a gun. The tapes were recorded approximately mid-March 2011 by the primary gun dealer cooperating with ATF in Fast and Furious: Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Ariz.

In the audiotapes, ATF’s lead agent on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, tells Howard that a third weapon recovered at the Terry murder scene is an SKS rifle. It’s unclear why a weapon would be absent from the evidence disclosed at the crime scene under FBI jurisdiction. If it’s proven to exist, sources familiar with the investigation say it would imply possible evidence-tampering for unknown reasons.

Based on investigations since then, for example the report of the House Oversight Committee and Katie Pavlich’s book, Fast and Furious, and assuming the firearm exists (1), one can speculate on several possible reasons why someone would make this weapon disappear, most of them centering around the Arizona ATF and US Attorney’s offices covering up a massive screw up that now had the potential for serious criminal liabilities. (2)

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see what the Inspector General’s investigation turns up, and I’m sure the House Oversight and Judiciary committees will be watching closely, too.

Footnote:
(1) I think the winning bet is that it does.
(2) From what I’ve read so far, I don’t think it likely that the DoJ in D.C. was involved in hiding the weapon, if it exists. That smells more like a local CYA effort. Main Justice’s interests in Fast and Furious looks more like piggybacking on an already-running ATF operation, seeing in it the opportunity to gain public support for further restrictions on long guns. Hence the strong support they gave it. Whatever the whole truth is, though, I don’t think we’re going to know it for a long time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fast and Furious: “walked” grenade used in firefight that killed three Mexican cops

October 17, 2013

More murderous fruit of a “felony stupid” operation:

CBS News has learned of a shocking link between a deadly drug cartel shootout with Mexican police last week and a controversial case in the U.S. The link is one of the grenades used in the violent fight, which killed three policemen and four cartel members and was captured on video by residents in the area.

According to a Justice Department “Significant Incident Report” filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels.

(…)

In 2009, ATF also learned Kingery was dealing in grenades; weapons of choice for Mexico’s killer cartels. Documents show they developed a secret plan to let him smuggle parts to Mexico in early 2010 and follow him to his factory. Some ATF agents vehemently objected, worried that Kingery would disappear once he crossed the border into Mexico. That’s exactly what happened.

Kingery resurfaced several months later in 2010, trying to smuggle a stash of grenade bodies and ammunition into Mexico, but was again let go when prosecutors allegedly said they couldn’t build a good case. In 2011, Mexican authorities finally raided Kingery’s factory and arrested him — they say he confessed to teaching cartel members how to build grenades and convert semi-automatic weapons to automatic.

This is a variant on the “Gunwalker” plot we’ve all come to know and love: instead of allowing a straw buyer to illegally purchase firearms in the US to smuggle to psycho drug cartels in Mexico, the ATF let Kingery buy parts here and assemble them in his workshop in Mexico. And, just like the thousands of arms they let walk across the border, the boobs at ATF and Justice lost Kingery, too.

And now three more Mexican police are dead, and the Obama-Holder Department of Justice has more blood on its hands.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. And here’s why Eric Holder could not have known what was going on — OCDETF.

UPDATE: Fixed the headline to more accurately reflect the CBS story.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More #FastAndFurious guns found

August 15, 2013

We’re going to be living with –and people will keep dying from– the consequences of this “felony stupid” fiasco for years to come. Via CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson (1), we learn that more “walked” guns have been found at crime scenes in Mexico:

Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, CBS News has learned, as the toll from the controversial federal operation grows.

According to Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS News, all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles. Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.

During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.

Patino is said to have purchased 700 guns while under ATF’s watch. Ever since, a steady stream of the guns have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. But the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and CBS News to provide a full accounting. An estimated 1,400 guns are still on the street or unaccounted for.

And I think that number is low.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks Benghazi is the mother of all Obama scandals, and he makes a strong case. But I’d argue that Operation Fast and Furious is also a worthy candidate. Consider: a law enforcement arm of the federal government, one specifically charged with controlling the illegal trade in arms, decides it would be a good idea to facilitate the illegal purchase of said arms by agents of vicious Mexican drug cartels, based on some vague plan to trace these weapons and arrest the drug lords.

A plan born from the start to fail: there were no tracking devices on the weapons, no way to connect them to the drug lords, no way to do anything at all about them until they showed up at crime scenes, often with people newly killed by those same weapons. Then they could all stand around like morons and say “Yep. Serial umber shows that’s an OF&F gun alrighty!”

Back in D.C., the Department of Justice thinks this is a swell plan and gives it top priority — OCDETF status. Apparently they thought an increase in violent crime in Mexico traceable to American guns would increase pressure for gun control, specifically tighter restrictions on long guns, here at home.

