Digging deeper into the Fast and Furious cover-up reveals initial blame at the US Department of State, direction from the Department of Justice, and a finish at the mercy of a Congressional review.
As part of a Report issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) commencing in October 2010, the State agency criticizes the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for taking down the little guys but not securing enough convictions against the “higher-level traffickers, smugglers, and the ultimate recipients of trafficked guns,” particularly into Mexico.
OIG recommends “implementation of Project Gunrunner, including that ATF should improve its intelligence sharing with other federal law enforcement agencies and that ATF should work with the government of Mexico to improve the rate of successful traces.”
OIG neglects to recognize that many Mexican officials, from the police to the politicians are corrupted drug dealers themselves; and that the FBI and DOJ is ineffective at sharing intelligence with anyone.
Project Gunrunner is a program designed to move and track weapons through straw purchasers into the hands of dangerous Mexican drug cartels. While Federal officials are justified in their assertion that Project Gunrunner stems from a 2005 Laredo, Texas ATF program, a national initiative starting in 2006 led to Operation Fast and Furious.
Operation Fast and Furious was cleared at the highest levels of government with their fingers deliberately pointed at ATF. An agency that successfully prosecutes 1000s of cases annually is now subject to complete the job the Justice Department should have been doing all along.
“In March of 2007, [I began] working in my current post of duty as a Supervisor of the Phoenix Field Office. Within weeks, I was surprised at what I had observed. In my professional opinion, dozens of firearms traffickers were given a pass by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Despite the existence of “probable cause” in many cases, there were no indictments, no prosecutions, and criminals were allowed to walk free. In short, their office policies, in my opinion, helped pave a dangerous path.” (Testimony of Phoenix ATF Special Agent Peter Forcelli June 15, 2011)
Exporting guns from the US is indeed a violation of the Arms Export Control Act, so red flags were raised by “whistleblowers” when ATF agents were expected to circumvent Federal law.
The ATF limited by jurisdictional, Arizona law, could not arrest straw purchasers of firearms who were US citizens and could pass a Brady check, even when they knew the weaponry would be delivered to a Mexican drug cartel.
Special Agent Peter Forcelli continues:
“When I voiced surprise and concern with this tactic to Special Agent in Charge William Newell and ASAC George Gillett, my concerns were dismissed. This operation, which in my opinion endangered the American public, was orchestrated in conjunction with Assistant US Attorney Emory Hurley. I have read documents that indicate that his boss, US Attorney Dennis Burke, also agreed with the direction of this case. Allowing firearms to be trafficked to criminals is a dangerous and deadly strategy.”
“As a career law enforcement officer, who has had to investigate the deaths of police officers, children and others at the hands of armed criminals, I was and continue to be horrified. Truly horrified. I believe that these firearms will continue to turn up at crime scenes, on both sides of the border, for years to come.”
While being questioned by members of Congress, former ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell dodged questions, tripped over answers, and essentially lied under oath to protect a failed, federal law enforcement operation. (Congressional Hearing July 26, 2011)
Rumor has it that Newell’s actions were not at the behest of ATF, but rather approved by the Justice Department who refused to end the program when ATF Acting Director urged that it be terminated.
On September 21, SAC Newell issued a “supplemental statement,” where Newell continued the false notion that ATF agents did not “knowingly allow thousands of weapons to reach criminal hands. Any concerns raised over the program were never voiced to appropriate authorities.” (FoxNews.com)
Now there’s hell to pay for agents who have objected to Operation Fast and Furious and demanded it be stopped early on. Those who publically object to the actions taken by the Federal government in implementing Operation Fast and Furious have been cautioned to keep quiet in their opposition, otherwise suffer the consequences – Gestapo – style. Watch out America!