Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fast and Furious

I've got two serious posts, this one and the next, and then we'll be in need of more comic relief.  I've started this post a couple of times, but I just get so mad and then the post veers off the rails.  Hopefully this time it will stick.

The title of this post, "Fast and Furious," refers to an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF) project.  The aim was this:  (a) get guns into the hands of Mexican criminals; (b) wait for the guns to show up at a (Mexican) crime scene; (c) and finally bring down the Mexican drug cartels based on the guns present at the scene.  Please don't ask how (b) follows (c).  It never worked.

In the past few weeks, Congressman Darryl Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley have gone public with their investigation of "Fast and Furious."  In months of requesting documents from ATF and Justice, they would receive page after page that looked like this:

Did Justice think they were being cute, or did someone need to buy time?  What an insult!

News of FnF began to leak out in December, when an ATF whistleblower finally blew loud enough.  Unfortunately, the only ones who picked it up were the "wacko" gun-rights advocates, not the "respected" main stream media.  Finally, in January, World Net Daily (not exactly a bastion of moderate thought!) also ran with this story.

Right now, at least TWO United States law enforcement personnel have been killed by guns sold in the FnF program.  Don't you wonder what the FnF planners THOUGHT would happen?  I am pretty sure that a Mexican crime scene would involve more than loitering or possibly some spray paint on a wall.  As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure that a Mexican crime scene involves a lot of bodies everywhere.  Did this NOT matter in any way to the people planning this stupid pursuit?

So, Stupid Action Item (SAI) Number One:  Someone was going to have to get killed for this to work.  What a disgusting, reckless disregard for human life.  Oh, it would probably just be some stupid drug dealer?  Well, I'm pretty sure that all the people on this map would disagree with you.
Go Here for the interactive version:  http://www.dailybrisk.com/2011/06/mexico-killing-map.html

Yes, I know that only a fraction (between 12% and 17%) are due to guns from the US, so only a fraction of those (1/4? I'm guessing here) are due to FnF.  Which 3% would you like to have still alive?

SAI Number Two:  The gun dealers participating in this had to keep their mouths shut, while simultaneously being excoriated by the same Federal Government that had planted cameras in their shops for FnF.  Yes.  While this program was going on, other people at Justice, and even the President himself, were blaming escalating border violence on the gun dealers.  (And check the date on that Justice link!) Read that again:  While this program was going on, other people at Justice, and even the President himself, were blaming escalating border violence on the gun dealers.  And someone was feeding stories right to the Washington Post during the months immediately after FnF came to light, blaming the ATF agents in the field for losing guns!  Which leads us to...

SAI Number Three:  The guns sold as part of the program were required to fall from sight.  This is directly contrary to standard ATF procedure.  (Go about half-way down this article to find the agent's testimony.) Remember, we aren't talking about one gun to one guy, once a month.  This was dozens of guns, several times a week, to one person.  Standard procedure is to follow the buyer until the gun is recovered.  FnF required the guns to leave the oversight of the ATF agents, on the hope that they would magically reappear at a crime scene. 

Excruciating, isn't it?  The list of outrageous actions goes on, including the very hands-on actions of the ATF director himself.  Kenneth Melson requested and was provided with the web addresses of the webcams set up in the participating gun dealerships.  He would personally watch the sales of guns from the comfort of his office in Washington.

In the last couple of days, two of the ATF whistleblowers have been threatened with firing.  One claims to have receieved a letter of termination.  There is an atmosphere of protection and fear that is pervading the ATF.  This action on their part shows just how rotten an agency it is.  There isn't one mission the ATF fulfills that could not be adequately addressed by another agency.

The Department of Justice is also rotten here, though.  ATF should not be the only ones to pay for this fiasco.  Like the Black Panther case that came to light last year, this has politics written all over it.  Blocking the Congressional subpeonas and then failing to cooperate in any way with the subsequent investigation have shown their true colors.  The question at Justice is not "Did Holder know?" but "How MUCH did Holder know?"

Finally, note again the utter hypocrisy coming from the executive branch.  One agency had to co-op (legal and law-abiding) gun dealers, encouraging them to take actions that they themselves knew to be stupid, even illegal.  At the same time, other agencies were decrying the violence south of the border, blaming the wide availability of guns in this country and specifically the same border-state gun dealers!  One might even believe that they were using FnF to create chaos in Mexico, so that they could then justify shutting down gun-dealers and restricting gun access to law-abiding Americans.

There is so much available to read about this right now.  Below, I'm linking to a bunch of articles and the Congressional record:
Report from Congress
Excellent Timeline 
Several articles as story broke
Video of Agent


musicalmary said...

Thanks for keeping me abreast of things! I just love reading your blog. :-)

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Mary. I know I'm just one little voice, but it is really cool to have the Internet available as a tool to be heard. I checked my stats the other day and had a reader from Iran. Imagine that.