sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running Guns (your tax dollars at work)

The Los Angeles Times reported (quoted below - LINK) that the ATF agents assigned to the OPERATION GUNRUNNER were in a "state of panic". The LA Times quotes from the Congressional probe being conducted by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told congressional investigators that there was "a state of panic" that the guns used in the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in January and two U.S. agents in Mexico a month later might have been sold under the U.S. surveillance operation.
"I used the word anxiety. The term I used amongst my peers is pucker factor," Larry Alt, special agent with ATF's Phoenix field division, told investigators preparing a joint staff report for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
The report will be released Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
(LA Times - continued) Neither of those shootings was ultimately linked to the "Fast and Furious" probe, though two weapons sold to a suspect under surveillance were found at the scene of the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Nogales, Ariz., in December.
At least 195 of the weapons have been traced to Mexico, found mainly at crime scenes, but ATF agents quoted in the report said more than 1,700 firearms were trafficked "to known criminals or cartel elements south of the border and elsewhere" under the operation.
"I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being OK with this," Agent John Dodson told committee interviewers.
I hope that Agent Dodson is of retirement age. Hell hath no fury like a US Attorney General who is hiding the ball and is outed by an ATF Agent.

Congressmen Issa and Grassley have been butting heads with ATF supervisors and senior officials at the Justice Department who signed off on the Project Gunrunner operation. The two agencies, the Republican congressmen say, have refused to provide documents about the origin, direction and supervision of the operation.


Post Script: This just in! (LINK)


Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:
* The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
* A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.
* A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.