Running Guns (your tax dollars at work)

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The Los Angeles Times reported (quoted below – LINK) that the ATF agents assigned to the OPERATION GUNRUNNER were in a “state of panic”. The LA Times quotes from the Congressional probe being conducted by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA).

Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told congressional investigators that there was “a state of panic” that the guns used in the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in January and two U.S. agents in Mexico a month later might have been sold under the U.S. surveillance operation.

“I used the word anxiety. The term I used amongst my peers is pucker factor,” Larry Alt, special agent with ATF’s Phoenix field division, told investigators preparing a joint staff report for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The report will be released Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

(LA Times – continued) Neither of those shootings was ultimately linked to the “Fast and Furious” probe, though two weapons sold to a suspect under surveillance were found at the scene of the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Ariz., in December.

At least 195 of the weapons have been traced to Mexico, found mainly at crime scenes, but ATF agents quoted in the report said more than 1,700 firearms were trafficked “to known criminals or cartel elements south of the border and elsewhere” under the operation.

“I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being OK with this,” Agent John Dodson told committee interviewers.

I hope that Agent Dodson is of retirement age. Hell hath no fury like a US Attorney General who is hiding the ball and is outed by an ATF Agent.
Congressmen Issa and Grassley have been butting heads with ATF supervisors and senior officials at the Justice Department who signed off on the Project Gunrunner operation. The two agencies, the Republican congressmen say, have refused to provide documents about the origin, direction and supervision of the operation.

Post Script: This just in! (LINK)

Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

* The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
* A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.
* A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

8 thoughts on “Running Guns (your tax dollars at work)

  1. Where I come from, I'm always the advocate for 'letting it walk', being patient, following the money, etc…and I don't see how this operation was a good idea to anybody. There have to be agents screaming "I told you so!"

    I can imagine agents were sitting around, a younger one says, "Can we put a tracking device on the guns, and see where they go?", and an older one says, "Good idea! Wait, what's a 'tracking device?", yadda, yadda, yadda…the US Government is pushing guns into Mexico…

  2. The only possible reason I can perceive for DOJ stonewalling on OP.F&F is that the chain of decision goes straight to the top, without even a pause in the office of the Attorney General.

    Impeachable offense? Were I betting man, that's where my money would be….

  3. Add it to the long list of impeachable offenses. Obama will be voted out of office first, though, I predict.

    How do the actions of Obama/Holder differ from people in office who are secretly enemies of America?

  4. I think the ATF has out lived it's usefulness. Sounds like a great way to cut the Federal Budget to me.

  5. Race – It's one thing to make undercover purchases of illegal firearms followed (at some point by an arrest). It's quite another to peddle thousands of firearms to drug cartels — because there's no doubt what's going to happen. ATF should have known better – and because it goes to the TOP, it gives one pause… I think the first comment earns a free gun. All you have to do is drive to Juarez, Mexico and I'm sure you'll get one.

    LA – You're on the money here. I don't think that it goes to Obama, but I'm sure we'll see Eric Holder's name on the paperwork. The Obama regime has never been slow to throw people under the bus — unless it paints the top dog 'red'.

    Opus – Yes, it's simply another in the daily outrages in the ObamaNation.

    Odie – ATF got its start during prohibition, hunting moonshiners. It might have done a good job hunting stills. I've worked with a lot of the agents over the years and have no problem with them personally, but I think you're right. It's simply one more alphabet agency that doesn't live up to its charter.

  6. Yet another agency, with expanded power and no oversight, that's been allowed to define its own sphere of power.

    I pity the ATF agents who will get thrown under the bus, run over, and then run over again in order to protect who is really at the top of this mess.

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