Project Gunrunner began in 2005 as a pilot project in Laredo, Texas by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). It’s original intent was to stop the flow of drugs and firearms across the border and in the process, control the level of violence by depriving the Mexican drug cartels of weapons.
The mission of this project has apparently “changed.”
You see, like all well-intended government programs left in the hands of bureaucrats, Project Gunrunner is now embedded in a web of controversy. There are allegations that since February 2008, one of the operations within Project Gunrunner- “Fast and Furious”- has been involved in what appears to be a huge scandal, one that has gone unreported by most of the mainstream media- with the exception of CBS News.
Here’s what you need to know….
According to sources within the government bureau, ATF has permitted and facilitated the “straw purchase” of firearms by drug cartels, allowing and encouraging these traffickers to transport them from the United States into Mexico.
Our government is allowing guns to be sold to members of drug cartels? Our government is encouraging these guns to be transferred across the border into Mexico?
A few agents within the ATF -using the “Whistleblower Act” to grant them immunity from prosecution- are now coming forward to tell their story. CBS News broke this story when they were able to speak to six veteran ATF agents and some of the executives involved. The agents asked to remain anonymous because they fear retaliation. Here’s what they had to say (emphasis mine):
In late 2009, 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.
Sources tell CBS News several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but ATF encouraged them to continue.
Jaime Avila was one of the suspicious buyers. ATF put him in its suspect database in January of 2010. For the next year, ATF watched as Avila and other suspects bought huge quantities of weapons supposedly for “personal use.” They included 575 AK-47 type semi-automatic rifles.
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.”
An important part of this story lies in the fact that as of January, 2003, the ATF has been under the control of the Department of Justice.
Yup folks, Eric Holder, our Attorney General is in the middle of this controversy.
This is the same attorney general who has instructed his department to ignore the intimidation of the Black Panthers toward voters on election day, the same attorney general who instructed his department to ignore all “black on white” voting complaints, the same attorney general who has unlawfully decided to no longer enforce certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, the same attorney general who, in 2008, “urged” the Supreme Court to uphold Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban.
The same attorney general who challenged Arizona’s controversial immigration law in court, stating that it is “preempted” by federal law- but refuses to enforce that federal law.
So our Department of Justice ALLOWED and encouraged gun shops to sell guns to drug traffickers so they could “follow” them and “gather intelligence”?
Two of these assault rifles were found next to the body of American border agent, Brian Terry when he was slaughtered in Mexico last December. The serial numbers on the rifles matched those of the guns which were sold to Jaime Avila. We’ve yet to hear from the Justice Department whether or not a bullet from one of these rifles actually killed Terry. Avila and some of his buddies have now been arrested, yet none have been charged with the murder.
There’s more. CBS also reports this:
On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn’t want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF’s watchful eye. “The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That’s how many guns were sold – including some 50-calibers they let walk.”
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.”
In December, 2010, before this scandal broke and just a few days before the death of Brian Terry, the Washington Post accused one of the gun store outlets in Houston, Carter’s Country, of illegally selling guns to members of the drug cartels. The next day, Carter Country’s lawyer, Texas criminal defense attorney, Dick Deguerin, took the story to task, airing what appears to be the truth:
“Let me tell you something about Carter’s Country. They have been co-operating with ATF from the get go.” Deguerin says the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms asked Carter’s Country to complete transactions, even when sales people strongly suspected the weapons were headed to Mexican drug gangs. “They were told to go through with what they considered to be questionable sales. They were told to go through with sales of three or more assault rifles at the same time or five or more 9 millimeter guns at the same time or a young Hispanic male paying in cash. It’s all profiling, but they went through with it,” said Deguerin.
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa was alerted to this Gunrunner scandal shortly thereafter. He initiated an investigation by sending a letter to ATF on January 27, 2011, and again on January 31, 2011.
ATF denied all allegations. Grassley, not content with their reply, then responded with documentation supporting his allegations directly to Eric Holder on Feb. 9 and again in Feb. 16, 2011. A formal briefing of ATF was called by Grassley on Feb. 10. ATF refused to answer anything specific about the actions in question.
There are now five separate but connected accusations against ATF and DOJ officials in what has been dubbed “Project Gunwalker“:
First, that they intentionally allowed to perhaps as many as 3,000 firearms “walked” across the U.S. border into Mexico.
Second, that they instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.
Third, that they intentionally withheld information about U.S.-sanctioned gun smuggling from the Mexican government.
Fourth, that one of the guns ATF allowed or helped to be smuggled into Mexico was involved in the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.
Fifth, that they are, now in tandem with the FBI, involved in covering up all ATF and DOJ culpability.
When questioned about the actions of ATF during a Senate Appropriations Committee last week, Eric Holder boldly stated that “letting guns ‘walk’ is not something that is acceptable,” adding that “Guns are different than drugs or money when we are trying to follow their trail. That is not acceptable.”
I guess we should be thankful that he knows the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to tell…
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security and the woman in charge of our border, denied any knowledge of this scandal.
Barack Obama also denied knowledge, claiming that the U.S. has “a pretty big government” with “a lot of moving parts”. Funny, but he also “didn’t know” Van Jones was a communist, Wright was preaching anti-Americanism, Ayers was a domestic terrorist, or that his aunt was illegally in this country.
Yes folks, the “smartest president in history” is once again left in the dark.
Coincidentally, after the Tucson shooting of Rep. Giffords, Obama DID mention that with all the violence on the border, we might need to tighten up the Second Amendment just a bit- because it seems that guns, especially assault rifles, are GETTING INTO THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS.
He failed to mention that the DOJ was compliant in this activity.
Meanwhile, Obama and his buddy, Cass Sunstein are concocting a plan that will limit the sale of guns to Americans, putting more constraints on the Second Amendment.
Our President creates the problem and then legislates a way to fix it.
And along the way, he steals our God-given rights.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
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