Posted by: Deborah D | March 30, 2011

ATF scandal–walking guns into Mexico.

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ATF scandal—walking guns into Mexico.

When did Barack Obama and Eric Holder know of this Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives project to walk guns into Mexico? A Senate hearing on March 31 could finally shed some light on this awful episode that ended up killing an American border patrol agent with one of ATF’s guns sent into Mexico, allegedly without Mexico’s knowledge. This administration truly knows how to make friends of our allies. This is from T.L. Davis of the American Thinker website.

The Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs might get a little more heated than usual on March 31, 2011. Among the panel members is Kenneth Melson, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

The hearing will be the first opportunity for senators to question the Acting Director of the ATF about events surrounding (Border Patrol) Agent Brian Terry’s death and the Gunwalker Scandal. Gunwalker, also called “Fast and Furious,” was a deviation from Project Gunrunner that only tracked guns being purchased for use in the drug war raging in Mexico. Gunwalker/Fast and Furious actually allowed the guns to “walk” south of the Mexican border without the knowledge or permission of the Mexican government.  Snip —

Sharyl Atkisson of CBS Evening News broke the story which has buzzed around the blogosphere for a long time. After that airing, Mexican authorities estimated that 150 shooting injuries or deaths were linked to guns walked over the border.

On March 13th Univision, a Spanish language network, broadcast two interviews, one with John Dodson, the subject of Sharyl Atkisson’s first report on the growing scandal. The other interview was with Rene Jaquez, the former ATF attaché to Mexico. Both men reported knowledge of the operation and Dodson claimed that it had been ongoing since at least the end of 2009…

Earlier this week Barack Obama sat down with Univision’s star anchor Jorge Ramos and was asked the direct question: “The Mexican Government complains that they were not informed about the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation (Gunwalker). Did you authorize this operation and was President Calderon properly informed about it?”

President Obama responded quickly and firmly stating that neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the operation. This was Barack Obama’s equivalent to “I’m not a crook” statement. The question is not whether the President authorized it; it is when he knew about it. Did the President of the United States know about Project Gunwalker when he slapped the back of President Calderon and told him that they were working to stop the flow of guns, when in fact the operation was engaged in just the opposite?

…At one moment (Obama) tried to claim that the American government has “too many moving parts” for him to keep up with things like Project Gunwalker. It was a thinly veiled attempt to divert the conversation, but it left Obama looking as if the injuries and deaths of at least 150 Mexican nationals didn’t rate his attention.  However, that fact is getting a lot of attention in Mexico where the PGR, or the Mexican Attorney General’s office is seeking information on U.S. agents who might have committed crimes by facilitating the movement of arms into Mexico.

In an interview with a Mexican reporter, former ATF Mexican attaché, Darren Gil, said he had gone to his supervisor many times expressing his desire to inform his Mexican counterparts about this operation.

In the interview, Darren Gil revealed that when he asked his supervisor about Fast and Furious he was told that “not only is the director (of the ATF) aware of it, but the Department of Justice is aware of it.”  Sharyl Attkisson asks: “They didn’t want you to inform your Mexican counterparts?”  Gil: “That’s correct.”  Snip —

So, if the “Department of Justice is aware of it” – doesn’t that mean Eric Holder? Or has the ATF and/or the Justice Department become a rogue agency? If not a rogue agency, then Holder must have known and Obama must have known. Perhaps the acting director, Melson, will be able to answer some questions in tomorrow’s hearing.

Kenneth Melson as the Acting Director must have some of the answers that Eric Holder and boss Barack Obama refuse to address. Among the sitting committee members are Republican Marco Rubio of Florida as Ranking Member and Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico, either one of whom are in a position to ask some tough questions. While New Mexico has not been featured in the border violence, it is doubtless that some of the estimated 2,500 weapons allowed to “walk” into Mexico have impacted the state that shares a border with Mexico and is only miles from the cartel hotspot of Ciudad Juarez…

Here are a few of the questions Davis would like asked and answered:

…Since the president has disavowed the authorization of Fast and Furious for himself and Eric Holder who then authorized the project? With millions of taxpayer funds going into this project for the past two years, when was its existence revealed to the President and the Attorney General? Is it typical for the Director of the BATFE to engage in international activity without the knowledge of the Attorney General, the President of the United States or the Secretary of State?…

Read all of Davis here:

Although CBS gets the credit for breaking the story on television, they would not have been able to do so without the help of Washington Examiner’s  David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsy Street Irregulars’ blog who worked together and broke it online. You can read them here:

You can read a “journalist’s guide” to the story and its timeline here:

This story is so ridiculous it doesn’t seem possible that it could be true, but it is. Is it total incompetence on the ATF’s part? Why would they “walk” guns across the border and then not follow up? Here’s Jim Geraghty of National Review Online along with Cam Edwards of the NRA.

The phenomenon of “gunwalking” appears to be a standard sting-operation tactic that in this case has gone wildly awry. The idea was that federal authorities would approve firearms purchases that seemed suspicious, and then monitor the buyers to see where the guns ended up. But the scale of the purchases was massive, and the agents on the ground kept anxiously waiting for the order to stop monitoring and intervene, according to stunning accounts from ATF agents and documentation uncovered by CBS News and other sources. As early as March 2010, ATF agents were finding the “monitored” firearms in the hands of suspected criminals in Mexico. One ATF e-mail reported,” Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,” including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.” Snip –

An e-mail from a group supervisor told ATF agents who were upset about the operation’s risks, “Whether you care or not, people of rank and authority at HQ are paying attention to this case and they also believe we are doing what they envisioned the Southwest Border Groups doing.”

Even the gun shops themselves were wary of selling the firearms; the purchasers were paying with cash out of paper bags. But the sellers were assured by the ATF that they should go forward with the transactions. One of the purchases was for 575 semiautomatic rifles for “personal use.”…  Snip –

With the president himself talking about the need to stop guns from crossing the border, why would the ATF allow just that to happen? Why would they take such an enormous risk of harming innocent life in both Mexico and the United States, to say nothing of risking exactly the sort of embarrassment and outrage that the current revelations are generating? What made this operation worth overruling the objections of the agents on the ground monitoring the transactions?

Something went horribly awry in this Gunwalker episode. Was it just the normal right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing that is typical in a large bureaucracy? Or was it something else? For an anti-gun president, vice-president and attorney general – they certainly were very lackadaisical when it came to guns on the streets of our neighbor to the South. Did this help or hurt the cause of ending the drug cartels’ hold on Mexico? With the battle in Mexico worsening by the day, I can’t imagine it’s done much good.

Read all of Geraghty and Edwards here:


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  1. The thing that went most horribly wrong was the election of Obama as President of the United States.

    • You won’t get any argument there. What a catastrophe! And the larger catastrophe will be if the idiots that voted for him vote for him again. That’s called suicide by stupidity.

  2. this is not a big mistake or anyother accident. . it is a payback to the Drug Cartell for a favor in the past. . . tell the damn truth. .. Was there a tracking devise attached to these weapons where by they could be tracked. . . Hell No. . . Washington DC in in bed with the Mexican Drug Cartell. . . TELL THE DAMN TRUTH

    • I think “truth” is a foreign concept to this present administration, William. You sound as appalled as I feel about this incident in particular (but in general, I’m just as appalled.) Thanks for your comment.

  3. It looks like this scandal is back in the news. The administration is now blaming this on the temp head of the ATF. Probably in order to get some anti-gun hack nominated.

    God, hurry up Jan 20th 2013…

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