Meanwhile, over 300 Mexicans and at least two US federal officers were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, one of them here in the United States. And when the scheme starts coming to light after the killing of Border Agent Brian Terry in Arizona, the administration lies through its teeth about who knew what and when, the President hides the Attorney General behind “executive privilege” (itself an abuse of that privilege), he thumbs his nose at a contempt f Congress citation, and the families of the dead Americans are left to wonder why their government sold criminals the weapons that killed their loved ones.

And those weapons keep showing up, and people keep dying.

Yeah. I’d call this Obama’s biggest scandal.

Footnote:
(1) Who seems to have drawn some ominous attention.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Operation Fast and Furious: “walked” weapon used to kill Mexican police chief

July 7, 2013

Remember “Operation Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker?” That was the “felony stupid” inter-agency investigation lead by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and “overseen” Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder. The bright idea was to allow straw-buyers working as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels to buy illegally heavy-duty firearms at gun shops in southwestern states and walk them across the border into the waiting arms of the crazed psychos of the Sinaloa and other cartels. The goal was to then trace the weapons to the cartel heads, who could then be arrested and their organizations broken up.

Left unexplained, of course, was how these weapons would be connected to the cartel bosses, since there was no way to trace them once they left the shop. Almost the only way any of these guns would ever show up again was at a crime scene, often with dead bodies present:

Those are just the ones we know about. And now it’s happened again:

A high-powered rifle lost in the ATF’s Fast and Furious controversy was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records, suggesting that weapons from the failed gun-tracking operation have now made it into the hands of violent drug cartels deep inside Mexico.

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”

Naturally, the ATF refused comment. I guess they haven’t heard that the preferred excuse of the Obama administration is “We’re not evil, just stupid.”

A lot of innocent people are going to be paying a price in blood for the ATF’s bright idea, for years to come. I know this has slipped out of the limelight for now, given all the other scandals swirling around the Chicago thugocracy, but, other than Benghazi, this is the only scandal in which people have died. And it is absolutely inconceivable that the Attorney General had no idea was what going on, not when Fast and Furious has been designated an OCDETF case.

So far, Eric Holder and Barack Obama have successfully stonewalled Congress and the American people about the truth regarding Fast and Furious, but we have to keep after them to get to that truth.

The dead, now including Chief Rosales-Astorga, deserve no less.

via Yid With Lid

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. Investigative journalist Katie Pavlich wrote a must-read book on the scandal.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#GunControl : Photo of the Day

January 16, 2013

In honor of the Biden commission’s “report” and the President’s signing of 23 executive orders in front of his human shields a group of children:

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You’ll find many more at the PJM Tatler.

By the way, these children couldn’t attend, nor were they even mentioned.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious Oh my. ATF agent’s personal firearm found at site of beauty queen’s killing

December 19, 2012

Updating this item. Two guns linked to the Obama administration’s gunwalking operation were found at the site of a gun battle in Mexico that took the life of model and beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez. Only one of the weapons was purchased by a federal agent:

Mexican beauty queen Susana Flores Maria Gamez and four others died in the brutal gun battle between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military in November. CBS News has learned that an FN Herstal pistol recovered near the crime scene in November was originally purchased by an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) manager who was faulted by the Inspector General in Operation Fast and Furious: George Gillett. Gillett was the Asst. Special Agent in Charge of ATF Phoenix when Fast and Furious began.

The Herstal pistol is nicknamed a “cop-killer” because of its designation as a “weapon of choice” for Mexican drug cartels. CBS News has learned the Inspector General planned to question Gillett today after a hastily-opened inquiry to determine how this agent’s personal weapon got into the hands of suspected cartel members.

CBS News spoke to Gillett, who is still employed at ATF. Gillett acknowledged he once owned the weapon in question, but says he sold it in Phoenix sometime last year after advertising it on the Internet. He declined to provide the name of the man who bought it, but says he went “above and beyond” what was required by law to complete the firearms transaction. That included asking the purchaser to fill out a form giving personal information and stating that he was in the U.S. legally; and checking his driver’s license, which Gillett said was issued in the U.S.

According to Senator Grassley, however, the aforementioned Form 4473s contained multiple errors and falsifications, which, if true, may cost Agent Gillett up to five years in the penitentiary. And –irony alert– these are the same forms straw buyers for the cartels had to fill out and lie on.

So, in at least this case and with at least this weapon, was an ATF agent himself acting as a straw buyer? Or is he just dumber than a box of rocks? How many other transactions was Agent Gillett involved in, and how many straw purchases did he oversee as part of his work on Fast and Furious?

It seems Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa’s work isn’t done yet.

via Instapundit

RELATED: Earlier posts on Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The gun scandal the left doesn’t care about

December 19, 2012
Fast and Furious got results, all right.

