While Obama was blaming US gun dealers for selling weapons to Mexican gangsters, his own DOJ was doing it.
The clown posse rides again!
Given the federal government’s batting average, another failure should come as no surprise. But sometimes the incompetence strains believability. Case in point: “Operation Fast and Furious.”
That’s the code name for what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives thought was a good idea: Put large numbers of semiautomatic weapons into the hands of Mexican gangsters, wait until they commit crimes, then track them.
Mexico is in the throes of a civil war that pits drug cartels against the government. The drug gangs are winning, having killed 34,000 people in the past five years.
So just on the surface, “Fast and Furious” has to be one of the dumbest operations ever carried out by a U.S. agency. Dig a little deeper, and it’s also deadly.
Higher-ups at the ATF were warned repeatedly by their own agents that the plan was dangerous and unworkable. But the bosses ignored the warnings and even punished those who told them the obvious truth.
“Every time we questioned that order, there was punitive action,” ATF agent John Dodson told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding hearings on the operation.
Dodson’s tale is as predictable as it is tragic. The ATF lost track of as many as 1,800 of the semiautomatic weapons it put into circulation. Many of the weapons were used to commit crimes. And two of them were found at the murder scene of an ATF agent.
“Operation Fast and Furious contributed to the increasing violence and deaths in Mexico,” the committee’s report said. “This result was regarded with giddy optimism by ATF supervisors hoping that guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico would provide the nexus to straw (go-between) purchasers in Phoenix.”
Said Darrell Issa, chairman of the House committee: “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.”
So who’s responsible for this travesty? The Justice Department has been subpoenaed by the committee to provide information about the errant program, but it has refused to cooperate.
Top ATF officials have denied knowing details of the program. But it’s clear from emails gathered by the committee that ATF acting director Kenneth Melson knew what was going on and didn’t stop it.
Gun-control advocates try to demonize American gun owners by noting that two-thirds of Mexico’s weapons come from north of the border. Now it turns out the U.S. government is the biggest gunrunner.
Thousands have died on both sides of the border as the drug war spreads. Deadly incompetence of the kind displayed by U.S. bureaucrats in Operation Fast and Furious must not go unpunished.