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The "heroes" at the ATF

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by A.I.P., Sep 23, 2011.

  1. A.I.P.

    A.I.P. UpperUS Active Member

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    There are three competitive theories as to why the ATF let some 2000 guns walk from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug thugs. I believe the ATF enabled gun smugglers as part of a government-wide plan to arm the Sinaloa drug cartel against Los Zetas. The gun blogging community believes the ATF let the guns go to manufacture a crisis, bolstering the Bureau’s case for more funding and regulatory control (i.e. to grab more guns from average Americans). And the ATF says it was all a big mistake. I’ve laid out my case for the Los Zetas explanation. Gun bloggers like Mike Vanderboegh have made their point on the 2A front. And now, ATF Special Agent Bill Newell has “gone public” with his explanation for Operation Fast and Furious . . .


    Before I deconstruct Agent Newell’s “I didn’t mean to perjure myself” letter to the Committee for Oversight and Government Reform [click here for the pdf], I’ve got two words: Operation Castaway.

    Even if you take everything that Newell writes at face value—accepting his depiction of Operation Fast and Furious as nothing more or less than a well-intentioned law enforcement effort gone slightly awry—are we expected to believe that Operation Castaway, the ATF’s Tampa-based “guns to Honduras” black bag job, was also a “simple” mistake?

    What are the odds that the ATF somehow lost track of firearms that somehow made it to drug cartels in two locations at the same time? And what of Grenadewalker, wherein the ATF and U.S. Attorney’s office let a bomb maker off the hook so he could continue smuggling explosive devices into Mexico?

    How does all that square with the “we meant to catch the big fish” narrative? Especially considering the fact that the ATF didn’t catch a single pescado grande. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Newell’s letter to the Congressional Committee. It starts as it means to finish: a literary version of Warren Zevon’s Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.

    After taking the time to reflect and review my testimony, I realize I could have given clearer, more complete and more direct responses to some questions. It was not my intention to give answers that lacked the clarity everyone on the panel deserved from a federal law enforcement agent in my position. It is not an excuse but the reality of the pressure I have been under the last several months has been nothing like I have ever experience; this enquiry and the way it has been handled has taken a physical toll on my family, me, and the dedicated men and women who continue to pursue the goals of this investigation.

    Newell’s opening salvo could well be the most disgraceful part of this entire disgraceful scandal. The man who orchestrated the delivery of firearms to vicious drug thugs, three of which were used to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, has the temerity to ask the Committee to pity him?

    The fact that Newell more-or-less blames the Committee for his family’s stress, when the Terry family and dozens of Mexican families have to deal with the “stress” of loved ones murdered by ATF-enable guns, is beyond imagination. Before this letter I thought Newell’s gang was guilty of hubris. This missive identifies them as psychopaths.

    Newell’s letter goes on to assail the Committee for the hearing’s format and accuses its members of being too stupid to understand what he was trying to say. With the help of his lawyers, Newell summarizes his defense (for Committee members who are both stupid and lazy):

    To be clear, any errors were unintentional errors of omission and are rooted in the laws we have at our disposal in attempting to address this type of illegal activity, the inherent risks posed by the nature of these investigations and the rapid progression of this investigation . . .

    So it’s the Huffington Post defense then. U.S. gun trafficking laws are so weak they hamstring the ATF (because of the Republicans), the gun-grabbing ATF are the good guys (always) and things just kinda got away from them. Never mind all that. Listen to this:

    Throughout the course of this investigation we attempted to be innovative in the tracking and seizing of firearms purchased by the suspected “straw” purchasers of the firearms in order to identify the decision makers, the financiers and an ever-expanding network of straw purchasers of the firearms in order to ultimately disrupt the entire criminal organization.

    So Fast and Furious—an operation where ATF chiefs specifically instructed concerned Agents NOT to intercept gun smugglers mid-smuggle—was “innovative” (as opposed to, say, illegal). And I guess we’ll just ignore the fact that the FBI has admitted that it provided seed money to at least one of the gun smugglers to purchase the weapons headed from the U.S. to Mexican narco-terrorists.

    Be that as it is, Newell would clearly have us believe that all the Mexican gun running under ATF investigation was part of a large, well-coordinated, monolithic criminal enterprise; with financiers and, by implication, a Mr. Big or two. (The aforementioned “Plaza boss”.) Note: “the criminal organization. Not “a criminal organization” or “a confederation of criminal organizations” (i.e. a cartel).

    It’s no fluke; Newell uses the singular designation throughout his letter. “It was believed that it was important to adopt an investigative plan to terminate this organization’s [emphasis added] ability to traffic in firearms.” With that nomenclature the main question suddenly becomes “Is Newell lying or is he insane?”

