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One of the duties of the Bureau Of Alcohol Tobacco And Firearms (BATF, or ATF) is to stop the use of illegal firearms. The ATF's own mission statesment states the following:
We are ATF. A unique law enforcement agency in the United States Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology.
To say the ATF strayed from it's mission statement when it implemented Operation Fast And Furious (aka, Project Gunwalker) is more than an understatement. The ATF turned it's mission statement on it's head. In case you haven't heard, here's Operation Fast And Furious in a nutshell:
During [Fast And Furious]...federal investigators "wanted to follow the flow of guns from the U.S. into the hands of deadly Mexican drug cartels." So, in what's become known as "gunwalking," they monitored illegal gun purchases — but allowed the buyers to walk away with the weapons.
And how did the ATF "monitor" those guns ? When the guns the ATF allowed to be transported illegally to Mexico were later used in crimes either in the U.S. or Mexico, the ATF would know. That's a pretty far cry from the ATF's mission of "protect(ing) our communities from criminal organizations and the illegal use and trafficking of firearms". The ATF was in effect arming the criminal organizations and putting our communities at risk. The ATF was setting up it's own trail of blood, it's own trail of crime victims. One of those victims was U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered last year. Guns from Fast And Furious were found at the scene. Terry's murder touched off the current scandal.
What genius devised the Fast And Furious brainstorm ? And who approved it ?
Those are the $64,000 questions. We don't know yet. What we do know is, the ATF's bosses at the Department Of Justice have been obstructing Congessional inquires and covering up. The White House isn't talking either. Jay Carney, Obama's Press Secretary, will only say an investigation is being conducted. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about Fast And Furious a couple months ago. You can see Holder doing his Sergeant Schultz "I know nothing" routine in the folllowing video. Issa wasn't buying it then:
As I said, Issa wasn't buying it then, and he really isn't buying it now. Issa and his fellow Congressional investigator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), held a secret interview with acting ATF chief Kenneth Melson against Holder's wishes. The results of that interview are eye-opening, and prompted Issa and Grassley to write a letter to Holder informing him of what they learned, and to censure Holder for obstructing a Congressional investigation into Operation Fast And Furious. Following are some excerpts from that letter.
Unnamed sources within the Obama administration told the Wall Street Journal and other media sources that Melson, who was made acting ATF chief in 2009, would be asked to resign over Fast And Furious. In other words, he was going to be the fall guy. But the letter says:
According to Mr. Melson, it was not until after the public controversy that he personally reviewed hundreds of documents relating to the case, including wiretap applications and Reports of Investigation (ROIs). By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story. Mr. Melson said that he told the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) at the end of March that the Department needed to reexamine how it was responding to the requests for information from Congress.
Melson told Issa he is not resigning, and said nobody has asked him to resign.
Melson was told not to share information with Congress, and to conceal the involvement of the DEA and FBI in Fast And Furious:
According to Mr. Melson, he and ATF's senior leadership team moved to reassign every manager involved in Fast and Furious, from the Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations down to the Group Supervisor, after learning the facts in those documents. Mr. Melson also said he was not allowed to communicate to Congress the reasons for the reassignments. He claimed that ATF's senior leadership would have preferred to be more cooperative with our inquiry much earlier in the process. However, he said that Justice Department officials directed them not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress. The result is that Congress only got the parts of the story that the Department wanted us to hear. If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand. That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation. The Department's inability or unwillingness to be more forthcoming served to conceal critical information that we are now learning about the involvement of other agencies, including the DEA and the FBI.
About the role of the DEA, FBI, and others:
...we have very real indications from several sources that some of the
gun trafficking "higher-ups" that the ATF sought to identify were already known to
other agencies and may even have been paid as informants. The Acting Director said
that ATF was kept in the dark about certain activities of other agencies, including DEA
and FBI. Mr. Melson said that he learned from ATF agents in the field that information obtained by these agencies could have had a material impact on the Fast and Furious investigation as far back as late 2009 or early 2010. After learning about the possible
role of DEA and FBI, he testified that he reported this information in April 2011 to the
Acting Inspector General and directly to then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James
Cole on June 16, 2011.
The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities.
...According to Acting Director Melson, he became aware of this startling possibility only after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers, which we now know were substantially delayed by the U.S. Attorney's Office and Main Justice. Mr. Melson provided documents months ago supporting his concerns to the official in the ODAG responsible for document production to the Committees, but those documents have not been provided to us.
Hmmm. Whatever happened to transparency and our agencies sharing information with each other following 9/11 ? That sure didn't appear to happen here.
The timing of the administration's statements about Melson being forced to resign are interesting too:
...two days after [Melson] told Acting Deputy Attorney General Cole about
serious issues involving lack of information sharing, the Wall Street Journal reported
that unnamed sources [in the Obama administration] said that Melson was about to be ousted.
Cole works directly for Eric Holder. Cole and Holder were both appointed by President Obama. Cole was a recess appointment of Obama's in January 2011. And two days after Melson told Cole there were serious issues, the administration starts talking about firing him ? Could that be a coincidence ???
I wonder if the White House will still try to make Melson the fall guy after this. And Attorney General Eric Holder has some explaining to do. Hopefully, this story will get some media air time once the obsession with Casey Anthony dies down (for my two cents, Ms. Anthony is about the guiltiest acting "not guilty" person I've ever seen, if you catch my drift. She tells so many lies that I'm beginning to wonder if her real name is even Casey Anthony).
Mexican officials are livid over the ATF/FBI/ DEA/Dept. Of Justice and whomever else allowed thousands of guns to be run from the U.S. into Mexico. I don't blame them. They want the U.S. officials responsible to be extradited and prosecuted in Mexico:
"I obviously feel violated. I feel my country's sovereignty was violated," Mexico Sen. Rene Arce Islas told Fox News. "They should be tried in the United States and the Mexican government should also demand that they also be tried in Mexico since the incidents took place here. There should be trials in both places."
I feel ya, Sen. Islas, but don't hold your breath waiting for our Department Of Justice to send it's own people to Mexico to be tried. That will never happen, unless we can somehow pin the whole thing on some flunky, which looks highly unlikely at this point. Plus, Sen. Islas, while we're on the subject of violations of sovereignty, what are you doing about the millions of illegal immigrants that are flooding across YOUR border into OUR country ??? And what about all the drugs that are coming from YOUR country into OUR country ??? Sovereignty works both ways, you know.
The bottom line on the obstruction is this - Holder's Justice Department would prefer that the shady and morally bankrupt practices of Holder's Justice Department be "investigated" by...drumroll please...Holder's Justice Department ! They'd like to investigate themselves, instead of letting outside pests like Congress into the mix. Ah, I can picture it now....Holder saying "after a thorough investigation, I declare myself 'Not Guilty' !!!"....at least Casey Anthony had a jury.