Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Project Gunrunner or Fast and Furious? Take your pick

When we first reported out on Project Gunrunner, the Justice Department/ATF's scheme to let guns sold in American gun shops to walk back across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels so we could better identify who the bad guys were, we could scarcely believe it and it prompted this reaction...

We.... we don't even know what to make of this.

Seriously. Someone please talk us down off this ledge.

... such was the level of our incredulousness.

Well, hang on because it gets better worse, much worse. The following is an article from NBC News from September of 2010 reporting on documents obtained from the Justice Department which detail how it is that the ATF was going to be cracking down on corrupt American gun dealers and going after high-value drug world figures.

U.S. law enforcement officials have devised an aggressive and potentially controversial new strategy to crack down on the illegal gun trade to Mexico by targeting cartel networks inside this country and "corrupt" U.S. firearms dealers, according to internal Justice Department documents obtained by NBC News.

The documents also state that the drug traffickers appear to have expanded efforts to acquire firepower in the U.S. by tapping well-developed supply networks beyond the Southwest border region in order to acquire high-powered assault rifles as well as components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The new strategy was prepared in recent weeks by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)’s Office of Field Operations, in the wake of stinging criticism of current ATF efforts to stem the flow of weapons to the cartels by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” it calls for ATF agents to put more emphasis on monitoring the activities of U.S. guns stores and other federally licensed firearms dealers who may be assisting or turning a blind eye to gun purchases by drug cartel operatives. The report describes such “corrupt” U.S. firearms dealers as “high value targets” -- a phrase that could rile gun rights groups and their supporters in Congress who charge ATF is already too aggressive in regulating the firearms industry.

The principal thrust of the revised strategy directs that ATF agents focus on taking down the operations of high-level gun traffickers working for specific Mexican cartels rather than simply trying to arrest low-level “straw buyers,” as they have often done in the past. It also calls on agents to use more sophisticated investigative methods, such as analyzing financial and telephone records, routinely used in terrorism and organized crime cases, and to work more closely with other federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The new strategy document, entitled “Project Gunrunner; A Cartel Focused Strategy,” appears designed in part to address criticisms of enforcement efforts contained in a recently circulated draft report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. That report reviewed the efforts of Gunrunner, an ATF initiative that involves dispatching teams of agents known as Gunrunner Impact Teams (or GRITs) to cities near the border that are believed to be primary sources of weapons for the cartels.
(bold, italics... it's all ours)

And later in the article:

The new strategy document lays out the dimensions of the problem in stark terms. While shying away from specific figures -- which have been the source of fierce debate -- it concludes that “a significant percentage” of all the weapons seized from the Mexican cartels are originating in the U.S.

/picking jaw up off of ground

So, what are we to believe? That this Project Gunrunner which was alleged to be cracking down on the flow of guns across the border was simply a cover for the exact opposite... for the ATF to actually facilitate the flow of guns across the border from U.S. gun shops via straw buyers? The evidence available to us suggests it is so.

When questioned a couple of weeks back by Congressman Issa (R-CA) that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department claimed he knew nothing of Project Gunrunner or was it Fast and Furious as it was known internally?

As Project Gunrunner (the cover story) was public knowledge as per the NBC News article, we suppose the miserable hack could claim plausible deniability to having no knowledge of Fast and Furious (the real story).

This is simply astounding - no other word for it. The Justice Department releases (leaks?) documents detailing the standing up of a false operation to crack down on the flow of arms across the border (amid all the finger-wagging and tsk-tsking regarding the southward flow of U.S.-purchased guns and ammo fueling the violence along the border. Remember that? We do.) all as a feint to actually allow the flow of guns and ammo across the border.

What are we missing? We hope to god there's a reasonable explanation for all this because as it stands now, Holder and the Justice Department are either extremely duplicitous or flat-out incompetent. Either way, the miserable hack needs to go.

Again, someone please talk us down off this ledge.


SarahB said...

I took a day off from politics to get my head right after a long week...that pretty much put me back to melt down. Sharing.

Road Dawg said...

So the incompetence leaves levels of concern? No wonder people wallow in conspiring agendas. How can people be that stupid?

Dean said...

Sarah, sorry... and thanks.

'Dawg, I'm leaving that door open.

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