Gunrunner: Cash For Cartels
The funneling of thousands of American guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels in the operation known as Fast and Furious was not a botched sting operation or the result of bureaucratic incompetence. It was not designed to interdict gun trafficking, but to facilitate it.
We now know that it involved not just the use of straw buyers, but also agents of the federal government purchasing weapons with taxpayer money, ordering the licensed dealers to conduct the sales off the books, then calling off surveillance of the gun traffickers and refusing to interdict the transfer of the weapon or arrest the people involved.
According to documents obtained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), agent John Dodson was ordered to buy semiautomatic Draco pistols and was provided a letter by ATF group supervisor David Voth authorizing FFLs (federal firearms licensees) to sell Dodson the guns without filling out the required form.
A copy of the letter obtained by David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner tells dealers to "accept this letter in lieu of completing an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of four (4) CAI, Model Draco, 7.62X39 mm pistols, by Special Agent John Dodson" to be used "in the furtherance of the performance of his official duties."
Scribbled on the letter is this note: "Picked up guns 6/10/10. Paid cash."
According to Fox News, Dodson then sold the guns to known illegal buyers who took them to a stash house. Voth disapproved Dodson's request for 24-hour surveillance and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office.
Dodson stayed behind, against orders. A week later, when a vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons to their ultimate destination, he called for an interdiction team to move in, seize the weapons and arrest the traffickers. Voth refused, and the guns disappeared without surveillance.
Again, Fast and Furious was no botched sting operation. The ATF simply didn't "lose track" of thousands of weapons. We believe this was a planned and premeditated attempt to further the administration's gun-control agenda and its claim that violence in Mexico was our fault.
Voth was "jovial, if not giddy, but just delighted about" such guns showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, according to Dobson's testimony before Rep. Darrel Issa's House Oversight Committee.
"Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals — this was the plan," Dodson testified to the panel. "It was so mandated."
Another ATF agent, Olindo James Casa, said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms."
Fast and Furious let members of the Sinaloa Cartel buy in excess of 1,900 weapons over a one-year period starting in October 2009, according to a document dated last January. What information we have comes from ATF documents and agent testimony. The Justice Department has stonewalled Congress on this issue.
Guns linked to Fast and Furious were found at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel just 10 miles from the Mexican border near Nogales, Ariz.
Asked by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren about ATF's insistence that this was just a botched sting, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley responded: "It's a lie — it's a lie — and just to make things clear for your listeners: The ATF ordered this ATF agent to purchase these guns and in turn sell them, and supposedly track them.
"But he was a lone wolf in the operation — they wouldn't give him any help for 24-hour surveillance.
"There's something sinister going on. They're doing everything they can to avoid the issue; they want to stonewall us and string us along," Grassley said of the Justice Department's statements and lack of promised cooperation.
Attorney General Eric Holder's "I know nothing" imitation of TV's Sgt. Schultz long ago evaporated with the discovery of a speech he gave to local authorities in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 2, 2009, giving credit for Gunrunner to himself and the Obama administration.
Holder told the audience: "Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner, DEA is adding 16 new positions on the border, as well as mobile enforcement teams, and the FBI is creating a new intelligence group focusing on kidnapping and extortion."
A two-year-old C-SPAN video shows Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who would resign nine months later after less than a year's service, telling reporters at a Justice Department briefing of major policy initiatives to fight the Mexican drug cartels.
"The president has directed us to take action to fight these cartels," Ogden began, "and Attorney General Holder and I are taking several new and aggressive steps as part of the administration's comprehensive plan."
Ogden said the administration's plan, at the president's direction, included the ATF's "increasing its efforts by adding 37 new employees in three new offices, using $10 million in Recovery Act funds and redeploying 100 personnel to the Southwest border in the next 45 days to fortify its Project Gunrunner," of which Operation Fast and Furious would be a part.
The mainstream media have shown little interest in this matter, salivating instead over the recent execution of cop killer Troy Davis while ignoring the government-run operation that killed agent Brian Terry.
Fast and Furious should spark our pursuit of the truth, even if the trail leads to the Oval Office.