The Shame of Operation Gun Runner (Updated!)

This is a story you will be surprised you haven’t heard about, but you will hear much more soon.

In a nutshell, from Yid With a Lid:

… 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.

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…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.”

Then bad things happened:

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.”

Read more of the details at the link.

There are not more details than that because the Justice Dept is refusing to release documents pertaining to “Operation Gunrunner.” House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA.) has sent a letter to the ATF in which he threatened the federal agency with contempt proceedings if it did not produce the documents.

ATF agents were angry that they were being forced to let dangerous guns into the arms of the drug cartels in Mexico. CBS News:

50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: “Negative. Stand down.”

CBS News has been told at least 11 ATF agents and senior managers voiced fierce opposition to the strategy. “It got ugly…” said one. There was “screaming and yelling” says another. A third warned: “this is crazy, somebody is gonna to get killed.”

Sure enough, the weapons soon began surfacing at crime scenes in Mexico – dozens of them sources say – including shootouts with government officials.

But this is the shocking and sickening thing:

It is important to remember that the Obama Administation and the Department of Homeland Security have implied that much of the violence in Mexico is to blame on law abiding gun shop owners who “sell to cartel members” and the Second Amendment, yet continued exposure of Operation Gun Runner shows the government approving the sales reported by shop owners to ATF, giving the green light for weapons to flow freely across the border into dangerous hands, resulting in thousands of innocent deaths in Mexico and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona earlier this year. ATF sat by and watched as known criminals purchased the weapons they needed to carry out lethal operations with no take downs of cartels as a result, all while using law abiding gun shop owners as a cover.

So, if one were very cynical, one would say that the Obama administration throught that if guns were found on drug cartels, then they could blame gun shop owners and call for strict gun control because of it. But just as disturbing is the fact that the Obama administration forced these agents to do things they knew, as experienced ATF agents, were wrong and dangerous.

Remember back in March when Obama wrote an Op-Ed calling for stricter gun control?

To see last month’s hearing where Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned on all this, go here.

These are serious charges. The DOJ needs to come clean and release the documents.

Update: More details here.

Check out the arrogance of this administration. When the ATF agents raised objections to the wisdom and legality of the operation, they were told in an e-mail: “Maybe the Maricopa County Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of $100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day,”

Good grief! It looks like the Justice Dept may simply lied to Congress. Not good.

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