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Operation Fast and Furious – What a Screw up this was by the ATF

Operation Fast and Furious – established in 2009, and Project Gunrunner, established in 2005, were ATF programs aimed at stopping guns from getting into the hands of criminals in Mexico. As with many “projects” that this administration has been involved with have failed – so did this one. The goal was to track the flow of arms and determine how the market functioned, but yet again it has had an unsurprisingly disastrous effect.

This failed program allowed U.S. officials to permit “straw purchasers” to buy guns – hundreds of them at once, sometimes – and then to sell them to Mexican drug cartels while the ATF sat idly by, doing nothing to stop it. Oddly enough the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) leads the way in another program that is called “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.”

This program is aimed at stopping the very same act that the ATF themselves are involved in now – straw purchasing. The term straw purchase – is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her. It is highly illegal and punishable by a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison.

The ATF program failed because they were unable to keep track of “all” the guns that they sold to the Mexican drug cartels. And now some of these guns have shown up in crimes, murders, etc., some of which Americans have been killed.

The Center for Public Integrity, reported that 1,765 guns were knowingly sold as part of “Fast and Furious.” Another 300 or so were sold before the operation started. Of these more than 2,000 guns, fewer than 800 have been recovered. Two of the guns recovered were found at the site of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, in a region known as Peck Canyon, on the U.S. side of the border between Nogales, Mexico, and Tucson, Ariz.

Special Agent John Dodson of the ATF was among many field agents who advised superiors that the covert operation was unwise. Their concerns were not acted on, and the operation continued. After Terry’s murder, Dodson blew the whistle, first to the Justice Department, then to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Grassley has questioned Attorney General Eric Holder, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Republican Darrell Issa, is now engaged in hearings on the case.

So far, Holder has denied any knowledge of the program, but Republicans are wise to look for a smoking gun – literally. They’ve called for numerous documents relating to the operation. A person would think that someone had to know about this project, and if it’s the highest levels of the Justice Department, then heads there should roll.

This ordeal reminds me of a movie in the late 90’s called “Black Dog” a movie about illegal gun shipments. In the movie an ATF agent Tobolowsky really gets on the nerves of the FBI agents he’s working with. After FBI’s Agent Ford has had enough he say’s to ATF agent Tobolowsky “ATF. What does that stand for, anyways? Alcohol, tobacco, and f****-ups?” It’s amazing how the creators of the movie Black Dog, 13 years earlier hit the nail on the head.

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  1. doctorhugo says:

    Let’s start at the beginning here. This is about big government and Executive Branch arrogance and is nothing new in this modern era of federal politics. Listen to Mr. Issa’s opening words:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VXa0wcqVBw

    Operation Fast and Furious and Operation Gunrunner are excellent examples of a government run amuck with unaccountability and now embarked on the old standby CYA protocol. One of these operations was launched during the Little Georgie-boy Bush administration and one in the Obama administration. The arrogance; however, is now being demonstrated by Obama and his lackeys. CoverYourAss is the bureaucrats way of maintaining what we used to call “plausible deniability” in an attempt to evade justice at all costs.

    Mr. Issa’s House Judiciary Committee itself cannot hold the AG in contemp. The Committee can only report its request and then action must be accomplished by the full House, which must then vote to deem the AG to be in contempt of Congress. We need only go back as far as President George W. Bush’s administration to recall his insistence that Harriet Miers be shielded by Executive Immunity from subpoena by Congress. This issue is covered on this very complete video. The US Supreme Court rejected this out of hand as violating the Constitution. The legal reality, demonstrated in law, is that the only way Congress can protect its prerogatives is to undertake it’s own contempt proceedings under the Constitution AND to continue the process, no matter how lengthy it may become, to achieve a ruling by the USSC. Anything short of that dedication abrogates the public trust that Congress bears to We the People under our Constitution. The Separation of Powers provision built into OUR Constitution is there for a very good reason.

    I remind all that this President is dedicated to NOT preserving, protecting and defending OUR Constitution in direct violation of his Oath of Office, an offense that reaches the legal standard of an impeachable offense. A “high crime or misdemeanor”. He has consistently demonstrated and confirmed that which I suggest here by his comments in the past which are all public knowledge.

  2. Max says:

    2010: From the man himself…”I will hold my staff, our agencies, and the people in them, accountable when they fail to perform their responsibilities at the highest level… all will be held accountable if they don’t … I am less interested passing out blame…. for ultimately the buck stops with me.” (Obama delivering his “buck stops with me” message on previous government failures.)

    2011: Again from the man himself, this time shuffling ATF-OP blame somewhere into outer space… “Obama told Univision‘s Jorge Ramos that President Felipe Calderon wasn’t informed of the operation because he — the president of the United States — wasn’t informed either. When asked whether he knew of the weapon smuggling plan, Obama responded that it is “a pretty big government” with “a lot of moving parts.” (courtesy of: Mysanantonio.com)

    He obviously flopped from his 2010 position on accountability, hoping dumbed down liberal voters will give him a free pass. Not if we can help it.