Operation Gunrunner, Fast and Furious – What We Know So Far

 

Update July 14, the DOJ was aware of it, the Director was aware of it and don’t tell Mexican counterparts:

Original Story: What is Operation Gunrunner? It is a legitimate, duly authorized multi-agency project of the DOJ. Its goal is to stop any flow of weapons from the American Southwest to Mexico. It is an effective ATF operation. What it is not, is Fast and Furious.

What is Fast and Furious? Fast and Furious, also called Operation Gunwalker, is an operation whereby law enforcement agents buy guns covertly (straw buyers) from gun dealers in and around Phoenix and then walk them back to Mexico. The intention is to follow the guns and see where they wind up, hopefully to infiltrate the belly of the Beast. The DOJ appears to have made no effort to follow the guns and a border agent was gunned down in a battle in which two of these guns were used. The fact that the operation was not monitored properly could be incompetence, something more sinister or a combination of factors.

Fast and Furious actually works against Operation Gunrunner as you consider the two operations. One is trying to keep guns out and the other is trying to bring them in. It’s the antithesis of what the ATF agents wanted to do according to their testimony before Congress. The government, with all the technology available to them, never tracked the guns beyond the first sale so what was the point of Fast and Furious?

Representative Issa and Senator Grassley are investigating who knew, when they knew it, and why the guns used for Fast and Furious were not tracked.

At the end of this video, David Ogden, Deputy AG, talks about tracking of guns. David Ogden of course would not implement an action such as Fast and Furious without significant leadership by Eric Holder.

In a memo uncovered by The Daily Beast, John Solomon reports that David Ogden said the following in a sensitive law-enforcement memo of 2009, Given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico. We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them.

Details here: According to The Daily Beast…Before the gun-running sting began in Phoenix in late 2009, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents were trained to build cases quickly against people who were acting as straw buyers, purchasing cheap legal guns at U.S. gun shops and then transferring them to others who would traffic them to Mexican gangs.

Agents have told Congress they wanted to interdict weapons quickly when they fell into the hands of suspected straw buyers and despised the idea of “letting guns walk” outside their control…But ATF supervisors and local federal prosecutors in the Fast and Furious operation approved a different approach in late 2009, specifically instructing agents along the Arizona border not to interdict the weapons and instead to let the straw buyers move the guns into the system in hopes they would show up in crimes on both sides of the border and help federal prosecutors build bigger cases against the Mexican drug gangs.

The operation went on for 15 months, and ATF officials now concede they let more than 1,700 weapons fall into the hands of the straw buyers, with nearly 800 showing up in criminal activity on both sides of the border. Two of those guns were found at the scene where a U.S. border agent was murdered and more than 190 turned up in Mexican crimes as well…

…blame has rested mostly with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives supervisors who approved the strategy in Arizona and Washington. The Justice Department also has directed that the tactic of “letting guns walk”—meaning allowing straw buyers to move guns with the government’s knowledge—should no longer be used.

But The Daily Beast has learned, congressional investigators will disclose that just weeks before ATF supervisors approved the Fast and Furious operation and its controversial tactics, senior Justice Department officials sent a memo to prosecutors and agents on the front lines of the border wars urging that they go beyond their traditional tactics of interdicting guns being purchased by straw buyers and try to make cases against the drug gangs themselves.

To quote: “Given the national scope of this issue, merely seizing firearms through interdiction will not stop firearms trafficking to Mexico. We must identify, investigate and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them,” the office of then Deputy Attorney General David Ogden wrote in an October 2009 memo marked law enforcement sensitive…Read here: Gun running blows up

Who knew and when did they know it? AG Holder has claimed ignorance of the operation. However, in a speech given in Mexico, which is posted on the DOJ website, Holder seems to indicate that he is aware of the extended ATF operation. On April 2nd, Holder said, Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner, DEA is adding 16 new positions on the border, as well as mobile enforcement teams, and the FBI is creating a new intelligence group focusing on kidnapping and extortion. Read here and you decide, check the dates and the allusions to an expanded program: Did Holder know?

In a letter to Holder on July 5th, Grassley and Issa, detail the information they obtained from ATF Acting Director, Mr. Melson, with regards to the details and failure of the fast and furious operation. Mr. Melson immediately took steps to shut down the program and gave Issa and Grassley valuable information. Mr. Melson indicated that other agencies (DEA and FBI) knew about Fast and Furious, but kept information from the ATF. Mr. Meslon said:…he reported this information in April 2011 to the Acting Inspector General and directly to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole on June 16, 2011.

In other words, the DOJ might have known about the purchases and the failures, and this was not made known to Congress.

Two days after Mr. Melson told Acting Deputy General Cole about the serious issues regarding lack of information among agencies, Mr. Melson was forced out of his job. Mr. Melson was an important witness who has been discredited by his firing. Was he fired for incompetence or to discredit him? Read the letter here: Letter to Eric Holder

Ten million dollars from the Stimulus went to Operation Gunrunner and money has poured in since the inception of Fast and Furious – are they linked? Could Holder and Obama have known about Fast and Furious? There is also the issue of the Second Amendment. The border war has been used repeatedly by people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton to justify stricter gun laws in this country. President Obama is about to come up with an Executive Order restricting the Second Amendment. More U.S. guns turning up in Mexico only strengthens the case in the minds of progressives. Since the Alinsky approach does include a philosophy of “the end justifies the means,” could the failed operation and the new attacks on the Second Amendment be linked?

We must exercise caution and not jump ahead of the information, however, we must not ignore clues in our search for the truth.

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