Ever since Watergate, it has been fashionable to attach Hollywood-sounding names to government-sponsored criminal activity. The latest episode of such happenings was tagged “Fast and Furious” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Justice. Since then, many in the media have settled for “Gunwalker.”
In truth, ever since the murders of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata (along with numerous Mexicans), it has become evident the actions of the Obama administration are neither a Hollywood blockbuster nor the latest TV cop show. Ironically one of the more liberal papers in the nation and a consistent supporter of President Obama, the Los Angeles Times, has been quite vocal in its reporting of the matter. Since the killing of Brian Terry, the Times has run numerous articles detailing this sting operation gone bad.
In summary, here are five key accusations made by ATF whistleblowers about the plan and execution of Fast and Furious, a plan to allow the sale of firearms to gunrunners:
- U.S. gun dealers were instructed by the ATF to allow questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.
- ATF agents allowed, and even assisted, those guns crossing the U.S. border into Mexico to “boost the numbers” of American civilian market firearms seized in Mexico in order to provide the justification for additional firearm restrictions on American citizens and more authority and money for ATF.
- Mexican authorities were intentionally kept in the dark about the operation over the objections of ATF agents.
- Weapons the ATF allowed to walk into Mexico were used in the murders of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE agent Jaime Zapata, and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
- Since the murder of Brian Terry in December 2010, the Obama administration has been engaged in an aggressive cover-up of the facts behind what is now known as the “Gunwalker Scandal.”
The whistle blowers in this scandal are not low-level ex-agents, but rather led by Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When the first reports hit the news in Phoenix of the murder of Border Agent Brian Terry, it became obvious Melson was to be the designated sacrificial lamb in order to draw attention away from the Department of Justice and President Obama. Acting Director Melson was expected to resign in the aftermath of revelations but instead, refused to step down.
According to numerous reports and whistleblowers within the ATF, here is what happened with full presidential sanction:
An $80 million program was carried out by the ATF to solicit and use “straw buyers” to purchase hundreds of various types of weapons from licensed gun shops in states bordering Mexico. The plan was to somehow trace the weapons to Mexican drug cartels across the border. For Americans looking for stimulus money to bring them jobs, they may be surprised to learn that much of that $80 million dollars came from that stimulus money and walked right into the hands of Mexican drug lords. Though the Justice Department repeatedly purported this was a sting operation that fell apart, the cover story could not hold up. The ATF has no authority to track guns inside of Mexico without that country’s approval; therefore, this had to go beyond the ATF’s authority level.
In March 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder testified to a congressional committee that he had only known about Fast and Furious for less than a month. That is interesting because, almost two years earlier, the Attorney General presented this very kind of operation as a way to take the fight to the Mexican drug cartels at a joint Mexico-U.S. law enforcement conference in Mexico.
Acting Director Melson tells a far different story to congressional investigators. He has revealed internal memos from Obama political appointees in the Justice Department that were withheld from Congress. He also has testified that the Justice Department officially denied the existence of the sting operation while at the same time procuring wiretap authorization to carry out Fast and Furious.
Melson told investigators that during operation Fast and Furious, guns were bought by and sold to individuals connected with the Mexican cartels who were also paid informants for the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. American taxpayers are funding all sides of this war. Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, a ranking leader of the Los Zetas cartel, boasted that the cartel’s guns were purchased in the United States and that all the cartels were buying guns from the U.S. government.
Not only has the U.S. Congress begun investigations, but so has their counterpart in Mexico as well. Some within the Mexican government are even calling the Obama operation an act of war. At least 200 Mexican law enforcement and military personnel have been killed in the last year by guns traced directly Fast and Furious.
The Obama administration has a history of using a real crisis as a platform for furthering its own agenda. With violence spilling across our borders from the war between the Mexican government and drug cartels, it was almost inevitable the problem would be blamed on gun control in the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and President Obama have all publicly pointed to border violence and blamed it on the ready availability of guns in U.S. gun shops and gun shows along the border.
With an agenda to push for tougher gun control, the administration saw a perfect opportunity to fan the flames of gun violence, make high profile arrests, and create public calls for stricter gun control laws to protect Mexican and American citizens. Recent studies have shown the drug cartels were not primarily using guns bought in America, so something had to be done to create the perception such was not the case.
In spite of everything that has been revealed about Fast and Furious, the Justice Department is still blaming gun shops in southwestern states for the violence along the border. It has just announced that all gun shops in those states must report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span to the ATF. A Justice Department spokesman described this as an effort to stop the illicit flow of weapons into Mexico. Considering Fast and Furious orchestrated individuals buying weapons that would have directly violated such a proposed law, it is the height of hypocrisy.
With the President and Secretary of State in the mix, some are suggesting the agenda for such an operation goes far beyond gun control. Some of the guns traced back to Fast and Furious ended up with the Zeta drug cartel. Former CIA operative Phil Jordan has told the El Paso Times that the cartel has active plans to disrupt Mexico’s 2012 elections. Jordan, who served as director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center in 1995, said the Zetas have shipped large amounts of weapons purchased in the Dallas area through El Paso.
Robert Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot, supports Jordan’s allegations, adding that the Zetas have reportedly bought property in the Columbus, N.M., border region to stash weapons and other contraband. He said it appears that a company was set up in Mexico to purchase weapons through the U.S. Direct Commercial Sales Program, and that the company may have had a direct link to the Zetas. Last year the direct sales program was used to provide Mexico with $416.5 million worth of weapons and equipment, U.S. statistics indicate.
All of this is most disturbing because of the way this is being framed to allow for the inclusion of the State Department and CIA in what was supposed to be a method to halt gun violence within our borders. The CIA, in particular, has a history of inserting itself into the affairs of foreign governments in order to “protect American interests.” But this time we aren’t talking about a communist regime on the other side of the planet. Fast and Furious has purposefully allowed gun trafficking to violent drug cartels that know nothing of national borders and would be glad to pull down governments on both side of the border if they could.
Only time will tell if public awareness makes any difference. It is telling that decidedly non-conservative media like the LA Times and CBS news have taken an aggressive role in researching and reporting the actions of the government. However, so far, President Obama has done a great job of keeping the American people from connecting the dots and pointing an accusing finger back at him.