A conservative estimate from this morning’s conference call with Darrell Issa, via our Townhall cousin Katie Pavlich.
Secret recordings raise new questions in ATF ‘Gunwalker’ operation
In a conference call this morning with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, reporters were told the Attorney General in Mexico has confirmed at least 200 murders south of the border happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious. Eleven crimes in the United States have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious up to this point. Issa said he expects as the investigation in the operation continues, more crimes connected to Fast and Furious will come to light and be exposed. This is not surprising, considering out of 2500 weapons the Obama Justice Department allowed to “walk,” and that only 600 have been recovered, the rest are lost until they show up at violent crime scenes. The damage from Operation Fast and Furious has only started to be seen. Remember, the Mexican Government and ATF agents working in Mexico were left completely in the dark about the operation.
They’re discovering more every day, you know. But as I say, 200 is the conservative number. Some Mexican officials think it may go considerably higher than that.
Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general and a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico, told The Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious from news reports. And to this day, she said, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation gone awry, nor have they apologized.
“At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted,” Morales, Mexico’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, said in a recent interview. “In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”…
In March 2010, with a growing number of guns lost or showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, ATF officials convened an “emergency briefing” to figure out a way to shut down Fast and Furious. Instead, they decided to keep it going and continue to leave Mexico out of the loop…
Mexican Congressman Humberto Benitez Trevino, who heads the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, said the number of people killed or wounded by the weapons had probably doubled to 300 since March, when he said confidential information held by Mexican security authorities put the figure at 150. The higher number, he said, was his own estimate.
They kept the program a secret from Mexico initially because they feared corrupt government officials might spill the beans, but I can’t fathom why they’d continue to refuse to offer a full accounting to the Mexican AG. It makes an already hideously shady operation seem that much shadier. Is there no contrition at all for this? Three hundred people shot dead with guns that shouldn’t have been there and not so much as a briefing for the country’s top law enforcement officer? There must be some awfully important details they’re worried might come out.
Via CNS, here’s Issa on this morning’s call reiterating his point that there’s no good reason for Holder not to have known about this. Quote: “[I]f Eric Holder didn’t know, it’s because he didn’t want to know or because he wasn’t doing his job.” Click the image to listen.
Report: At least 200 murders in Mexico now linked to Fast & Furious weapons | Grumpy Opinions
A Point Without Partisanship — A Scandal Everyone Should Be Concerned About
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Comment pages: « Previous 1 2
Does anyone know what the Spanish-language media is saying at this point? Are they beginning to cover this?
CJ on September 21, 2011 at 9:41 AM
Time to wake up. Or maybe you still think the next election is going to change things… or maybe the one after that… or maybe…
Midas on September 20, 2011 at 9:53 PM
Basically describes the Fall of Rome into oblivion…
and the USA.
Throw F&F on the heap like Waco and Ruby Ridge.
orbitalair on September 21, 2011 at 9:54 AM
“In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”…
It would have been nice if those responsible for Fast and Furious had thought.
“In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans Americans.”…
This administration has demonstrated that ideology trumps American and Mexican safety. Mexico has a right to be “Furious”.
shick on September 21, 2011 at 10:25 AM
Guilty as charged.
I report myself to AttackWatch.
predator on September 20, 2011 at 8:48 PM
Do a search for “fast and furious” on Attackwatch.com and Surprise! it comes up empty.
shick on September 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM
I just don’t know, these folks are so incompetent. How are they going to explain 200 (so far) deaths.
Cindy Munford on September 20, 2011 at 9:28 PM
Explanation= “It could be much worse. Republicans could be in charge.”
shick on September 21, 2011 at 10:38 AM
The biggest mystery to me is why and what did they hope to achieve by even starting Fast and Furious operation in the first place?
Herb on September 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM
Fatal incompetence? No. Make the leap. It’s not a great one. Arming drug gangs was the goal of Fast & Furious and Gun Walker.
curved space on September 21, 2011 at 6:44 AM
Yes. The questions are (1) for what reasons (plural, as in more than one)? (2) Whose agendas were being served? The answers lead to the persons responsible.
…..in order to further weaken the 2nd Amendment.
roy_batty on September 21, 2011 at 8:23 AM
Yes, but assuming that this agenda is the only one ignores the massive scope of the scandal and the large number of players involved. Think about it Roy. Multiple agencies in multiple cabinet level departments are involved. That circumstance requires coordination and authority from a higher level, and that means the White House.
Multiple federal felonies were committed by federal law enforcement officials, involving serious violations of US and Mexican law. BATFE officials, at the direction of the US Attorney in Phoenix, aided and abetted felony straw purchases of 2,000 weapons. The FBI suppressed NCIC background checks and to facilitate hundreds of straw purchases by convicted felons.
All this to advance an utterly discredited and highly unpopular gun control agenda? Do you think these clowns really want to take on the NRA and its millions of members again, in an election year? I think many of Obama’s appointees are so blinded by ideology and personal and political agendas as to be functional morons, but most of them aren’t so stupid as to take these massive risks just to support the argument for more gun control laws. It just doesn’t make sense. Much more is at stake.
