The gun used during the attempted terror attack on the “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas may have been bought from the Arizona store linked to Fast and Furious. Los Angeles Times broke the news yesterday which also included the nugget that Nadir Soofi’s purchase was known by the federal government (emphasis mine).
Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.
The LA Times also noted it isn’t known if the gun Soofi bought was used in the Garland attempted attack. But they also noted DOJ demanded information from the store Soofi got the gun from the day after the attack to help in the criminal investigation. This is absolutely unbelievable, yet totally believable. The Justice Department has done such a bang up job (note sarcasm) with Fast and Furious. Remember the operation is directly linked to the deaths of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE Officer Jamie Zapata, and around 200 Mexicans. It’s another example of the Obama Administration being asleep at the wheel, specifically the Attorney General’s Office. The OIG report on Fast and Furious shows ex-DOJ Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer knew about Operation Wide Receiver (the predecessor to Fast and Furious), yet didn’t bother trying to stop it.
Weinstein and Trusty met with Lanny Breuer, the AAG for the Criminal Division, on April 19, 2010, to brief him about Operation Wide Receiver. According to Trusty, he thought that Operation Wide Receiver potentially was a “black eye” for ATF, and he and Weinstein wanted to brief Breuer so that he would be prepared for eventual press questions. Breuer told the OIG that he learned from Weinstein that ATF had allowed firearms to go into Mexico in Operation Wide Receiver even though there had been legal authority to interdict them, and he said that he and Weinstein found this upsetting given the time they had devoted to dealing with Mexican cartel issues. Breuer also said that he told Weinstein to talk to ATF leadership to make sure that they understood that the Criminal Division planned to move forward with the case, but that the investigation had used “obviously flawed” techniques. Weinstein also told us that Breuer told him to bring the matter to the attention of ATF leadership.
Breur later told investigators he didn’t see a reason to tell Attorney General Eric Holder about everything, because he thought it was already handled. Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler was also told about Fast and Furious in 2010 and took no action after Terry’s murder. Deputy AG is the number two position in DOJ and Grindler was later Holder’s chief of staff. This shows just how much of a failure Fast and Furious was, and how poorly the ATF and AG’s Office handled it. Of course, the ATF doesn’t always have the best track record when it comes to operations (see Ruby Ridge and the Waco Siege).
This leads back to Soofi and the mystery of what the government did or didn’t do. Soofi became friends with Elton Simpson, the other terrorist involved in the Garland attack, around the time he bought gun. Simpson was indicted by the federal government in January 2010, about a month and a half before Soofi got the weapon. It sure seems odd the feds put a temporary hold on Soofi’s purchase if he wasn’t on their radar, so maybe the hold was put in place because he and Simpson were roommates. That’s only speculation with no real evidence one way or the other. But it really is bizarre the ATF didn’t keep the gun hold on. Soofi did have a criminal rap sheet and LA Times reported he “fudged” (lied) on his application. I’ve bought three guns in Arizona and I don’t remember what the application looks like. I know I had to put in my address, and show my ID, but I don’t remember what else is on there. Soofi’s criminal history would have shown up on the background check and, again, the feds put a temporary hold on the purchase but that’s it. It just doesn’t add up.
LA Times does point out there’s no way of knowing if this was happenstance or failure by the federal government. It’s something the Justice Department will have to answer, but probably won’t. This should raise questions as to whether police entities of any kind need to bother with secret operations like this. When things go wrong, they go spectacularly wrong. Look at how the CIA failed during Bay of Pigs or how the FBI used James “Whitey” Bulger as an informant and ignored his own criminal operations or how the DEA has failed several times in South America. The Fast and Furious story is becoming more and more like a Tom Clancy novel, just without competent characters like Jack Ryan, John Clark, and Ding Chavez to pick up the pieces. The government has to take responsibility for its own failures, which they won’t because they’re the government. All they do is promise to make sure the “mistakes won’t happen again,” and then probably try some new operation which fails as spectacularly as the last one does.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz summed up Fast and Furious pretty succinctly.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 2, 2015
It might just be time enact gun control laws for the federal government to keep stupid stuff like this from happening again. Not that government is ever known to follow its own rules. Right OPM?