Operation Fast and Furious; Wrong and Deadly

On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in a fire fight that took place in an unforgiving Arizona border area.  He was shot in the back by an illegal alien with an AK-47.  On February 15, 2011, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata was gunned down inside Mexico by one of the weapons used in the Terry murder.  What began as unrelated tragedies, is now unfolding into a gross manipulation of our laws, in an attempt to manufacture chaos, whose tentacles reach to the most hollowed of all places:  the White House.

Think back to 2009 when suddenly members of the Obama administration came out with the most shocking statistic that 90% of American guns end up in Mexico.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the statement to reporters while on her way to Mexico City.  Then, Senator Diane Feinstein got involved when she commented, “It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors … come from the United States.”  Then the big announcement from William Hoover assistant director for field operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), who went and testified before the House of Representatives that “there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States.”

The gun-control lobby went nuts.  They wanted legislation enacted and policies to be reversed to do something about all the murder and mayhem that guns cause.  They thought they had the golden ticket to advance their agenda of making law-abiding citizens prey to criminals who don’t care about laws.  Two very important truths came to light when they began screeching.  The first was that while Americans don’t want murder and mayhem, it was hard for them to be sympathetic to the narco-terrorists dying in Mexican streets while they were unemployed and the economy was tanking  and the Second more important truth was, that it was a LIE.

In all actuality, only 17% of American guns wind up in Mexico.  The BATFE, found that many of the serial numbers and weapons come from foreign sources.  To the tune of 83%!!!  Once it was proven that the statistics didn’t back up the lie, it was time to make the lie back up the statistics.

The Department of Justice, utilizing the BATFE, put together half-witted and poorly executed operation.  The operation was called GUNRUNNER.  As a part of Gunrunner, Operation FAST & FURIOUS was concocted.  Officially, the operation was to track and possibly uncover smuggling operations so they could be extinguished.  Additionally, the DOJ  expected some of the guns to be delivered to Mexican narco-terrorists which could provide information on the cartels.

However, what really happened is that our federal government PURPOSEFULLY allowed those suspected gun smugglers to purchase weapons at licensed firearms dealers in Arizona.  Not only did the government agents allow the purchases, but they failed to intercept the smugglers and failed to recover the guns that were purchased!!!!  Of the 2,000 weapons that were sold through straw purchases and proxy deals, only 600 have been recovered.

We would have no knowledge of this mess except for the courageous agent who came forward.  Special Agent Vince Cefalu was stationed at the Dublin, California location when he stepped into the limelight and blew the whistle on this mess.  Right before he was fired, he gave an interview in which he stated, “Simply put, we knowingly let hundreds of guns and dozens of identified bad guys go across the border.”  When Cefalu came forward with his information, a number of other agents who had first-hand knowledge of the operation also came forward.

Congressional hearings soon followed and thanks to the dedication of Rep. Daniel Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley we now have a much better picture of what did happen.  Here are their findings:

  • DOJ and ATF inappropriately and recklessly relied on a 20-year old ATF Order to allow guns to walk. DOJ and ATF knew from an early date that guns were being trafficked to the DTOs  (Drug Trafficking Organizations) .
  • ATF agents are trained to “follow the gun” and interdict weapons whenever possible.  Operation Fast and Furious required agents to abandon this training.
  • DOJ relies on a narrow, untenable definition of gunwalking to claim that guns were never walked during Operation Fast and Furious. Agents disagree with this definition,  acknowledging that hundreds or possibly thousands of guns were in fact walked.
  • DOJ’s  misplaced reliance on this definition does not change the fact that it knew that ATF could have interdicted thousands of guns that were being trafficked to Mexico, yet chose to do nothing.
  •  ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.
  •  Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.
  •  Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.”  Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.
  • Operation Fast and Furious contributed to the increasing violence and deaths in Mexico.  This result was regarded with giddy optimism by ATF supervisors hoping that guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico would provide the nexus to straw purchasers in Phoenix.
  • Every time a law enforcement official in Arizona was assaulted or shot by a firearm, ATF agents in Group VII had great anxiety that guns used to perpetrate the crimes may trace back to Operation Fast and Furious.  (Including the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords).
  • Jaime Avila was entered as a suspect in the investigation by ATF on November 25, 2009, after purchasing weapons alongside Uriel Patino, who had been identified as a suspect in October 2009. Over the next month and a half, Avila purchased 13 more weapons, eachrecorded by the ATF in its database within days of the purchase. Then on January 16, 2010, Avila purchased three AK-47 style rifles, two of which ended up being found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The death of Border Agent Brian Terry was likely a preventable tragedy.
  • Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell’s statement that the indictments represent the take-down of a firearms trafficking ring from top to bottom, and his statement that ATF never allowed guns to walk are incredible, false, and a source of much frustration to the agents.
  • Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, DOJ continues to deny that Operation Fast and Furious was ill-conceived and had deadly consequences.

