Fast and Furious Still Stinging ATF

Operation Fast and Furious was an operation involving the selling of guns at the U.S. – Mexican border.  The ATF believed that they could track the sales of the guns to smugglers and to the various drug cartels operating at the border.  According to the ATF, the idea was to allow the guns to be sold long enough to gather information about the distribution network.  After enough information about the distribution networks was gathered the ATF said that they would take them down.  As in other types of stings, the ATF felt that they could catch more and bigger fish by waiting.

Initially it was thought that Operation Fast and Furious involved the selling of 2000 guns.  It’s now believed to be slightly less than 1500.

Like many ideas, this one in theory, was thought to be a good one.  The problem was that the ATF, in my opinion, didn’t think this one through.  That became very obvious in December of 2010.  Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot in a confrontation with what were described as “heavily armed suspects near Rio Rico, AZ.”  Agent Terry died the next day.  Guns with serial numbers matching those sold to gun runners were found at the site of the confrontation.  It’s also believed that some of those weapons were used to kill civilians and Mexican Officials as well.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform led by Congressman Darrell Issa is investigating Operation Fast and Furious or Operation Gunwalker as it’s also known.  During the early stages of the investigation Congressman Issa was not happy with the pace at which Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department was supplying requested information about Operation Fast and Furious.  Issa was also upset that all the requested information was heavily redacted.

Yesterday the story evolved a bit more.  It was reported that guns bearing the serial numbers of those involved in Operation Fast and Furious showed up at crime scenes in 11 different cities in America’s Southwest.  In all, 57 guns were recovered.  Forty of those at one crime scene in El Paso, Tx.

It’s also been reported that the majority of the approximately 1500 guns allowed to be “walked” across the border were not tracked by the ATF.  Why wouldn’t you track all the guns?  Wasn’t that the purpose?  Not that it would have made any difference but why institute a game plan and then not follow it?  Incompetence?

From the Heritage Foundations Foundry, I thought this was interesting.  In testimony before The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the former head of the Phoenix, AZ. bureau of the ATF, William Newell, who was a key official involved in implementing Operation Fast and Furious, denied that the ATF allowed any guns to “walk” into Mexico.  Later a memo from Newell’s office, was introduced into the investigation which stated that “our strategy is to allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place … in order to further the investigation and allow for the identification of additional co-conspirators who would continue to operate and illegally traffic firearms to Mexican [Drug Trafficking Organizations].”   It’s pretty clear that to identify co-conspirators you need to continue to allow the sale and transportation of the guns into Mexico.  Just like the Memo stated.

Finally there was this.   ATF agent John Dodson testified before the committee last month that, “…… my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest, but rather to keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk.”

“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan,” Dodson claimed. “It was so mandated.”

That last quote is pretty damaging.  “It was so mandated,” has a finality about it.

The investigation continues.  Who knows where it will lead?  How high into the Justice Department will it go?  There was testimony given that says the IRS, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the DEA were also involved in Operation Fast and Furious.  Will any heads roll at any of these agencies?  Did the President know?

I suppose you could say that Operation Fast and Furious was a program with good intentions but don’t forget that old saying, “The road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions.”

When I first wrote about Operation Fast and Furious I said that one of the sad things about this operation is that the ATF Agents complained about it from the beginning.  They knew this was not a good idea.  Even though they made their feelings known, it still moved forward.  At that time I asked where has commonsense gone?  I still do not have an answer.

Just Asking.

More about Operation Fast and Furious.

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