What about these children, Mr. President?

That would be Operation Fast and Furious, the “felony stupid” investigation during which the BATF, with DoJ approval, knowingly allowed thousands of heavy firearms to be purchased by straw buyers, after which they were walked across the border into the waiting, murderous arms of Mexican drug cartels. And, so far, over 300 Mexican civilians, police, and military –as well as two US federal agents– have died from this fiasco.

To this count we should perhaps add another:

Another weapon from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency’s controversial Operation Fast and Furious was recently recovered at a Mexican crime scene, CBS News has learned. Congressional investigators say the crime scene was likely where a recent shootout took place between reported Sinaloa drug cartel members and the Mexican military, in which Sinaloa beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed.

According to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Justice Department did not notify Congress of the Fast and Furious firearm recovery in November, even though Grassley has requested an accounting of weapons that surface from the case. During Fast and Furious, ATF allowed more than 2,000 weapons, including giant .50-caliber guns, to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. Other so-called “gunwalking” operations by ATF let hundreds more guns hit the street. Most of them have never been recovered.

The latest known recovery is a Romanian AK-47-type WASR-10 rifle. It was picked up at a crime scene Nov. 23 in Ciudad Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico. That’s the same area and weekend of the shootout involving Flores Gamez’s death. A trace report shows the rifle was purchased by Uriel Patino, the Fast and Furious suspect who allegedly bought more than 700 weapons while under ATF’s watch. (1) Records show Patino bought the rifle and nine other semi-automatic rifles at an Arizona gun shop March 16, 2010.

Well of course DoJ didn’t inform Congress of this weapon’s recovery: Obama won reelection, Holder’s probably leaving soon, and they’ve found scapegoats to cover their own culpability. Why bother answering questions from a member of the Senate minority? Constitutional accountability? Are you kidding??

To her credit, CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson has given regular and serious coverage to Fast and Furious. To the MSM’s shame, she’s been one of the very few. And the rest of the liberal-left? The only thing they’ve done, when they couldn’t ignore the scandal altogether, is to blow smoke by crying “racism” and “witch hunt” in order to defend Obama and Holder. Truth hasn’t even been an afterthought.

Compare that to the recent horror at Sandy Hook elementary school. The initial shock had barely passed when the left began screaming for a ban on certain types of weapons, new, more restrictive laws, and even confiscation. Many, rightfully outraged over what happened to those children and teachers, wrongfully wished savage violence and death on defenders of Second Amendment rights. We saw outrage, anger, shock, demands for action.

But after Univision reported on a massacre in Juarez, Mexico, in which 14 teens were killed and another dozen wounded, and in which some of the guns had been supplied by the US government?

Crickets.

So, why shouldn’t we conclude that the left, the Democrats, and most of the MSM (but I repeat myself) don’t give a damn about Brown children?

Footnote:
(1) Not just under “ATF’s watch.” That agency, and through them the Department of Justice, actively colluded in supplying heavy armaments, including .50-caliber rifles, to Mexican cartels. For a good summary, see Katie Pavlich’s “Fast and Furious.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious guns found in New Mexico

December 1, 2012

It shouldn’t be surprising; the ATF with the DoJ’s blessing let thousands of guns “walk” across the border in Mexico, purchased illegally –but, again, with the approval of the Obama-Holder Justice Department– by “straw buyers”  who then delivered them to murderous Mexican drug cartels.

So far (and as far as we know), more than 300 Mexicans and two US federal officers have been killed by these weapons.

And now they’re showing up in New Mexico:

Operation Fast & Furious is now linked to a local gun smuggling operation in the border town of Columbus, New Mexico.

Federal agents knew in April 2010 that the leader of the operation, town trustee Blas “Woody” Gutierrez, was found with weapons purchased by “straw man” Jaime Avila, Jr. Avila was a member of a group in Arizona that was the target of Fast & Furious.

Border agents stopped Gutierrez and Miguel Carillo on January 14, 2010 and found ten semiautomatic weapons. They ran the serial numbers in one database and nothing suspicious came up. With no active arrest warrants, the agents allowed the men to leave with the guns. Three months later, though, ATF agents in New Mexico wrote that three of those weapons were purchased by Avila on January 9. Three other weapons were connected to Uriel Patino, another Fast & Furious suspect.

The report specifically refers to Fast & Furious by number

Senator Grassley (R-IA) has demanded information from the head of the CBPE regarding this stop. So far, this agency of the federal government has not complied with this legitimate request from a US senator.

In this case, the guns were found as part of a stop. But how soon will it be, one has to ask, before these or other guns are found at crime scenes in Mexico, New Mexico, or elsewhere in the US, with the corpses of innocent victims nearby?

