ATF Whistleblower Sheds Light on 'Operation Thor'

Townhall Media

Retired ATF Assistant Director Peter Forcelli is back with me on today's Bearing Arms Cam & Co with details on Sen. Chuck Grassley's investigation into Operation Thor; a multi-agency effort to combat cartel weapons trafficking that was abruptly and inexplicably shut down by the Biden administration. We also get into last week's fatal ATF raid on the home of a Little Rock airport executive who was under investigation for selling guns without a license and the family's questions about whether the early morning raid was truly necessary.  


As Forcelli explains it, Operation Thor was meant to stop weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico, and by all accounts the effort was fairly successful. But for reasons the Biden administration has yet to explain, the program was suddenly halted in 2022. Forcelli says Grassley's office reached out to him a few months ago asking him to debrief some of the staff who are digging into Operation Thor and get them up to speed on previous ATF ops like Fast & Furious as well as explaining how above-board trafficking interdiction efforts typically work.

"So I sat down with them some time ago and explained what happened back then," Forcelli tells Bearing Arms. 

"Now they obviously didn't tell me everything that's going on in their investigation, because that's not how it works, but they seemed to be focused on why that program [Operation Thor] got defunded, how the cartels are securing weapons, which still involves a degree of straw purchasing here in the United States where folks are trafficking those straw-purchased weapons south, but obviously they're still looking at other ways the cartels are acquiring weapons."

According to Forcelli, the senator's staff appears to be looking beyond just ATF in their investigation. 

"In reading between the lines I got the impression that they were also looking at some of the decisions made by State Department, possibly as high up as the ambassador to Mexico. I know they have whistleblowers who have come forward. I do know who one of them is; he had a very important position in ATF outside of the United States, and there are some other agents who are talking to them who were involved in Operation Thor who thought it was inappropriate that the program got defunded because it was somewhat successful." 


If the State Department truly did insert itself into the decision to defund Operation Thor, that raises some serious and troubling questions. We already know that the Obama and Biden administrations previously halted investigations into the alleged ties between the Mexican drug cartels and current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, supposedly in the name of international diplomacy. Is it possible that the Biden administration brought the hammer down on Operation Thor at the request of the Obrador administration? 

"It's not a secret that Obrador is alleged to have some ties to the Sinaloa cartel," Forcelli said, adding that Obrador's brother recently filmed a video denouncing those claims while sitting in the Sinaloa-controlled city of Mazatlan. 

Obrador is also currently suing many U.S. gun makers to the tune of $10 billion, accusing them of intentionally fueling cartel violence. Could it be that Operation Thor was going to show that Mexican officials in the government and armed forces are using their positions to help arm the cartel by diverting legal sales to Mexican law enforcement and the military? That would completely undercut the litigation the Mexican government is pursuing, and Forcelli doesn't discount that as a possible motive behind the shutdown of Operation Thor.

"I have a big problem with this Mexico lawsuit, because I know a few things. Number one is I know that in Fast & Furious there were members of the industry who did not want to sell to people who were trafficking guns to Mexico who were told specifically to do so by federal prosecutors and ATF agents, including senior level executives personnel."


Forcelli added that he doesn't believe the Biden administration wants to take a hard stand with the Obrador administration, pointing both to Operation Thor as well as the current situation on our southern border. 

"I do think there's a possibility these investigations were thwarted because we're taking this soft stance on the cartels and on Obrador because we don't want to offend our neighbors to the south, but that's not in the best interest of our country." 

No, it most certainly isn't, and I would argue it's not in the best interest of those Mexican citizens who are living under the thumb of a multi-national criminal syndicate either. 

As for Forcelli's thoughts on the ATF raid in Little Rock last week, I'll encourage you to check out the full conversation in the video window below. Suffice it to say that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about why the ATF decided to conduct this armed raid while the target of their search was still at home instead of taking him into custody during a traffic stop or once he was at work, and Forcelli is among those who note the agency had other options available to them. 

I'll also add that Forcelli also shares my concerns that the ATF's push to dramatically expand who is "engaged in the business" of selling firearms is going to lead to big problems going forward. Honestly, I was kind of hoping that Forcelli would tell me I'm crazy for worrying, but that definitely wasn't the case, as you'll hear on today's show. 


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