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  • Operation Fast and Furious: An Obama Foreign Policy Disconnect

    During the past week, the U.S. and Colombia indicted and arrested more than 50 individuals charged with organizing maritime and aerial smuggling of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. via Central America and Mexico. The arrests again reflect the sustained nature of close law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Colombia. This cooperation has been nurtured patiently over more than a decade.

    By stark contrast, cooperation between Washington and Mexico has been harmed as a result of Operation Fast and Furious, the botched law enforcement operation that allowed more than 2,000 guns to “walk” from straw buyers into the hands of criminals—Mexican and American. It also appears that an Arizona man believed to have supplied grenades to Mexican criminals may have slipped through the fingers of U.S. law enforcement.

    As in the case of cooperation with Colombia, the rationale behind Operation Fast and Furious was to develop cross-border cooperation and prosecutions against higher-ups in criminal organizations. Defenders of Operation Fast and Furious say it was a way of getting around weak or ineffective U.S. laws regulating the sale and export of high-powered firearms, by going after gun-trafficking networks.

    In a briefing paper in January 2010, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explained:

    The ultimate goal is…to identify and prosecute all co-conspirators of the DTO [Drug Trafficking Organizations] to include the 20 individual straw purchasers, the facilitators of the distribution cell centered here in Phoenix, the transportation cells taking firearms South, and ultimately to develop and provide prosecutable information to our Mexican law enforcement counterparts for actions.

    Agents running the operation claimed they stood on the cutting edge of law enforcement.

    Wrote a lead ATF agent, David Voth, in early 2010 to quiet doubters in the wisdom of the operation: “This is the pinnacle of U.S. law enforcement techniques. After this, the tool box is empty. Maybe the Maricopa County Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of $100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day.”

    On April 2, 2010, Voth again urged zeal in pressing ahead with the operation even when massive quantities of weapons seemed to be walking away:

    Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles. I believe we are righteous in our plan to dismantle this entire organization and to rush in to arrest any one person without taking in to account the entire scope of the conspiracy would be ill advised to the overall good of the mission.

    The disconnect between “gun-walking” and effective law enforcement widened. The Mexican cooperation piece is still missing.

    In hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 27, Carlos Canino, ATF acting attaché in Mexico, painted a grim picture: “I have reason to believe that we were kept in the dark because the ATF leadership in Phoenix feared we would tell our Mexican partners.” Asked former ATF agent Darren Gil, “Why were ATF personnel in Mexico kept in the dark on this operation, which has now imperiled cooperation…at a time when that trust and cooperation is more essential than ever?”

    Now it appears members of President Obama’s national security staff who deal with sensitive Mexican issues—Dan Restrepo and Kevin O’Reilly—were also in the loop but took no action. The Los Angeles Times reports that the supervisor of ATF in Phoenix “specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official.”

    It is the National Security Council’s job to make sure domestic actions with foreign policy consequences—like the gun-walking of Operation Fast and Furious—are in sync with U.S. anti-crime and anti-drug efforts abroad.

    As in the case of Colombia, the bottom line for Operation of Fast and Furious should have been building more effective cross-border cooperation with Mexico. Yet the opposite occurred. This foreign policy disconnect is worrisome and is another important reason for Congress to press its investigation to avoid a dangerous repeat.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Operation Fast and Furious: An Obama Foreign Policy Disconnect

    1. West Texan says:

      Why were the guns necessary to track bad guys? I'm convinced this scheme was politically motivated like everything else from Obama's camp.

    2. aprilnovember says:

      Today Eduardo Sencion murdered National Guard Members in Nevada. He used an AK-47. Was it one of those from Fast and Furious?

      I hope this gun is going to be checked to see if it was . Obama is trying to kill people. He killed the Seals. He wants them to invade America just like the Weather Underground planned.
      Two National Guardsmen Killed in Nevada IHOP Shooting http://www.thegatewaypundit.co…..-shooting/

      Larry Grathwohl on Ayers’ plan for American re-education camps and the need to kill millions http://youtu.be/HWMIwziGrAQ

      They gave these weapons, these taxpayer funded weapons to the Mexicans to invade America and kill people. Today was part of that!

    3. Perseus Arms says:

      Voth is just plain stupid if he actually believes that the method used in operation fast and furious would lead to the arrest of drug trafficking co-conspirators. Supervisors of this operation admitted that they lost track of more than 2000 weapons and that the only way to recover these weapons is when they turn up in crime scenes where the perpetrators are the drug cartel foot soldiers, not the big bosses. How high up in the drug cartel are being targeted? How many weapons the BATFE were supposed to hand down to the criminals before this kind of tactic works? How many innocent people were supposed to die? If it were not for the whistle blowers, this operation would have still be going on (or maybe it is, under the radar) because the leadership of this operation believes that it would work.
      In my opinion, anybody (including members of the media) who believes that operation fast and furious is the "pinnacle of U.S. law enforcement techniques" are stupid incompetents. Otherwise, they have other hidden agenda, like gun control.

    4. matismf says:

      When the domestic policy is so overwhelmingly critical to the Administration, foreign policy takes a back seat. The domestic policy advanced by this – and the OTHER similar operations – is an Administration goal with top priority. "We are working this under the radar" was the words he used.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Connect the dots! Hillary signed a world-wide small arms ban with the UN. In order to soften the outrage by U.S. gun owners, Obama had to convince the American people U.S. guns was causing an "international" problem when U.S. guns found their way into the hands of Mexican cartels. When documents surfaced inside the Mexican government that the majority of the guns used by the cartels were coming from Central and South America, and not across the U.S. border, Obama had to invent proof to support his deliberate attempt to impose stricter gun laws for all U.S. citizens and find reason to agree with the UN gun ban. The result: Fast and Furious!

    6. fmrusmcrntx says:

      I agree w/all the posts here so far (5) on this topic, particularly the most recent by Lloyd which IMHO is SPOT ON! From the time this odious & nefarious administration took power, we've heard non-stop garbage from them LYING about "guns from the USA going to the cartels". And we all knew this was a LIE! Most of the guns the cartels have been using have either been sold to the cartels by corrupt Mexican police & military personnel or brought in from various Central & South American countries (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela (probably the most from them), etc.). Not from the USA. But this administration including Dept of State along with DOJ/BATFE have continued this propaganda in their efforts to undermine our 2nd Amendment rights….cont'd.. Semper Fi! :(

    7. fmrusmcrntx says:

      …cont: Now, we find that in the process of so doing, the bunch of crooks & charlatans have violated one of the very basic tenets of law enforcement: "You don't break the law to enforce it"! I predict that this is going to become MUCH BIGGER, and Issa, Grassley, Cornyn et al are NOT going to quit until this entire sorry episode is made totally visible. The worst part of this mess, along with the violations by the WH, DOJ, BATFE, et al is the fact that American law enforcement personnel have been killed. This "Chicago-Style, Gangster" administration has already proven to the American people that they solidly believe "the end justifies any means". Sorry state of affairs to put it mildly & I hope all of them end up in jail! Semper Fi! :(

    8. Julia says:

      I hope the investigation continues and exposes all who knew about it, whether it is Hillary, Holder and/or Obama, they should be held fully accountable.

    9. Diognesyes says:

      thank you Mr. Issa, and Mr. Grassley, and also Mr. Chaffettz, plz keep up the good work, this evil needs to be fully exposed.

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