Keep something in mind: Richard Nixon lost the presidency because of the Watergate scandal, but at least President Nixon did not have blood on his hands.

Barack Obama, on the other hand…

PS: The author of the linked article, Katie Pavlich, has written a well-done overview of the Fast and Furious scandal, which should be required reading for anyone wanting to acquaint themselves with this felony stupid fiasco.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

UPDATE: Are criminal charges pending against ATF officials in connection with Fast and Furious? And why does the word “scapegoat” come to mind? (via Vermontaigne)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious: The Legacy Media can take lessons from Spanish-language Univision

October 1, 2012

Fast and Furious got results, all right.

With notable exceptions, such as CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson, the mainstream media has done a horrid job covering the deadly scandal of Operation Fast and Furious, the “gunwalking” operation in which the US Government allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of vicious Mexican drug cartels. These weapons killed not only two US federal agents and but –as far as we know and with more sure to come–  hundreds of Mexican citizens. It’s a scandal of epic proportions, but not all that well known to many Americans because of the media’s desperate attempts to convince us that what is really important are Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

Enter Univision, which had already raised impressed eyebrows with its hard questions to Obama over immigration. On its Aqui y Ahora show last night, Univision aired a one-hour investigative documentary on Fast and Furious, “Rapido y Furioso,” that blew the lid off this fiasco and showed clearly its human cost:

On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez. Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.

Indirectly, the United States government played a role in the massacre by supplying some of the firearms used by the cartel murderers. Three of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), according to a Mexican army document obtained exclusively by Univision News.

Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre.

Read it all, there’s oh so much more. The ABC link also has a video excerpt with subtitles, the documentary’s first ten minutes.

At PJ Media, Bob Owens notes that the documentary shows that DoJ officials knew the weapons would only be recovered at crime scenes –after people had been killed– and just brushed it off as having to “break a few eggs.”

I wonder how the families of the victims feel about that?

Owens also highlights the information Aqui y Ahora presented on other possible gunwalking operations:

Operation Castaway, run with the same bloody-minded approach as Operation Fast and Furious, provided more than 1,000 guns to cartels via the Tampa ATF. Those guns leaked out across Honduras, Colombia, and Venezuela, according to the U.S. veteran who smuggled some of the weapons, Hugh Crumpler [6]:

“When the ATF stopped me, they told me the guns were going to cartels,” Hugh Crumpler, a Vietnam veteran turned arms trafficker, told Univision News. “The ATF knew before I knew and had been following me for a considerable length of time. They could not have followed me for two months like they said they did, and not know the guns were going somewhere, and not want for that to be happening.”

Univision also uncovered evidence of weapons being smuggled from Texas: two gun-smuggling programs similar to Fast and Furious are rumored to have put thousands of additional weapons in the cartels’ hands in operations larger than Fast and Furious. U.S. Senator John Cornyn has repeatedly pressed the Obama administration for information about the documented trail of weapons coming from two Texas ATF areas of operations. The Department of Justice has denied the existence of such programs, despite the physical evidence of guns recovered suggesting otherwise. While the Univision report focused on guns the DOJ ran to Mexican cartels, there is enough evidence to suggest other Obama administration-sanctioned gun-walking plots arming domestic criminal gangs, such as the so-called Gangwalker plot [7] in Indiana, which supplied Chicago street gangs, and similar rumored operations in California, North Carolina, northern Florida, and elsewhere, which provided weapons to gangs in U.S. cities. Nor has the Univision report focused on weapons that have found their way to cartels via the State Department [8] or the Department of Defense.

Echoing the thoughts of an Arizona sheriff, we have to ask, how does this not make complicit officials from the president down to the field agents “accessories before the fact?” In fact, let’s be blunt: supplying these weapons to armed gangs attempting to take over territory from the Mexican federal and state governments could easily be called an act of war. We already have hundreds of casualties!

Operation Fast and Furious is an absolutely monstrous scandal, the kind we’d dismiss as bad television, if we didn’t know it was real. People need to go to jail over this, and if the Mexicans care to file for extradition, I’d be happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, Univision and its reporters are once again to be congratulated and commended for refusing to be fawning sycophants and for committing real journalism.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious : Inspector General releases report, not enough heads roll

September 20, 2012

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General released his report (500 pages, PDF) on Operation Fast and Furious, the mindbogglingly stupid “sting” operation that fed thousands of high-powered guns to Mexican gun cartels with fatal results. The report savages the DoJ, the Arizona US Attorney’s Office, and the ATF. The traditional falling on swords has begun:

The report says Attorney General Eric Holder was not made aware of potential flaws in the program until February of last year. But the report cites 14 other department employees — including Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer — for potential wrongdoing, recommending the department consider disciplinary action against them.

