Thursday, September 15, 2011

Operation Fast and Furious LVIII

Fast and Furious? More Like ‘Dumb and Dumberer’

by Michael Angley

The more I read about the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious, the more furious I get, and fast. It was a breathtakingly insane concept from the start, so obviously misguided on its surface alone. The idea that we would conduct a “reverse-sting” operation and intentionally allow weapons to fall into the hands of criminals and drug cartels is mind numbing.  The one and only, guaranteed-to-happen outcome…that these weapons actually would be used to commit crimes – to kill people – had to have been known in advance. That fact alone is a crime.
The only good thing about the operation was that its creators chose a movie title to name it. That decision lends itself to all sorts of comparisons, but the one I find most apt is the 2003 movie, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. In our present case, we could rename it Dumb and Dumberer: When Barry (Obama) Met Eric (Holder).
There’s a scene in the movie in which Lloyd informs Harry that he just traded their van for a scooter. Harry looks at him and says, “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!”
I can picture Eric Holder in the Oval Office advising President Obama that he just approved flooding the criminal underground with weapons (you know, those things liberals detest). Barack Obama scratches his chin just before saying that exact same movie line in response.
It would be hilarious if the issues involved in Fast and Furious weren’t so serious and sobering. Some 2,000 weapons purchased in the Phoenix, AZ area were “allowed” to cross into Mexico while the ATF looked the other way. The Justice Department’s sterling idea was to track the guns to see how they flowed to cartels and criminals. But the ATF couldn’t even do that right, and they lost sight of scores of weapons.
Some of these weapons turned up at crime scenes in both Mexico and the United States, and in the most disturbing incident, two of the F&F guns were found at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered south of Tucson in December 2010. Fox News reported recently that a third F&F gun had been found at the crime scene, contradicting federal officials who insisted there were only two.
The Terry murder was not the only U.S.-based crime in which F&F guns have been found. Arizona authoritiesrevealed that two F&F guns were found in the possession of two Mexican men who assaulted Phoenix detectives in 2010.
The Justice Department apparently forgot to mention that crime. One wonders what else Harry and Lloyd have failed to tell the American people and Congressional investigators. I suspect the stonewalling has everything to do with the fact that Operation Fast and Furious began and continues under the Obama administration, so they cannot blame President George W. Bush for this one.
Operation Fast and Furious is an outrage – frankly, it’s a criminal act. While it is important for Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley to continue their F&F investigations, perhaps it’s time for a Special Prosecutor to be appointed. Someone has blood on his hands, and it’s time to turn up the heat. With the full force of a criminal probe, we need to ensure real justice prevails and that those who knew about and approved of this murderous criminal enterprise are made to account for their actions.

3 more murders linked to Gunwalker

by Sharyl Attisson
Weapons linked to ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.
According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because "ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation."
When added to the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the U.S., the newly-revealed murders in Mexico bring the total number of deaths linked to Fast and Furious to four.
According to the Justice Department letter:
One AK-47 type assault rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered Nov. 14, 2009 in Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico after the Mexican military rescued a kidnap victim.
On July 1, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious suspects were recovered in Sonora, Mexico after a shootout between cartels. Two murders were reported in the incident using the weapons.
On July 26, 2010, a giant .50 caliber Barrett rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered in Durango, Mexico after apparently having been fired. No further details of the incident were given.
On Aug. 13, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by a Fast and Furious target were recovered in Durango, Mexico after a confrontation between the Mexican military and an "armed group."
On Nov. 14, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious targets were recovered in Chihuahua, Mexico after  "the kidnapping of two individuals and the murder of a family member of a Mexican public official." Sources tell CBS News they believe this is a reference to a case we previously reported on: the terrorist kidnapping, torture and murder of Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the brother of then-attorney general Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. The terrorists released video of Rodriguez before his death, in handcuffs surrounded by hooded gunmen.
On May 27, 2011, three AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious targets were recovered in Jalisco, Mexico after having been fired. No other details of the incident were provided, but the date and location match with another incident previously reported by CBS News. On May 27 near Jalisto, cartel members fired upon a Mexican government helicopter, forcing it to make an emergency landing. According to one law enforcement source, 29 suspected cartel members were killed in the attack.

Gus Bilirakis Calls Out Eric Holder on 'Fast and Furious'

by Kevin Derby

From his perch on the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Florida Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis is demanding answers from the Obama administration regarding the “Fast and Furious” program in which the federal government knowingly allowed criminals to obtain weapons -- which resulted in the death of at least two federal agents.