    All of the straw purchasers “nabbed” during the course of the ATF’s anti-gun smuggling gun smuggling program are bit players. Petty criminals. All of them. Equally, anyone familiar with the way the Mexican cartels work would know that the bad guys at the sharp end are part of an ever-shifting alliance of bad guys. They are not run by an all-controlling KAOS-like Mr. Big.

    The U.S. government has officially designated Los Zetas a terrorist organization. Although Newell never names the singular organization responsible for gun smuggling, for our purposes here, it doesn’t matter. Mexican drug cartels are all terrorist groups. And like all terrorist groups, they operate using discreet “cells.”

    Bottom line: there was no way on earth the ATF was going to nail the caretl jefes using small time gun smugglers.

    Newell should have known this. Apparently not. His main excuse for letting the guns walk is that arresting the smugglers would have been “premature.”

    The premature arrest of “straw” purchasers prior to the arrest and identification of the organizers and financiers of the enterprise would have permitted the unabated trafficking of guns, as, in addition to potentially fatally exposing the investigation, the arrested “straw” purchasers would have been replaced by new purchasers, unknown to law enforcement.

    That explains precisely nothing; the main problem here was that the ATF failed to maintain surveillance on the buyers. For sure Newell knew that. His letter blames a lack of resources and admits that he should have been more diligent in his supervisory roll.

    I don’t think Newell is a lying scumbag who deliberately deceived Congress as to his true motivations during Operation Fast and Furious. I reckon he’s a delusional psychopath who honestly believes he was fighting a devious criminal mastermind or two. A federal employee whose psychosis reflects the principle that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I also think Newell was played. Given the Agent’s obvious narcissism, the CIA convinced Newell (or his bosses) that allowing guns to flow to the Sinaloas and their friends was a good thing, not a bad thing. It would help defeat Mr. Big.

    In any case, Newell’s letter also reveals that the ATF put an informant inside their stingless sting, who “ultimately was not successful.” And as I suspected, the Bureau did put a tracking device into at least one of the firearms. That led to the “proactive” and “lawful” seizure of 21 of 200 guns bought by one Uriel Patino.

    You’d think that a 10 percent recovery rate on the ATF’s “guns for goons” program would have given Newell pause. But then this is a man who’s happy to throw the ATF “whistleblowers” under the bus for not committing career suicide by taking their complaints to the ATF’s famously vindictive Internal Affairs Division. If only I’d known!

    Still, it must be said: this letter lends credibility to the ATF’s claim that the Fast and Furious’ f-up was down to ATF Agents’ stupidity. I still maintain that the CIA told the ATF this is how we do it. The Company has a long and ignoble history of bending other federal agencies to its will. Considering the alphabet soup of federal agencies involved in this, I can see only one master chef.

    In any event, this missive makes it clear that the ATF is run by po-faced bureaucrats who are either devious liars or simply don’t have a clue as to the true nature of criminal activities. Or both. Do we need a law enforcement agency that rewards deceit and incompetence, placing our civil rights and foreign policy in harm’s way? We do not
     
    robertg and (deleted member) like this.
  2. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps its a combination of all three...?

    My own opinion:its elements within the government creating a problem to then justify coming to the rescue with ever increasing legal and jurisdictional powers.

    Keith
     
  3. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    All I know is that it is one giant clusterhump.
     
  4. Dave Workman

    Dave Workman Western Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    LaPierre asks right F&F questions, McGinn makes wrong public safety move

    CHICAGO — As the 26th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference unfolds here today — sponsored by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms — people are talking about Operation Fast and Furious, while back in Seattle, they’re griping about the mayor’s plan to trim the police budget.

    LaPierre asks right F&F questions, McGinn makes wrong public safety move - Seattle gun rights | Examiner.com
     
  5. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    So what is the legal precedent that permits the ATF to clearly violate the law by allowing these guns to be sold illegally? Is it just the fact that since the ATF is responsible for enforcement of these laws that allows them to selectively ignore them or is there an actual precedent that permits them to do so?

    In this age of ever expanding laws perhaps we need a law that prevents enforcement agencies from selectively ignoring laws.

    We as a society have certainly woven a web of confusion in our legal system that does not seem to serve society as a whole any better.
     
  6. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    And an ever increasing budget...

    When I was overseas, we had military officers discuss moving to other areas of Afghanistan and abandon some of the bases to move further Southeast. A few days after we discussed the moving out plans with many of the local police and military, our base began to be rocketed/mortared as if we were in the start of the invasion. Ends up that the police leaders themselves (with no Taliban ties to speak of) were the ones rocketing the base.