One congressional source told Fox News the report was “more brutal than was expected.”

The report marked Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, as the highest-ranking DOJ employee in a position to stop the program. Weinstein, who disputes the findings, is resigning in the wake of the report.

Another official criticized for not asking enough questions about the Furious operation, former ATF acting director Kenneth Melson, retired after the report came down.

Also:

The report slams both the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for not taking action. The program caught the attention of Congress and the rest of the country after weapons from Fast and Furious were found at the crime scene of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. 

“Indeed, no one responsible for the case at either ATF Phoenix Field Division or the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona raised a serious question or concern about the government not taking earlier measures to disrupt a trafficking operation that continued to purchase firearms with impunity for many months,” the report said. “Similarly, we did not find persuasive evidence that any supervisor in Phoenix, at either the U.S. Attorney’s Office or ATF, raised serious questions or concerns about the risk to public safety posed by the continuing firearms purchases or by the delay in arresting individuals who were engaging in the trafficking. 

“This failure reflected a significant lack of oversight and urgency by both ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and a disregard by both for the safety of individuals in the United States and Mexico,” the report said. 

The office said it “identified serious failures” by ATF leaders in supervising the operation.

Gee, ya think?

Naturally, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darell Issa (R-CA) has said questions remain, but that the report confirms the committee’s findings of a “felony stupid” operation allowed to run wild. And, also naturally, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the committee, asserts that, while the report shows problems, it exonerates Attorney General Holder.

Eh… Not so fast, congressman.  While skimming the report, I kept seeing statements to the effect that warnings and hints of problems about Fast and Furious would reach to Holder’s inner circle, they somehow never reached Eric “Spinning In My Chair” Holder, himself.

Say what? A major firearms trafficking investigation that allows untrackable weapons to cross international borders, said weapons only being recoverable after the deadly fact at crime scenes, and no one told the Attorney General? Really?

Cue Sergeant Schultz.

Like me, Jim Geraghty asks of Eric Holder, which is it, incompetence or lying?

The initial headlines shouted that the IG report had exonerated Holder. That’s one interpretation. But the portrait the report paints of Holder’s management is deeply disturbing. Time and again, information and warnings about the operation’s enormous risks flow from Arizona to Washington … and suddenly, mysteriously, stop just short of Holder.

The inspector general’s report concludes that they can find no evidence Holder knew about Fast and Furious until well after Terry’s death, but … well, the circumstances of Holder being so out of the loop, so in the dark about a major operation certainly appear unusual, perhaps to the point of straining credulity.

(…)

A suspicious mind could look at this strange pattern of underling, after deputy, after staffer not mentioning critical information, and information getting all the way to Holder’s office but not being seen by the AG himself, and conclude Holder’s staffers were keeping him in the dark. Would that be to preserve his “plausible deniability”? Another conclusion might be that someone just wasn’t honest with the inspector general.

We now know that the best that can be said about Holder is that he was oblivious to a major, exceptionally dangerous operation going on within his organization. And the most generous interpretation of that is that he had staffed his office with professionals who had epically flawed judgment in deciding what the nation’s top law-enforcement officer needed to know.

He’s just much more genteel about it than I.

This should be nowhere near the end of the investigation; just the end of the beginning. We now have proof from the DoJ’s own Inspector General that Eric Holder and his top deputies are at the minimum intellectually incurious incompetents. They are dunderheads whose at best negligent “oversight” allowed this investigation to continue with no due regard for public safety. Holder, Breuer, and all the rest who had any duty to oversee this operation should resign. The Arizona US Attorney’s Office and the ATF there should be cleaned out and staffed with people who actually have oxygen going to their brains.

But, let’s not forget something that overrides all else in importance: people died because of Operation Fast and Furious. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata. Over 300 Mexican civilians, police, and military. All dead, murdered by guns the US government knowingly allowed to slip into cartel hands. Aren’t they and their loved ones owed more than a report from a Washington bureaucrat?

No, this investigation should not end. If Romney becomes president, then his AG should pursue this wherever it leads, including filing criminal charges against “former high officials.” Now that the IG’s report is out, the families of agents Terry and Zapata have every reason to file suit, not only seeking damages but forcing the revelation of more information via discovery.  And, while I don’t know Mexican law, their government should file charges for the equivalent of  “accessory” or “criminal negligence” against everyone from Holder down to the field operatives and then seek extradition. They owe their people no less.

I’ve seen government scandals before, both petty and large. But never, ever, have I witnessed a scandal that cost lives. This report cannot be the end.

Justice demands it.

RELATED: Other posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious Get people killed, get a reward!

August 23, 2012

When confronted with monumental stupidity, one’s options are usually a) get outraged; b) do a Homer Simpson impression and shout “D’oh!”; or c) bang your head on the nearest hard surface.