As if all of that is not horrific enough, at no time was the government in Mexico informed of this plan.   The Mexican government had NO KNOWLEDGE that it was about to be flooded with illegally purchased guns with the go-ahead from the United States Government. Some of those AK-47’s that the BATFE allowed to “walk” over to Mexico was found in the possession of the killer of Mario Gonzalez, who was the brother of a state prosecutor.  He was tortured and forced to make a video tape confession that his sister was “on the take.”  At this point, the unconfirmed death toll in Mexico is 150 people.

Marisela Morales is the Attorney’s General in Mexico.  She had been a longtime supporter of U.S. policy and law enforcement.  However, having learned of Operation Fast and Furious through news reports, she is cooled towards our government.  She is quoted as saying, “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted.  In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”  Things got a bit more telling in her interview:

Morales said she did not want to draw conclusions before the outcome of U.S. investigations, but that deliberately letting weapons “walk” into Mexico — with the intention of tracing the guns to drug cartels — would represent a “betrayal” of a country enduring a drug war that has killed more than 40,000 people. U.S. agents lost track of hundreds of weapons under the program.

To further complicate our relationship with the Mexican government, Patricia Gonzalez, the State Prosecutor for Chihuahua and the sister of murdered Mario Gonzalez, had much more to say, “The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims,”  Indeed, we now know that a helicopter carrying Mexican Federal police was fired upon by a .50 caliber rifle that was a part of the “walk.”  The bullets from that rifle pierced the fuselage and the armor reinforced windshield.  Three Federal agents were wounded.

Fast and Furious weapons have also been linked to other high-profile shootings. On May 24, a helicopter ferrying Mexican federal police during an operation in the western state of Michoacan was forced to land after bullets from a powerful Barrett .50-caliber rifle pierced its fuselage and armor-reinforced windshield. Three officers were wounded.

Emails that are now being released coupled with the congressional testimony is quite clear that American Officials deliberately concealed the operation and fall out from Mexico’s government.   Darren Gil, the acting ATF attache in Mexico City, said that he contacted U.S. officials on briefing the Mexican government however, he was met with silence.  In his testimony before congress he stated, “They were afraid that I was going to either brief the ambassador or brief the government of Mexico officials on it.”

On Friday, September 30th, the White House very quietly released emails that show a conclusive link between Bill Newell and White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly.  O’Reilly is not longer in that position, however emails show they also spoke on the phone and were long time friends.  The White House is trying to spin this mess and say they had no knowledge of the operation or any fallout that it caused.  Even though Eric Holder has been caught in the cloud of suspicion.

It is absolutely time for a Special Prosecutor to be called so a grand jury can be convened and people can be sworn to the truth.  While I don’t have the proof, it is my opinion that this whole mess was contrived so the debate about gun control could ratchet up again.  In this country, gun control means that the bad guys can prey more readily on the law-abiding citizens.

Finally, on a related note, the family of Brian Terry has retained a prominent Phoenix lawyer, Lincoln Combs in a possible lawsuit against the government.  At this time, Combs has been watching the proceedings in congress and also in the change in personnel.  “All we know is that this (the abrupt leaving of Kenneth Melson of BATFE and U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke) doesn’t bring us any closer to justice for the people involved in Brian’s murder,” Combs said. “Or to any answers from the government as to Operation Fast and Furious and their role in Brian’s killers obtaining the weapons they used to kill him.”  When he was questioned if Burke is being set up as the scapegoat for higher up government officials like Eric Holder Combs had this to say, “Obviously, we feel like he (Burke) had some role in what happened.  But we don’t know to what extent,” he continued. “So we certainly have no idea if he’s a scapegoat or what the political forces are at work.”  No doubt this will eventually result in a wrongful death lawsuit.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The gun industry is fighting for your rights! Are you? | Letting Freedom Ring
  2. Trackback: Could Eric Holder be charged as an accomplice to murder(s)? Continue reading on Examiner.com Could Eric Holder be charged as an accomplice to murder(s)? – National drug cartel | Tancredo Radio Show

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