Fast & Furious “smoking gun”?
posted at 11:25 am on September 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
The New York Post’s Michael Walsh wonders when the media outrage will arrive in the aftermath of the disastrous and deadly Operation Fast and Furious. The latest revelation shows that the ATF wasn’t really interested in stopping illegal gun sales or stopping the movement of guns across the border, Walsh writes, but something else entirely. And until the national media exposes the “lies” coming from the Department of Justice, Americans simply won’t get answers as to what purpose the ATF and DoJ really intended:
This just might be the smoking gun we’ve been waiting for to break the festering “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal wide open: the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives apparently ordered one of its own agents to purchase firearms with taxpayer money, and sell them directly to a Mexican drug cartel.
Let that sink in: After months of pretending that “Fast and Furious” was a botched surveillance operation of illegal gun-running spearheaded by the ATF and the US attorney’s office in Phoenix, it turns out that the government itself was selling guns to the bad guys.
Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy four Draco pistols for cash and even got a letter from his supervisor, David Voth, authorizing a federally licensed gun dealer to sell him the guns without bothering about the necessary paperwork. …
On orders, Dodson then sold the guns to known criminals, who first stashed them away and then — deliberately unhindered by the ATF or any other agency — whisked them off to Mexico.
At least one mainstream media outlet has stuck with the case. The Los Angeles Times’ Richard Serrano, who broke the news to which Walsh refers, extends the story today by reporting that F&F guns turned up in El Paso, Texas in January 2010 in what should have been a huge red flag that the operation had spun out of control:
A cache of assault weapons lost in the ATF’s gun-trafficking surveillance operation in Phoenix turned up in El Paso, where it was being stored for shipment to Mexico, according to new internal agency emails and federal court records.
Forty firearms along with ammunition magazines and ballistic vests were discovered in Texas in January 2010 during the early stages of the program, meaning the firearms vanished soon after the program began. …
The El Paso case is the first example of Fast and Furious weapons turning up on this side of the border outside the Phoenix area.
The big question is why the ATF didn’t suspend the operation after discovering that it had lost control of the guns. The answer seems to be that they didn’t care that they had lost control of the guns, since they were allowing the F&F guns to go across the border anyway. Walsh writes that this demonstrates that the explanations offered in defense of F&F are simply false. Instead, Walsh deduces that only two explanations are possible any longer — or maybe three:
There are two possible explanations. The first is that the anti-gun Obama administration deliberately wanted American guns planted in Mexico in order to demonize American firearms dealers and gun owners. The operation was manufacturing “evidence” for the president’s false claim that we’re to blame for the appalling levels of Mexican drug-war violence.
If this is true, then Holder & Co. have got to go — and the trail needs to be followed no matter where it leads. For the federal government to seek to frame its own citizens is unconscionable.
A second notion is that the CIA was behind the whole thing, which accounts for all the desperate wagon-circling. Under this theory, the Agency feared the los Zetas drug cartel was becoming too powerful and might even mount a coup against the Mexican government. So some 2,000 weapons costing more than $1.25 million were deliberately channeled to the rival Sinaloa cartel, which operates along the American border, to keep the Zetas in check.
Of course, there’s a third explanation — that both scenarios are true, and that those in charge of Fast and Furious saw an opportunity to shoot two birds with one Romanian-made AK Draco pistol.
I’m going with option C. And if that’s the case, then include Leon Panetta among those who has to hit the road, too.