    Basically, it forced the Army's hands to stay since there was still a threat in the area. Although appalling, this stuff doesn't surprise me anymore. These guns were intentionally let over the boarder. Although their reasoning may still be a mystery, my money is on the money. They wanted more funding in a time of a recession of cutting LEO programs. What better way to prove that they deserved a bigger slice of the pie than with a death at their doorstep? Oh, and a fellow LEO? Yeah, those 3K night-vision goggles just got expedited to your location. Anything else? Yeah, lets push for legislation for gun sales while we're at it. All in the name of safety and security.

    But ask them to put up some razor wire on the boarder and suddenly we're racist. BAH!
     
  7. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Clack Co. OR Well-Known Member

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    Yup. A government employees most important duty is to keep their job. That's why they never solve a problem but in fact make them worse, the worse the problem the more funding.

    IIRC the ATF was under the congressional budget cutting knife and voila, :tank: Waco.

    The fellas in the WH who gave the orders and monitored the programs are no different.

    I haven't gotten my head around arming Mexican drug cartels and the MS13 gang in Honduras yet. Just seems too radical. But I'm no Bill Ayres, George Soros or Barack Hussein Obama.
     
  8. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    "But I'm no Bill Ayres, George Soros or Barack Hussein Obama."

    Well, you really have something to be thankful for!
     
  9. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Yeah... I'd HATE to be them on Judgement Day.
     
  10. Flash

    Flash Vancouver Member

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    one must consider all the people that were involved to see a clear picture. I have watched this unfold month after month and every time I notice Mrs. Clinton making a statement about the flow of guns to Mexico and the fact that something needs to be done about it.
    Well how come very little is said about her part now, when people are trying to figure out what their plan was. Go back and look at her press conferences and the things they coincided with. You can't tell me she wasn't right in the middle of things with the Justice Department. The constant push from her for more gun control was undeniable. Nobody is mentioning Hillary in all of this because more gun control was what it was all about at any cost.
     
  11. Kevatc

    Kevatc Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I can see the dots connecting as easily as you seem to make them connect.
     
  12. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Often times, what is NOT said says volumes more than what IS said... that's his point.
     
  13. One-Eyed Ross

    One-Eyed Ross Winlock, WA Well-Known Member

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    Shhhhh.....it's under the radar.
     
  14. A.I.P.

    A.I.P. UpperUS Active Member

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    Posted on September 26, 2011 by Robert Farago


    A letter published by the gun bloggers at The Sipsey Street Irregulars and the Gun Rights Examiner reveals that the ATF purchased firearms from American gun dealers and delivered them into the hands of Mexican gun smugglers. The June 2010 missive is a short and damning document. [Click here to download the pdf.] Then-ATF Phoenix Group VII Supervisor David Voth asks an unidentified Federal Firearms Licensee to sell ATF Special Agent John Dodson a Draco 7.62×39 mm pistol. Voth directs the gun dealer to forgo the usual federal formalities (Form 4473). A hand-scribbled addition notes that the ATF paid cash for the Draco.


    There’s no way around the obvious conclusion: ATF operation known as Fast and Furious was actively engaged in gun smuggling. The Bureau was not the beleaguered passive observer that the Power That Be would have the public believe. Sipsey Street’s Vanderboegh hammers the nails into the coffin containing that excuse.

    The existence of this letter provided to these reporters by a previously reliable source familiar with the Fast and Furious investigation, coupled with interviews of other sources across the country which put it into context, provides startling proof that the Federal government did not merely “lose track” of weapons purchased by “straw buyers” under surveillance by the ATF and destined for the Mexican drug cartels. In an undercover operation ordered by Fast and Furious supervisor David Voth, the U.S. government purchased firearms with taxpayer money from licensed firearms dealers, instructed them to conduct the sales “off the books,” and used an ATF agent, John Dodson, to deliver them directly to people that Dodson believed were conducting them across the border.

    Which still beggars the question: why? Why was the U.S. government so hot to send firearms down the mythical “iron river” of weapons flowing from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug thugs?

    There are competitive—and complimentary—theories. But one thing is for sure: Operation Fast and Furious and Operation Castaway and whatever you want to call the operation that let grenades go South and official U.S. firearms and grenade sales (that somehow seeped) to the cartels indicate a distinct pattern of behavior. A policy, if you will.

    Even as Congress investigates Fast and Furious, they should focus their attention on the administration’s wider policy towards Mexican narco-terrorists. It’s time to wake up. Our neighbor to the south is in the midst of a mind-bendingly horrific full-scale civil war. We need to figure out what we as a nation needs to do (e.g. deploy the U.S. military to seal our border) and do it soon.
     
  15. dmancornell

    dmancornell Portland, OR New Member

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    Good post, funny unintentional non sequitur at the end (ATF criminal gun-running -> HURR DURR SEAL THE BORDER).
     
  16. swoop

    swoop Milwaukie, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This goes all the way to Holder or above. Hope someone can prove it..
     
  17. Flash

    Flash Vancouver Member

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