I’ll take d) all of the above:

Double-dipping: ATF ‘rewarding’ man who ran Operation Fast and Furious

One of the federal law enforcement officials that Congress regards as most responsible for Operation Fast and Furious received extended paid leave from his government job, which allows him to draw a second salary working at JP Morgan.

The paid leave also allows [Bill] McMahon to get a larger pension when he finally, officially, leaves the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

“Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management,” wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a letter to ATF.

Gee, ya think? McMahon knew there were no real safeguards on Fast and Furious’ gunwalking operation, yet he –by his own admission– did nothing to stop it. Two federal agents and more than 300 Mexicans are dead, killed by weapons this numbskull let into the hands murderous Mexican drug cartels. And what happens to Mr. McMahon? Censure? Demotion? Dismissal? Criminal charges?

Don’t be silly, silly! For his sterling efforts, Bill McMahon gets leave with pay that will pad his federal pension, while working another cushy full-time job.

Jackpot!

Cynical Question: What if this isn’t just a spectacular, albeit all too common, example of bureaucratic idiocy? Doesn’t it seem a bit convenient that the man who knows an awful lot about the most explosive scandal facing the administration gets a boatload of money tossed at him? Maybe in return for taking the fall? Hmmm…

RELATED: Earlier posts about Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nancy Pelosi opens mouth, reaffirms she is a partisan hack idiot

August 13, 2012

Let me tell you another fairy tale…

The House Oversight Committee, headed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA (There are some of us left)), has filed a civil suit against Attorney General  Eric Holder to force release of subpoenaed documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal that the DoJ is refusing to turn over, claiming executive privilege.

Now, you may think what we’re seeing is a constitutional clash between equal branches of the government, each trying to assert its independence from the other. Or maybe you think this is a valiant effort to get at the truth that’s being blocked by a near-criminal Attorney General and his “Chicago Way” president. (1)

Don’t be silly, silly. It’s all about suppressing minority voters.

No, really. Nancy said so:

Democratic lawmakers blasted the filing of a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charging that the effort is an attempt to suppress voter rights.

“This partisan lawsuit wastes taxpayer dollars and resources, and is a distraction from the urgent business before Congress: acting to create jobs and grow our economy,” she said in a statement. “It is also designed to distract the Justice Department from its critical job of challenging state laws designed to restrict the rights of Americans to vote.”

So, there you go.  Yet another example of “Democrats think you’re so stupid and gullible, they can say anything and you’ll believe it.” Because everything is racism.

Really, there has to be someone left among Democrats who’s embarrassed by this moron.

I hope?

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

Footnote:
(1) Guess which one I believe.

via Steve in TN


#FastAndFurious : gun used in plot to kill police chief supplied by ATF?

August 8, 2012

Someone has got a helluva lot to answer for:

A weapon tied to “Operation Fast and Furious” was seized in Tijuana in connection with a drug cartel’s conspiracy to kill the police chief of Tijuana, Baja California, who later became the Juárez police chief, according to a U.S. government report.

The firearm was found Feb. 25, 2010, during an arrest of a criminal cell associated with Teodoro “El Teo” García Simental and Raydel “El Muletas” López Uriarte, allies of the Sinaloa cartel.

Tijuana police said they arrested four suspects in March 2010 in connection with a failed attempt to take out Julián Leyzaola, and that the suspects allegedly confessed to conspiring to assassinate the police chief on orders from Tijuana cartel leaders.

The suspects had an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, and one of the firearms traced back to the operation that the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) was monitoring from its field office in Phoenix.

Adrian Sanchez, spokesman for Leyzaola, said Leyzaola was unavailable for comment.

So far, the House Oversight Committee has laid blame for the operation on the Phoenix ATF and US Attorney’s Office for the fiasco known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” in which more than 300 Mexican citizens and at least one, perhaps two US federal officers were killed by weapons supplied by the ATF to Mexican drug cartels. However, that was only part one of the committee’s report. Parts two and three will deal with the Department of Justice’s failures and its obstruction of the committee’s investigations.

In the meantime, the thousands of firearms let loose by our government are going to be the source of a lot of misery on both sides of the border for years to come.

via Bob Owens

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious : Murdered Border Patrol Agent armed with *beanbags*

July 9, 2012

Oh, for Pete’s sake!

The Justice Department on Monday unsealed an indictment charging five individuals allegedly involved in Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s death, and announced a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of those suspects still at large. 

For the first time, federal officials also revealed that Terry and an elite squad of federal agents initially fired bean bags — not bullets — at a heavily armed drug cartel crew in the mountains south of Tucson in December 2011 (sic). During the exchange, Terry was shot and killed. 