Bilirakis sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding to know about the roles played by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)  and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the failed program.
"It appears that the DOJ and ATF acted in an extremely misguided manner and that this reprehensible program has resulted in the loss of human life and property," Bilirakis said in a statement on Wednesday. "To date, the administration has not cooperated with this investigation, but we must get to the bottom of this problem, and that is why I will continue to investigate who knew what about these gun-walking schemes."


Hot Seat: McCain Grills Napolitano, Mueller on Botched Gun Sting

by Fred Lucas

FBI Director Robert Mueller believes the FBI did not play a role in the botched gun-walking sting operation along the Mexican border known as Operation Fast and Furious, he said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, at the same hearing, also denied knowing about the matter until after the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in December 2010.
Operation Fast and Furious was run by the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It began in late 2009, allowing straw purchasers to illegally buy guns with the intent of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the operation was halted in December 2010 after two weapons from the program were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked about the matter during a hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Mueller said the FBI is investigating the Terry murder but affirmed that the case is being looked at in detail by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
“I am not privy to what the inspector general’s investigation shows at this juncture,” Mueller said before the committee on Tuesday. “Our concern is the extent to which there was FBI involvement, and I have reason to believe there was not FBI involvement in the operation.”
A congressional investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee confirmed that the ATF led the operation but that it also involved the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“The ATF was the principle agency involved,” Mueller said.
Still, McCain asked that Mueller supply him with more information that the FBI might have about the operation.
“It would be nice if you could get back with me,” McCain said. “But we’ve got a dead Border Patrol agent. We have a situation that at least appeared at the time was out of control. It’s been now a number of weeks since this happened, and you’d like to get back to me?”
Napolitano told McCain she did not know about Operation Fast and Furious until after the murder of Agent Terry.
“I’m sure you’re familiar Madame Secretary with Operation Fast and Furious,” McCain asked at the hearing. “Given the high level of information-sharing between departments, were you made aware of the operation when it was underway?”
Napolitano said, “No.”
McCain followed, “When was the first time you or someone in DHS was made aware of the operation?”
Napolitano answered, “Senator, I would have to go back and check. It was, I think, somewhere around the time of the death of our agent in Southern Arizona.”
‘Castaway’ inmate asks reps to investigate Florida ‘gunwalking’ allegations

by David Codrea

Hugh Crumpler III, the federal inmate incarcerated at a facility in Lexington, KY, for illegal firearms sales, has written letters to Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Sen. Marco Rubio requesting they look into “Operation Castaway,” an investigation the Justice Department has characterized as an anti-gun trafficking operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives’ Tampa Field Division.
Allegations from a credible source of walked guns making their way to Honduras were relayed in an exclusive joint report by Gun Rights Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars in July, with the caveat:
Whether the allegations of our source refer to the ongoing Operation Castaway remains at this hour unclear, but our source is certain that O'Brien has allowed the "walking" of straw-purchased firearms to Honduras using the same failed strategy as the Phoenix Field Division's Operation Fast and Furious.
A comment poster on Clean Up ATF defending Tampa operations adamantly denies any gunwalking was a part of Operation Castaway, however, the original source for the allegations reported in July still maintains walking occurred, whether part of Castaway or not.
Crumpler remains just as adamant. “Operation Castaway was a similar operation in Florida, at the same time, that desired, wanted and allowed firearms to be cast away to Honduras,” he writes.
See the sidebar slideshow accompanying this article for Crumpler’s letters to this reporter, Rep. Bilirakis and Sen. Rubio.  As per established practice, no representations as to accuracy and credibility are being made other than they are the words of Mr. Crumpler.   
UPDATE: The press secretary for Rep. Bilirakis sent out this press release today:
Washington, DC (September 14, 2011) – For months, the Department of Justice has dodged questions related to its involvement in gun walking programs such as “Fast and Furious” in Arizona.
After reports that gun walking programs may have existed throughout the country, and possibly in the Tampa area, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-09) began questioning the involvement and intent of this flawed and dangerous program.
Bilirakis, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, has again written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers to pressing questions about the involvement in and knowledge of these programs by the DOJ and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“It appears that the DOJ and ATF acted in an extremely misguided manner and that this reprehensible program has resulted in the loss of human life and property,” Bilirakis said. “To date, the administration has not cooperated with this investigation, but we must get to the bottom of this problem and that is why I will continue to investigate who knew what about these gun walking schemes.”
Numerous reports have shown that the administration knowingly allowed weapons to get into the hands of dangerous criminals, resulting in the death of at least two federal agents. The U.S. is also unable to account for thousands of weapons it allowed to pass into the hands of criminals.
Related stories:
Also see:
  • A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker' Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart Five and Part Six for a complete list with links of independent investigative reporting and commentary done to date by Sipsey Street Irregulars and Gun Rights Examiner.
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.

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