Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Administration Deliberately Allows Guns Into Mexico; How Many Have Died As a Result?

Filed under: Crime,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:30 am

You know what seems like a good idea? Flooding Mexico with guns!

Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.

He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?

“Yes ma’am,” Dodson told CBS News. “The agency was.”

The idea was some cockamamie scheme to trace guns:

ATF managers allegedly made a controversial decision: allow most of the weapons on the streets. The idea, they said, was to gather intelligence and see where the guns ended up. Insiders say it’s a dangerous tactic called letting the guns, “walk.”

One agent called the strategy “insane.” Another said: “We were fully aware the guns would probably be moved across the border to drug cartels where they could be used to kill.”

. . . .

For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: “Negative. Stand down.”

It was such a good idea, one of the guns we deliberately allowed into Mexico was found at the scene of a murdered federal agent:

Then, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered. The serial numbers on the two assault rifles found at the scene matched two rifles ATF watched Jaime Avila buy in Phoenix nearly a year before. Officials won’t answer whether the bullet that killed Terry came from one of those rifles. But the nightmare had come true: “walked” guns turned up at a federal agent’s murder.

A perceptive reader who I believe does not wish to be named writes to wonder if Brian Terry was the only one.

Three people suspected of smuggling guns to Mexico were arrested in a Dallas suburb on Monday after federal investigators traced the gun used in the killing of a U.S. agent in Mexico to one of them, officials said.

Agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested the suspected gun smugglers in morning raids in the southern Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas, ATF spokesman Tom Crowley said. Crowley referred questions on other details to the U.S. Justice Department in Washington. The agency planned to issue a news release.

The ATF said the gun was used in a Feb. 15 shooting of two federal agents who were driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi on Feb. 15. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and agent Victor Avila was wounded.

How were they tracing the guns across the border? Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?

Keep a close eye on this one.

Regardless of whether that is the case, it is clear that this was a stupid idea in any event. Who knows how much violence has increased due to the new availability of thousands of assault rifles and other powerful weapons?

But hey, at least our agents are armed and able to fight back. With bean bags.

Border Patrol agents shot beanbags at a group of suspected bandits before the men returned fire during a confrontation in a remote canyon, killing agent Brian Terry with a single gunshot, records show.

So you know the decisionmaking going on here is top notch.

Meanwhile, Obama is praising Mexico for “courage” in the drug war.

As my correspondent says: “They need more than courage given that we’re intentionally flooding Mexico with guns.”

116 Responses to “Obama Administration Deliberately Allows Guns Into Mexico; How Many Have Died As a Result?”

  1. This looks more like an administration subterfuge to bolster their argument that the U.S. needs more gun control to prevent violence in Mexico.

    Nothing like creating new statistics to win an argument that had little factual support when it was first made.

    This is a reckless and lawless administration.

    Rachelle (c0f1ca)

  2. While it seems wrong, some perspective…

    (I’m guessing) the number of guns ‘allowed’ into Mexico is a small relatively small number/percentage of guns flowing into Mexico. And it is an even smaller percentage of the guns the cartels have available for use. It isn’t as if Mexico would be violence free if not for the guns the ATF allowed into the country.

    You’re coming close to aping the gun control argument ‘so and so would be alive today if only we took guns off the street’. If this particular gun was available, is there any doubt the killer wouldn’t have had access to another gun and the agent would be just as dead? And the same for the other victims, if they weren’t shot with one of the ATF guns, they would have been shot with another weapon.

    Isn’t the basic concept of what is being alleged similar to what is used in drug cases, where drugs are ‘allowed’ to move around while being monitored by law enforcement in hopes of snaring more than the usual low level criminals? And occasionally, something bad happens with the drugs in question, sometimes law enforcement loses track. Are you arguing that the whole approach is flawed? Or just the execution?

    steve (369bc6)

  3. Steve, you’re stretching. The guns can be traced up to a point, then take them away.

    I’m still puzzled about the Obama administration. Can simple incompetence explain all the actions of this clown show or is malevolence also involved?

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  4. Was steve’s comment a parody?