In a long career in one of the most corrupt and crime-ridden counties in the country, I learned a few things about corruption and corrupt officials. For example, if you want to bend an agency’s resources to corrupt ends, you don’t corrupt the whole agency. Too difficult, too risky. You need corruption at the top, and corruption at the point of contact, i.e., at the bottom. The boss, or his assistant as surrogate, and one or two lower level employees, is the ideal setup. You isolate the lower level guys from their nominal supervisor on some excuse and control them from the top to avoid oversight. That way no one but the corrupt officials at the top know what they are up to. That is exactly what happened here, as DOJ circumvented the BATFE chain of command and ran the Phoenix field office from the US Attorney’s office. And who was the US Attorney? Dennis Burke, former chief of staff to Governor Napolitano, and senior aide to Secretary Napolitano before he got the US Attorney appointment.
When this thing first broke out into the open, some of us immediately smelled that smell, as the proffered justification for the program didn’t make sense. It simply couldn’t work as a law enforcement op, it could never produce the evidence to support prosecutions as it was supposedly designed. It was apparent from the beginning that this wasn’t a good op gone bad, but a bad op gone worse, and people were lying to cover up the real agendas. And yet supposedly intelligent reporters are parroting that preposterous excuse to this day.
Corruption on this scale requires that multiple agendas be served in order to get the cooperation of the various players, some of whom were certainly unaware of the other players’ involvement and other agendas. So you have DEA and FBI concealing from BATFE their connections to and funding of informants who the BATFE was either using or investigating.
Even I didn’t appreciate the potential scope at the beginning. I couldn’t believe, for example, that taxpayer dollars would wind up in the hands of straw purchasers to use to buy guns, but that has now been well established. At least $70,000 dollars was given to a convicted felon and FBI informant to finance straw purchases.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. The blood trail leads all the way top and ends in the Oval Office. How many players knew the real agenda? Will all of them fall on their swords to protect Obama?
novaculus on September 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM
piglet on September 21, 2011 at 8:25 AM
Robin, thank you for the kind and encouraging words.
I apologize to all for the crankiness and impatience in my post last night. In my defense, I am dealing with some chronic pain issues, and it doesn’t improve my attitude one bit. I should be more careful and self-aware, but often by the end of the day I’m about at the end of my rope.
novaculus on September 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM
September 19, 2011 12:53 PM
Secret recordings raise new questions in ATF ‘Gunwalker’ operation
Updated 5:09 pm, Sept. 19, 2011 with comment from the Office of the Inspector General
WASHINGTON – CBS News has obtained secretly recorded conversations that raise questions as to whether some evidence is being withheld in the murder of a Border Patrol agent.
MORE: ATF Fast and Furious secret audio recordings
ATF whistleblower called ‘toxic’ on secret tapes
(Scroll down to listen to the audio)
The tapes were recorded approximately mid-March 2011 by the primary gun dealer cooperating with ATF in its “Fast and Furious” operation: Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Arizona. He’s talking with the lead case ATF case agent Hope MacAllister.
The tapes have been turned over to Congressional investigators and the Inspector General.
As CBS News first reported last February, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to “walk” onto the streets without interdiction into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in its operation “Fast and Furious.”
The conversations refer to a third weapon recovered at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Agent: I was ordered to let guns into Mexico
Court records have previously only mentioned two weapons: Romanian WASR “AK-47 type” assault rifles. Both were allegedly sold to suspects who were under ATF’s watch as part of Fast and Furious.
Also, a ballistics report turned over to Congressional investigators only mentions the two WASR rifles. The ballistics report says it’s inconclusive as to whether either of the WASR rifles fired the bullet that killed Terry.
Law enforcement sources and others close to the Congressional investigation say the Justice Department’s Inspector General obtained the audio tapes several months ago as part of its investigation into Fast and Furious.
Then, the sources say for some reason the Inspector General passed the tapes along to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona: a subject in the investigation. It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation.
A spokesman from the Office of the Inspector General today said, “The OIG officially provided the United States Attorney’s Office with a copy of the recordings in question so that the USAO could consider them in connection with the government’s disclosure obligations in the pending criminal prosecutions of the gun traffickers. Prior to receiving the tapes, the OIG made clear that we would have to provide a copy of the recordings to the United States Attorney’s Office because they would need to review them to satisfy any legal disclosure obligations.”
(Listen to the audio)
In the audiotapes, ATF Agent MacAllister tells Howard that a third weapon recovered at the Brian Terry murder scene last December is an SKS assault rifle. Agent MacAllister claims to know that the SKS “had nothing to do with” the Brian Terry murder and, unlike the WASR’s, did not trace back to the Lone Wolf gun store.
It’s unclear why a weapon would be, in essence, missing from the evidence disclosed at the crime scene under FBI jurisdiction.
Agent MacAllister and Howard (the gun dealer) also discuss various Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are investigating Fast and Furious. They express concern that whistleblower ATF special agent John Dodson has further evidence that could be damaging to the government.
Transcript of the audio below:
Agent: Well there was two.
Dealer: There’s three weapons.
Agent: There’s three weapons.
Dealer: I know that.
Agent: And yes, there’s serial numbers for all three.
Dealer: That’s correct.
Agent: Two of them came from this store.
Dealer: I understand that.
Agent: There’s an SKS that I don’t think came from…. Dallas or Texas or something like that.
Dealer: I know. talking about the AK’s
Agent: The two AK’s came from this store.
Dealer: I know that.
Dealer: I did the Goddamned trace
Agent: Third weapon is the SKS has nothing to do with it.
Dealer: That didn’t come from me.
Agent: No and there is that’s my knowledge. and I spoke to someone who would know those are the only ones they have. So this is the agent who’s working the case, all I can go by is what she told me.