(please scroll down for the update)
For those of you who think that perhaps we should just go ahead and change the name of our blog, don't blame us... perhaps if the Justice Department would quit stonewalling and give this country some answers we all could just get on with life.
This is starting to look bad for Team O and quite possibly for the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department: a charter member of the dead tree media, the L.A. Times, is starting to cover the Gunrunner scandal instead of merely providing cover.
The embattled head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has told congressional investigators that some Mexican drug cartel figures targeted by his agency in a gun-trafficking investigation were paid informants for the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Kenneth E. Melson, ATF's acting director, has been under pressure to resign after the agency allowed guns to be purchased in the United States in hopes they would be traced to cartel leaders. Under the gun-trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious, the ATF lost track of the guns, and many were found at the scene of crimes in Mexico, as well as two that were recovered near Nogales, Ariz., where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.
In two days of meetings with congressional investigators over the weekend, Melson said the FBI and DEA kept the ATF "in the dark" about their relationships with the cartel informants. If ATF agents had known of the relationships, the agency might have ended the investigation much earlier, he said.
As a result of Melson's statements, "our investigation has clearly expanded," a source close to the congressional investigation said Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is ongoing. "We know now it was not something limited to just a small group of ATF agents in Arizona."
. . . . . .
Sources said investigators had "very real indications from several sources" that some of the cartel leaders the ATF was trying to identify through Fast and Furious were "already known" to the other agencies and apparently had "been paid as informants."
Finally, Melson said, ATF agents along the U.S.-Mexico border realized that the FBI and DEA were running separate operations and that it "could have a material impact on Fast and Furious." Melson said he notified his superiors of this problem in April.
The ostensible purpose of Fast and Furious was to track guns purchased here in the U.S. back to shadowy drug cartel figures so they could be positively IDed. However, it appears we already knew the identities of at least some of these heretofore shadowy figures because they were already on the government payroll. And not only were the agencies not communicating with each other, it appears, according to testimony, that the FBI and DEA were running separate operations.
So, taking all this in toto, it begs the question: what was the true purpose of Operation Fast and Furious? Because, as we see it right now, as horrible of an idea as it may have been to let weapons walk back across the border to identify who the Mexican drug king pins were, Fast and Furious didn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of even accomplishing that because the facts on the ground suggest that wasn't the reason why it was put into effect.
Mexican authorities have long complained that most of the guns that fuel the drug wars there are purchased in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Mexican federal police released a videotaped interrogation with recently captured Jesus Rejon Aguilar, an alleged founder of the Zetas gang who is wanted in the slaying of a U.S. immigration agent in Mexico. He brazenly told them that "all the weapons are bought in the United States" and that "even the American government itself was selling the weapons."
He added, "Whatever you want, you can get."
Terrific. Several rogue government agencies having a free-for-all down on our southern border region doing god-knows-what for god-knows-why.
When they said there was a border violence problem who among us thought that our own law enforcement agencies would be aiding and abetting that violence?
(UPDATE #1):Wouldn't you know? It's like a bad dream... $10,000,000 in the Porkulus package funded Gunrunner.
From page 16 the bill:
For an additional amount for ‘‘State and Local Law Enforcement
Assistance’’, $40,000,000, for competitive grants to provide
assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the
Southern border and in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to
combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the Southern
border, of which $10,000,000 shall be transferred to ‘‘Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Salaries and Expenses’’
for the ATF Project Gunrunner.
A tragic convergence of failed Obama administraion policies. There's your shovel-ready.
(H/T: Commenter Harrison and Hot Air)