Friday, June 24, 2011

Project Gunwalker Part VIII

Another Murder Linked to US Gunwalker Case

by Sharyl Attkisson

CBS News has confirmed that ATF Fast and Furious "walked" guns have been linked to the terrorist torture and murder of the brother of a Mexican state attorney general last fall.
Two AK-47 variant rifles were found at the scene of a shoot-out with the murder suspects. Sources say the weapons were part of the controversial ATF program in which agents allowed thousands of guns to fall into the hands of suspects trafficking for Mexico's drug cartels.
This latest revelation complicates the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico since CBS News first reported on the gunwalker scandal last February.
CBS News has learned that U.S. officials called Mexico's attorney general the day before last week's gunwalker hearing to inform her of the link to the murder.
Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, the brother of then-Chihuahua's attorney general Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez, was kidnapped in October.Hooded terrorists surrounding the handcuffed Rodriguez forced him to record a video statement that was widely-distributed in Mexico. His body was found in November.
A bipartisan team of members of Congress heads to Mexico tomorrow as their investigation moves south of the border.
Two AK-47 variant assault rifles that ATF allegedly let "walk" were also found at the murder scene of border patrol agent Brian Terry last December. Others were found in the stash of suspected drug cartel members who shot at a Mexican government helicopter in recent weeks.
The Justice Department Inspector General is investigating allegations related to the gunwalking case.

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The gang that couldn't sting straight

What did Attorney General Eric Holder know -- and when did he know it?
That's the question congressional investigators are asking -- and rightly so -- about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which stands exposed as having perpetrated one of the most bizarre gun-sting operations imaginable.
ATF's acting director, Kenneth Melson, is expected to walk the plank any minute now over the failed stings -- Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.
But while his ouster is a necessary first step, it can't be the last.
Not with so many questions still unanswered.
The idea behind Fast and Furious, which was run in 2009 and 2010, was to track "straw purchaser" gun buyers in Arizona and link them to major weapons dealers south of the border.
What happened instead was that hundreds of high-powered weapons -- including AK-47-style semiautomatic rifles -- wound up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels while ATF agents essentially stood by and watched.
And two of those weapons turned up at the scene of a shootout in Arizona that took the life of Brian Terry, a Customs and Border Protection agent.
"Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest," said ATF agent John Dodson. He told the House Oversight Committee last week that he was ordered to "keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk."
His claims were backed up by two other ATF whistleblowers -- one of whom, Peter Forcelli, said that "to allow a gun to walk is idiotic," adding: "This was a catastrophic disaster."
Gee, ya think?
Holder has ordered the Justice Department inspector general to investigate -- but all available evidence points to Washington, not the local ATF bureau, as being responsible for this fiasco.
"They had to go to Justice to get money, to get FBI agents [and] all of the other people that helped coordinate this and to get the wiretaps they used," said Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
As for Holder, said Issa, "he should have known. It was his obligation to know." And other committee officials insist "it's quite certain that Kenneth Melson was not the principal architect of this plan."
Much remains to be learned about this fiasco -- and an internal Justice Department whitewash won't get the job done.
Issa and his colleagues need to keep digging.

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