(The original article contains a typo. Brian Terry was murdered in 2010, not 2011.)

It’s not clear from the article why Terry and his colleagues were using bean bags instead of firearms. Were they required to by department policy? Were they allowed to escalate to bullets only after being shot at? Was it their choice, and they just made a disastrously wrong decision?

Regardless, that bean bags were even an option is ludicrous. Arizona is prime territory for cartel smuggling; these gangs are armed with heavy weapons and are quite willing to use them. Border Patrol agents should be armed and ready to use deadly force from the moment of first contact.

The cartels sure are.

PS: And let’s not forget that the weapons used against Agent Terry and his team were supplied by the United States government. The cartels get assault rifles, while our guys get beans.

via Gateway Pundit

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious : Motion to disbar Eric Holder in DC, ATF ordered to stand down during weapons transfer

July 9, 2012

Apparently lying to Congress and being found in contempt violates the District of Columbia Bar Association’s code of professional conduct.

Attorney General Eric Holder could lose his license to practice law in the District of Columbia, or face some other penalty from the D.C. Bar, now that he has been found in criminal and civil contempt of Congress.

Last week, the bloggers who first exposed Operation Fast and Furious, Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea, filed a formal complaint with the Washington, D.C. Office of Bar Counsel alleging that Holder committed “professional misconduct” during the congressional investigation into the scandal.

Because Holder was found in contempt of Congress for his “refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” Vanderboegh and Codrea contend, “[i]t would appear that several, if not all of these rules [the D.C. Bar’s rules of professional conduct], have been violated.”

Codrea and Vanderboegh deserve a lot of respect and our thanks for their work in shoving Operation Fast and Furious into the spotlight. I doubt anything will come of this move, however, though I’d dearly love to see Holder disbarred — followed by a perp walk and criminal trials in the US and Mexico.

Not that I’m vindictive or anything; I just get a little… “bothered” when two US federal agents and hundreds of Mexicans are killed with weapons supplied to criminal cartels by an agency of the US government, an agency headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, who then lies through his teeth about it.

I’m touchy that way.

Besides… DC lawyers? Ethics? I’m surprised they could find the code to check.

ALSO: On a more serious note, and lest anyone think I’m just a frothing right-winger wallowing in crazed conspiracy theories about federal gunrunning, check this:

Concerned that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were “too close and would burn the operation,” the lead investigator in a Fast and Furious surveillance operation ordered an ATF team monitoring the pending transfer of weapons to Mexican drug smugglers to “leave the immediate area.”

While the agents were repositioning themselves, the transaction took place and the smugglers took possession of weapons purchased by “straw buyers” at a Phoenix area gun shop — leaving the area without any agents in a position to follow.

The guns were among more than 2,000 weapons purchased that ended up in the hands of drug smugglers during the Fast and Furious investigation, which began in September 2009 and was halted only after the December 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry. Two Fast and Furious-purchased weapons — both AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles — were found at the site of the Terry killing.

The surveillance snafu is outlined in a Feb. 3, 2011, memo by ATF agent Gary M. Styers recounting for agency supervisors what he told two investigators for Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about his experience with Fast and Furious. He said the weapons transfer was to occur at a gas station, and an ATF surveillance team was in place when it was ordered to back off by lead investigator Hope McAllister.

(via Gabriel Malor)

This wasn’t the first time a surveillance team was ordered to back off. Nor is it the first appearance of Hope McAllister, who ordered away the ATF group: In a CBS report dated 9/19/11, reporter Sharyl Attkisson describes tapes on which McAllister discusses a third gun present at the scene of Brian Terry’s murder, a weapon that has since gone missing. (More here.) I get the feeling House and Senate investigators need to have a long chat with Agent McAllister.

RELATED: Prior posts on Operation Fast and Furious

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(video) Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on voting to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress

June 29, 2012

Summary: This scandal got people killed, Holder and Obama won’t let the truth come out, and Gowdy is outraged.

Outrage is good.

You know what? I like this guy.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If it’s a “Right-Wing Freak Out,” I’m in great company

June 28, 2012

Hah! Found out last night that Your Humble Correspondent, cross- posting at Sister Toldjah’s site on the administration’s invocation of executive privilege with regard to Operation Fast and Furious, was cited briefly on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” hosted by the ever-genteel Ed Schultz. Here’s the screen cap:

And this is the post to which they’re referring.

So, in the past I’ve been called “insensitive” and “ignorant,” but this is way cool. To be in the same company as those other rabid right-wingers above is… is… *sniff!* That’s the nicest thing a left-wing tool has ever said to me. 

Thanks, Ed! You’re the best!

