TeeJaw Blog

ATF Operation Fast and Furious

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, June 30, 2011, 1: 34 PM

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE, or more commonly ATF) operation Fast and Furious, also known as Project Gunwalker or Project Gunrunner is a scandal of the Obama administration that will, despite efforts from the old media to cover it up, taint the government for decades to come, IMHO. If you are not familiar with it, here is a “nutshell” explanation:

The Obama administration has always wanted more restrictive Federal gun laws. Twenty thousand laws already on the books, almost all of them felonies carrying long prison terms, just isn’t enough for them. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against more Federal gun control and there are not the votes in Congress for any more. The Administration believed that the Mexican drug cartel violence on the U.S./Mexican border might provide an opportunity to change that and therefore started playing up the notion that the Mexican drug lords were getting there weapons from Americans buying them in the U.S. and smuggling them across the border. [Never let a good crisis go to waste.] Problem was, it’s not true. No data to support it. Other more likely sources were clearly known to exist. So, operation Fast and Furious was conceived as an ATF operation to create the necessary data to support more gun control laws in the U.S. The plan was to allow “Straw purchaser” transactions to go forward and to track the guns by their serial numbers. Thus ATF was able to follow the guns as they moved through illegal commerce. The hope was that they were going to Mexico so that a data set could be established to gin up public support for more U.S. gun control laws. Gun dealers in Phoenix and other cities were often suspicious of certain purchasers and would call the ATF before making the transfer to alert them of a potential illegal transaction. Under Fast and Furious, those gun dealers were told to go ahead with the sale.

One should bear in mind that since 1968 straw purchases, i.e., a legal gun purchaser buying a gun for someone who cannot legally buy a gun, has been a Federal felony carrying a possible ten-year prison term.

Still to be proven, there is suspicion that the ATF actually set up straw purchasers because there were not enough occurring on their own to persuade anyone that lax Federal laws were allowing guns to be smuggled into Mexico.

Twenty-four year veteran ATF special agent Vince Cefalu was appalled by what he saw as official law breaking. Several of the guns the ATF “walked” across the border were subsequently used to murder U.S. Border Patrol agents, DEA agents and Mexican agents as well. Cefalu became a whistle blower and was quickly fired by the ATF.

That’s it in a nutshell. Detailed descriptions of this mess are here and here.

The video below is an interview with fired ATF whistle blower Vince Cefalu. It is an interview that would be done by an independent news organization, but the old media doesn’t have anything of the sort. Actually, I take part of that back. CBS has done a pretty good job of covering this story, as has Fox News. All the other “state run” cable news outlets and the Washington Post have tried to downplay it and cover it up.

In the interview below Vince Cefalu considers whether Attorney General Eric Holder was aware of what the ATF was doing and concludes that “there is no way he didn’t know.”

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