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  • Operation Fast and Furious: The Buck Stops…Well…Somewhere Else

    Senator Charles Grassley (R–IA) and Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA), the ranking members on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, respectively, have issued the first part of a promised three-part report entitled “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation.”

    The report chronicles the case from the perspective of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Were the consequences not so tragic, the report might have the makings of a good Keystone Cops script. Despite being hamstrung by a lack of cooperation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the report does an admirable job in laying the chronology, supported by copious and detailed documentation, of what happened, what went wrong, and how it went wrong.

    The ATF has a checkered history, as evidenced by the fiascos at Ruby Ridge and Waco. While agents with the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) command respect within the law enforcement community, ATF agents often do not. While it is the job of the DEA and the FBI to go after the leaders of drug cartels and other drug trafficking organizations, it is the job of ATF to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. At its heart, Operation Fast and Furious appears to have been an attempt by certain individuals within ATF, supported by senior DOJ officials, to play with the “big boys” by targeting kingpins within the Sinaloa drug cartel.

    It is patently obvious that, far from keeping guns out of the hands of bad guys, and in the interests of developing a bigger case that would attract tremendous national media attention, ATF allowed a relatively small group of individuals to buy a massive arsenal of over 2,000 high-powered weapons (despite the reticence of cooperating firearms dealers to sell them), which ended up in the hands of ruthless Mexican drug thugs with predictable results—mayhem and death. (For more details about Operation Fast and Furious and the President’s invocation of executive privilege, click here.)

    Compounding this colossal exercise of extremely poor judgment was the fact that supervisors within DOJ and ATF, all the way up the chain to the ATF director and the Attorney General’s office, seemed not to understand that it was, in fact, their job to actually supervise those who were conducting this out-of-control investigation, including putting a stop to it.

    As outlined in the report, high-level officials within DOJ and ATF—who should have known better and who had plenty of notice amid a sea of red flags about what was actually going on—talked about an “exit strategy” but ultimately chose to do nothing to implement one. In short, they were asleep at the switch and permitted this reckless and feckless operation to continue for months on end.

    Then, when things went horribly wrong and U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed (as opposed to the scores of Mexicans who had already been killed with Fast and Furious guns, which did not seem to arouse sufficient concern), the implicated individuals decided to circle the wagons, and a cover-up began that persists to this day to prevent the disclosure of clearly embarrassing, and possibly criminal, information.

    On December 17, 2010, two days after Terry’s death, a Texas ATF supervisor wrote to another ATF agent that “maybe Phoenix should start preparing their explanation for the way that they conducted their straw purchases there. They should probably hire a media expert anyway to assist them in explaining the 2000 firearms and the possible connection in the murder of a Border Patrol Agent.”

    Since then, there have been lots of explanations but not much candor. The American public and the victims of Operation Fast and Furious deserve better.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Operation Fast and Furious: The Buck Stops…Well…Somewhere Else

    1. Thank you for a brief and unvarnished sumation of this insane operation. What no one has ever attempted to explain is just how anyone immagined they could "take down a cartel boss" without actually tracking the guns, which they never attempted to do, and without cooperation of Mexican authorities from whom teh opperation was kept a guarded secrete. Since that obviously could not work, it is logical conclude that the stated purpose was never the real purpose at all.

    2. Bobbie says:

      For the federal government who's business is taken beyond our own and salaries taken from our pockets, where supervision is scant to none without equivocation, Eric Holder expected embarrassment and with political correctness in his left pocket he'll cover his true intent along with the whole truth especially the criminal aspect. America can't have people with insecurities reflecting in their government duty! It's Wrong! Uncover it all or resign! It's after the fact and if the feds were doing their diligence as expected by the American people who are obligated to pay their high salaries, there's nothing to hide and in America, no one below corrections.

    3. KJinAZ says:

      I want to know how they can write a report without all the facts. They do not have most of the documents in this case, so what possible conclusions could they make? Talk about false justice. Do they really expect anyone to believe this garbage? I still have seen NO DISCUSSION on the FACT that Holder and Napalitano both spoke at a news conference about this program in March '09, and Obama was on CSPAN a day or two later talking about it himself. I would say this is proof they knew what was going on, so until they are arrested this is not over. This WILL NOT be swept under the carpet.

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