Three questions on Operation Fast and Furious

February 7, 2012

There’s a great article today by Bob Owens at Pajamas Media. Here’s an excerpt:

Whether Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation, as the Department of Justice claims, or was part of a plot to impose gun control, it was radically different from all other border gun operations in one crucial way. Operation Fast and Furious was the only border gun operation that was undertaken with the full intention of the straw-purchased guns leaving the control of law enforcement officers and reaching the armories of drug cartel murderers. That fact alone should lead to the impeachment or administrative removal of everyone, from field agents to political appointees and elected officials that knew or should have known about the plot.

But that is only half of the horror story.

Operation Fast and Furious was specifically conceived so that “walked” guns would be recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Their serial numbers would be provided to the ATF by Mexican authorities for tracing. Regardless of motive, the entire operation was premised on weapons being recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, and law enforcement agencies are well aware that criminals primarily abandon weapons only after they’ve been used in serious felony crimes such as murder or attempted murder.

Operation Fast and Furious was conceived knowing that Mexican nationals would be sacrificed in significant numbers if the tracing operation had any chance of working.

Operation Fast and Furious allowed more than 2,000 weapons to “walk,” indicating that those in charge of the operation were willing to let thousands of Mexican nationals die in an effort to identify the ringleaders of a cartel’s weapon acquisition team.

The Department of Justice claims that they did this so that they could trace the weapons to higher-ups in the cartels and take down entire gun-smuggling networks. Decent people can disagree on many aspects of crime fighting and the amount of risk we should be willing to absorb to fight crime, but we should all agree that no criminal network is worth sacrificing the lives of hundreds or thousands of victims.  Yet that is precisely the way Operation Fast and Furious was designed to work.

Bob then follows up with three questions and explorations of their implications. Read the whole thing.

These are the kinds of questions the press should be asking of the administration. But, just as importantly, these are the kinds of questions we should be peppering our congresscritters and senators with every day, letting them know we want them asked, we want answers, and we will hold them to account for not asking.

RELATED: Previous posts on Operation Fast and Furious, aka “Gunwalker.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Gunwalker comes to… Indiana?

September 7, 2011

This has to qualify as a “WTF? moment ” in a growing scandal that itself that should itself have the acronym retired in its honor. There have already been credible rumors that Gunwalker-like operations (1) were also operated from Texas and Florida. Like the Arizona-based original, these involved purchases of guns for criminal gangs (2) outside of the US.

Now, however, according to information gleaned by David Codrea and relayed by Bob Owens, it looks as if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) was allowing guns to “walk” in Indiana to US gangs:

Per Owens, quoting Codrea:

David Codrea of the Examiner has been at the forefront of the investigation, and reveals that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)  and FBI — two of the agencies that played key rolls in Operation Fast and Furious — conducted a remarkably similar operation … in Indiana.

  • “At the very least, as with “Project Gunwalker,” they indicate straw purchased guns ended up in crime traces, something those directing surveillance were well aware of.  It also indicates the FBI and ATF were once again involved with allowing transactions rejected by NICS to proceed, indicating this practice could be more widespread than has been previously documented, and not confined to Southwest border operations….
  • It’s also fair to ask if it seems credible that such similar operations would develop independently in the Southwest (“Project Gunwalker”) and the Midwest (“Project Gangwalker’?), without authorization from and oversight coordination by Main Justice.

Codrea goes on to suggest that the special agent in charge (SAC) of the Columbus Field Division and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana need to answer whether they played a role in a plot to “walk” guns to criminals in the Midwest that sounds eerily like the Gunwalker plot in Arizona.

(Emphasis added)

Be sure to read all of Codrea’s article. The Indiana operation came to light because of a demand letter sent to a gun dealer requiring details about firearms transactions because the weapons had either shown up at crime scenes or fallen into the hands of known criminals, meaning the dealer could be in trouble. The dealer’s attorney contacted BATF and said, in effect, “Hey, my client let those sales go through because he was cooperating with you guys,” after which two different BATF officials left voice-mails for the gun dealer saying, again, in effect, “Oh, okay, no problem.”  In addition, when straw buyers with felony records were flagged by the monitoring system (3), BATF agents may have cleared them so the purchases could go through.

To convicted felons.

Gunwalker-style operations took place in Arizona, maybe in Florida and Texas, and now it looks like Indiana, too. Fair question: Where else have agencies of the United States government run interference on behalf of criminals illegally buying firearms?

This is well-past the point where a congressional inquiry will suffice; it is time for an independent prosecutor, too. Unlike Owens, I’m not ready yet to declare some deep conspiracy against the Second Amendment; I’m a firm believer that malice isn’t necessary when stupidity will suffice for an explanation. But it gets harder and harder to avoid, when no other rational reason presents itself. Thus it’s time for the people involved, up to and including Attorney General Eric Holder, to answer hard questions under oath, whether before a House committee or a grand jury.

Remember, US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a Gunwalker gun. At least 150 Mexican soldiers, federal agents, and civilians have been killed with guns linked to Gunwalker. And now we have to wonder what crimes “walked” guns have been part of in Indiana and elsewhere.

It’s time for answers.

Footnotes:
(1) That is, allowing “straw buyers” to purchase weapons at US gun shops that would then be shipped over the border to Mexican drug cartels, an activity that under law should be blocked, the idea being that we could the trace the guns to the drug lords… No, it makes no sense to me, either.
(2) I know, I know. “WTF??”
(3) You know, the one that’s supposed to keep bad guys from getting guns.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)