Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Operation Fast and Furious XLIX

Government brooks no ‘Gunwalker’ competition

by David Codrea

“Austin woman who smuggled guns to Mexico gets 30 years,” American-Statesman reports.
Aurelia Ochoa Hernandez will be going away for a long time:
“Calling it reprehensible that American citizens would sell firearms to the drug cartels that continue to kill innocent people in Mexico, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Monday sentenced the woman authorities said led an Austin-to-Mexico gun-smuggling ring to 30 years in prison.
It looks like she had a nice little family business going. Her son was paying straw buyers. She was walking…scratch that…driving the guns to Mexico to a Los Zetas buyer. Another of her sons and two grandsons were also convicted.

Question: What is it she did that our government was not sanctioning and facilitating in “Project Gunwalker”? 30 years is some serious sentencing. Multiple convictions show intent to punish all those responsible.
Is it any wonder we see the Justice Department digging in its heels to obstruct Congressional investigations? Is it any wonder we see supporters of the administration in the legislature do everything in their power to redirect the focus to one of more “gun control”? Is it any wonder that other agencies and departments want to keep scrutiny of their involvement at bay? Is it any wonder the Fourth Estate Fifth Columnists are marshalling their resources to attack the investigators?
We’re dealing with desperate people who are capable of…well, “Project Gunwalker.” We’re dealing with people who equate collateral human deaths with broken eggs
Two more Congressional hearings are planned before year-end.  Fine and good—and the witness lists should tell us much.  But it’s also past time for a truly independent prosecutor, and not to rely on an Office of Inspector General that showed deliberate indifference to the whistleblowers—that alone should make those OIG decision-makers investigation subjects.
We’re supposed to be a nation of equal justice for all.  If a private gunwalker merits severe punishment, how much more do obstructionists sworn to uphold the law, who betrayed their official positions of power, engaged in conspiracy, and callously allowed people to die in order to advance an agenda?
If that does not merit a complete and independent investigation to uncover the whole truth, then there is no justice in this country and the rule of law is dead. What explanation can there be for those opposing this except that they want that outcome?
Also see:
Note to newcomers to this story: “Project Gunrunner” is the name ATF assigned to its Southwest Border Initiative to interdict gun smuggling to Mexico. “Project Gunwalker” is the name I assigned to the scandal after allegations by agents that monitored guns were allowed to fall into criminal hands on both sides of the border through a surveillance process termed “walking” surfaced.

Our View: Past time for answers on Operation Fast and Furious

The Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review

 It’s well past time the American public receive clear answers on Operation Fast and Furious.
At this juncture, after months of a congressional investigation, it appears Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are committed to hoping an extended silence will allow the entire scandal to simply go away.

Each time law enforcement officials recover another of the thousands of guns that were allowed to be transported to members of Mexican drug cartels, the failure of this operation is again brought to light.
Fast and Furious, which was the Arizona version of a similar investigation called Gunrunner in Texas, was conceived and approved somewhere by someone around October 2009, and was tasked to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to allow “straw man” gun purchases in the U.S. and track the high-powered weapons to their expected destination, Mexico’s violent drug cartels.
What has happened is nothing short of a national disgrace.
Someone at the federal level, we still have no specific information on whom or which agency, allowed these investigations to proceed without intervening before the weapons left the United States.
What has resulted is the death of two federal agents, shot with guns traced back to these investigations, and the suspected murder of hundreds of Mexicans caught in the middle of the violent drug wars.
Even as Justice Department officials have stalled and stonewalled, what new details have emerged are alarming.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has been a leader in demanding information on this fiasco, as he should on behalf of his border-state constituents. Yes, it’s possible he sees partisan advantage in going after a Democratic administration, but it doesn’t make him wrong.
Until we get the extent of this failure, and find who is accountable, the investigation should continue with urgency.

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