[Screen cap courtesy of AI Politics, hat tip ST]

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Democrats’ attitude toward #FastAndFurious in one cartoon

June 27, 2012

IBD’s Michael Ramirez  nails it:

Yeah, gee. What’s the big deal? It’s just two dead federal agents and a bunch of Mexicans.

via Power Line

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#FastAndFurious – conspiracy or stupidity? And does it matter?

June 25, 2012

In a video last week, Bill Whittle asserted that the only explanation for Operation Fast and Furious was as an effort to undermine the Second Amendment and pave the way for strict gun control.  It’s an argument made by others, notably Bob Owens at PJMedia, and it has a certain appeal, if only because there seems to be no other reason for such a stupid idea, an idea that got people killed.

But what if it was “locally-grown” stupidity? What if the ATF simply screwed up, and now the DoJ and the White House are trying to sweep weapons-grade idiocy under the rug? At Power Line, Paul Mirengoff cautions that we should be careful not to assume conspiracy when stupidity will suffice:

First, Fast and Furious does not appear to have been the brainchild of President Obama or Attorney General Holder. Rather, the program reportedly was formulated by the ATF in Phoenix in response to an edict from Washington to focus on eliminating arms trafficking networks, as opposed to capturing low-level buyers, as had occurred under traditional interdiction programs. If Fast and Furious had been the product of a conspiracy by the administration to promote gun control legislation, the program would have come from the top down, not from the bottom up.

Now, it’s possible that a thorough review of documents would show that, contrary to current understanding, the plan originated in the White House or with Eric Holder. But it seems unlikely. For if this had happened, those who have been blamed for the program would likely have said they were following edicts from the highest reaches of the government.

Eric Holder’s claim that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious is implausible. But this doesn’t mean that he and/or the president came up with the idea. As far as I know, there is no evidence as of now that either did.

He goes on to argue that the “pursuit of gun control” theory is unpersuasive be cause a) Americans just don’t care enough about violence in Mexico to demand stricter gun control here and b) the idea of supplying guns to Mexican cartels carries such risks for the administration (as we’re seeing play out now) that it doesn’t pass the rationality test for Holder and Obama to actually do this.

Finally, there’s the question of why, then, would Holder patently lie to Congress and why would Obama try to shield him by invoking a weak form of executive privilege? Mirengoff argues:

In reality, cover-ups typically stem from a quintessentially non-ideological motive – the desire to escape blame and stay out of trouble.

What kind of trouble? The administration may be motivated by the desire to cover up evidence that the Attorney General knowingly and deliberately lied to Congress. It may want to cover up evidence that Holder knew plenty about Fast and Furious and/or that Obama did too.

But it’s unlikely that the administration invoked executive privilege to cover up evidence that it formulated or authorized Fast and Furious in order to promote an ideological agenda.

Read the whole thing. Mirengoff’s a lawyer and he looks at the question with an attorney’s logic.

As for myself… I don’t know. Both sides make plausible arguments regarding the “why,” and my natural predilection is to assume incompetence before malice, so call me a fence-sitter on this question.

On the other hand, the reasons for Fast and Furious and for the administration’s coverup are less important than what we do know as fact:

  • The United States government, through the Department of Justice and its subordinate agencies, not just allowed but encouraged the illegal sales of firearms to Mexican drug cartels, said cartels being in an effective state of war with the government of Mexico, our ally.
  • Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered, shot in the back with a weapon supplied through Fast and Furious.
  • ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was ambushed and killed outside Mexico City, while he was working to intercept firearms supplied through Fast and Furious.
  • Hundreds of Mexicans –soldiers, civilians, and police– have died via weapons supplied through Fast and Furious.

As long as we fix our minds to these facts and unrelentingly demand accountability of our government and justice for the dead, we’ll learn the reasons for this whole sordid, squalid mess.

RELATED: A “Fast and Furious” whistleblower once himself proposed gunwalking. Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

LINK: And on the “gun control may have been the objective” side we can now add Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who’s been leading the charge to investigate Fast and Furious. (via Hot Air) Like I said above, at this point, the reasons for Fast and Furious are less important than the deaths it caused.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #FastAndFurious “Follow the ideology”

June 23, 2012

Or, as Bill Whittle asks at the end, “Have you no shame?” (1)

The ideological reasons behind Operation Fast and Furious are still speculation, but, given the far-left agenda subscribed to by both Obama and Holder, the idea that this might have been aimed at imposing strict gun control is not unreasonable. And it is more than reasonable that Congress should investigate this.

Oh, wait. I forgot. Someone invoked executive privilege to block that investigation.

Meanwhile, somewhere, Dick Nixon laughs.

RELATED: Earlier Fast and Furious posts.

Footnote:
(1) In fairness, while most of the media has dutifully ignored a Democratic president’s scandal –in which people died!– CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson has done a great job from the start.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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