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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Congressional Report on Operation Fast And Furious: More Fuel For The Fight To Shrink The Size of Government

To Err is really screw thing up you need government to take it over
-Unknown Conservative Philosopher

One of the arguments against government intrusion into every aspect of our lives is that a government can never run a business as well as private industry.

Lets face it, the government has no competition so there is no incentive to be efficient or to produce a superior product. For example the post office does not close unprofitable post offices because Congress tells them they can't, the same thing with Amtrak and unprofitable train routes. Fannie and Freddie helped to create the housing bubble by supporting loans that were unprofitable but "politically correct."
Another mistake made by government managers and political appointees, is they don't listen to advice from "lower-level" employees, the ones closest to the consumer. Because they are closest to the end result, these are the people who can best predict the unforeseen consequences of a particular program. It was this failing, that allowed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireworks (ATF) to green-light Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the deaths of Americans via Mexican Drug Cartel assassins using American Guns. According to a new report issued by the House Oversight Committee, the plan was executed over the objections of the ATF agents involved.

"Project Gunrunner"  (A.K.A Fast and Furious)Was a project of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireworks  In late 2009, the ATF was alerted to suspicious buys at seven gun shops in the Phoenix area. Suspicious because the buyers paid cash, sometimes brought in paper bags. And they purchased classic "weapons of choice" used by Mexican drug traffickers - semi-automatic versions of military type rifles and pistols. According to news reports several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but Bureau encouraged them to continue.

ATF managers allegedly made a controversial decision: allow most of the weapons on the streets. The idea, they said, was to gather intelligence and see where the guns ended up. Insiders say it's a dangerous tactic called letting the guns, "walk." Yes, that's right, the US government decided--in order to fight the Mexican Drug Cartels, we should arm them and let them keep their weapons once they were used in committing crimes (kind of the same thing we do with the Palestinian terror groups such as Fatah).

The House Oversight Report (embedded below) includes testimony from four (ATF) agents offering firsthand accounts about the Operation Fast and Furious that allowed suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns. Two of the approximately 2,000 guns that ATF let criminals walk away with were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
“ATF agents have shared chilling accounts of being ordered to stand down as criminals in Arizona walked away with guns headed for Mexican drug cartels,” said Rep. Issa. “With the clinical precision of a lab experiment, the Justice Department kept records of weapons they let walk and the crime scenes where they next appeared. To agents’ shock, preventing loss of life was not the primary concern.”

“These agents have risked their lives working for the ATF and they’ve risked their careers by coming forward to speak the truth about a dangerous strategy that was doomed from the start,” Sen. Grassley said. “The report shows the street agents’ perspective on this risky policy to let guns walk. It should help people who are wondering what really happened during Operation Fast and Furious understand why we are continuing to investigate.”

Some of the shocking revelations contained in the report below include:
  • ATF agents are trained to “follow the gun” and interdict weapons whenever possible.Operation Fast and Furious required agents to abandon this training.
  • DOJ relies on a narrow, untenable definition of gunwalking to claim that guns were never walked during Operation Fast and Furious. Agents disagree with this definition, acknowledging that hundreds or possibly thousands of guns were in fact walked. DOJ’s misplaced reliance on this definition does not change the fact that it knew that ATF could have interdicted thousands of guns that were being trafficked to Mexico, yet chose to do nothing. (Maybe they were too busy trying to prosecute the CIA lawyers involved in the enhanced interrogation techniques which helped us nail Bin Laden).
  • ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.
  • Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.
  • Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.” Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.
  • Operation Fast and Furious contributed to the increasing violence and deaths in Mexico. This result was regarded with giddy optimism by ATF supervisors hoping that guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico would provide the nexus to straw purchasers in Phoenix.
  • Jaime Avila was entered as a suspect in the investigation by ATF on November 25, 2009, after purchasing weapons alongside Uriel Patino, who had been identified as a suspect in October 2009. Over the next month and a half, Avila purchased 13 more weapons, each recorded by the ATF in its database within days of the purchase. Then on January 16, 2010, Avila purchased three AK-47 style rifles, two of which ended up being found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The death of Border Agent Brian Terry was likely a preventable tragedy.
  • Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell’s statement that the indictments represent the take-down of a firearms trafficking ring from top to bottom, and his statement that ATF never allowed guns to walk are incredible, false, and a source of much frustration to the agents.
  • Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, DOJ continues to deny that Operation Fast and Furious was ill-conceived and had deadly consequences. The report concluded t the ATF didn't have the means to track the guns and should have known that such tactics would backfire. The report says the ATF work resulted in a case against small-time smugglers, not major traffickers.
    The Death Of Agent  Brian Terry Was Preventable
    Operation Fast and Furious is a perfect example of what happens when government gets too big.  It's objective is not to serve the people but to serve itself.  This lame-brained scheme reads like a lousy buddy movie comedy, where superiors ignore the objections of the their own personnel who know better, but even more importantly they ignore the black and white results of their misguided plan. Allow me to correct that, the results weren't black and white they were red, the blood of Americans, including at least one hero, Border Agent Brian Terry.

    Thank God the ATF doesn't control the Navy Seals, they probably would have sent Bin Laden a box of hand grenades prior to the operation in Pakistan to capture/kill the terrorist leader.

    One doesn't need to be an ATF supervisor to know that this plan, basically arming drug cartels was doomed from the start.  But most  of the time, logic and the federal government are mutually exclusive.

    Protecting the borders however,  is a legitimate responsibility of the federal government (something many of us wish President Obama realized). But if government has a tendency to operate in the manner described above for legitimate responsibility, it is madness to expand its authority beyond its what is called for within the scope of the constitution? Beyond that, a smaller government is easier to manage. If the scope of government was limited,   perhaps the overseers at the top levels of the executive branch would have seen this ridiculous program and stopped it before it escaped from the bureaucratic loony bin.

    ATF Report

    1 comment:

    phlashlite said...

    Seriously, heads need to roll over this starting with the DOJ. If people can go to jail for lying about taking steroids, government personnel should go to jail for lying about running guns to Mexico that resulted in the death of American citizens or our law enforcement members, as well as Mexican citizens in Mexico itself.