    JD (306f5d)

  5. JD,

    He sounded serious to me.

    Patterico (83106c)

  6. yep, serious. JD, care to point out any specific complaint?

    While the administration of the program may have been incompetently handled (like, as Mike refers, letting them escape tracking), it’s a stretch to tag the ‘Obama Administration’ for the incompetence at a level way down the org chart (yes, I know the left did the same to Bush II but that doesn’t make it right). Put the blame where it belongs, on the misguided bureaucrats that designed and implemented the program.

    steve (369bc6)

  7. How far down the org chart is Janet Incompetano? Wasn’t she the one who was talking about stopping the flow of guns to Mexico? According to her that’s that her responsibility? And who appointed her?

    ∅ (e7577d)

  8. It was a relatively small percentage, and it is not like Mexico was violence-free to begin with. Good Allah. That you even try to draw an equivalence between Mexican crime lords getting US Barrett 50-cals with ATF’s blessing and US gun control laws should give you a good starting point to see where your argument goes off the rails. How many is acceptable to you? How many is unacceptable? Is there a certain percentage?

    JD (29e1cd)

  9. The administration has tried to criminalize the private sale of firearms, (something the President aided by his directorship with Ayers of the Joyce
    foundation, in an earlier incarnation) one would like to know how many weapons were involved in this
    ‘tracking’ effort.

    narciso (bcb6cc)

  10. I agree with steve.

    Yes, it still amazingly incompetent and inconsistent that Obama is putting guns in the hands of people shooting our law enforcement, while his administration orders law enforcement to stand down or defend themselves with bean bags. It’s an absolute disgrace, and should be front page news.

    However, any particular gun probably isn’t the cause of any particular murder for these killers, who would have obtained a different weapon. By all means we should hold Obama and his BATF responsible for a very wide array of terrible policies and weak enforcement and also a larger tone of dismissing the seriousness of our border. I do think it’s fair to say this entire system of BS is responsible for the border being unsafe.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  11. , it’s a stretch to tag the ‘Obama Administration’ for the incompetence at a level way down the org chart

    I disagree with steve on this point, however.

    The border is a serious issue that Obama has opined on many times. This mess is completely his responsibility.

    Remember, when a state tried desperately to do something about their border, Obama leaps into action very quickly to stop them. He has taken this responsibility in every way a person can, aside from actually doing the job.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  12. Steve say: “(I’m guessing) the number of guns ‘allowed’ into Mexico is a small relatively small number/percentage of guns flowing into Mexico. And it is an even smaller percentage of the guns the cartels have available for use. It isn’t as if Mexico would be violence free if not for the guns the ATF allowed into the country.”

    Since you are a guesser, care to guess why Obama won’t release his original, long-form birth certificate, steve?

    And: “You’re coming close to aping the gun control argument ‘so and so would be alive today if only we took guns off the street’.” No we aren’t. You’re coming close to aping the Obama Administration’s charge that guns must not be sold in the Southwestern U.S. anymore because they all end up with Mexican cartels. Constitution anyone?

    And: “Isn’t the basic concept of what is being alleged similar to what is used in drug cases, where drugs are ‘allowed’ to move around while being monitored by law enforcement in hopes of snaring more than the usual low level criminals?”
    No, The concept is not similar. Guns and drugs are very different things. For example, the agents in the field seem to be bewildered by the decision of their superiors to let the guns “walk” while they are probably familiar with letting drugs walk to catch a bigger fish.

    There you go, a few specific complaints.

    Fred Beloit (3f1b2d)

  13. That you even try to draw an equivalence between Mexican crime lords getting US Barrett 50-cals with ATF’s blessing and US gun control laws

    I think I’m still on the rails, there isn’t much difference between (what I take to be) Pat’s claim and the arguments advanced by gun control groups, that such and such a death would have been prevented if only the rules were such (policy in this case) so as to have kept this (and other) gun off the street.

    steve (369bc6)

  14. No we aren’t. You’re...

    that’s a rebuttal? And Obama’s birth certificate?

    steve (369bc6)

  15. So, steve, how many is too many? How many is acceptable?

    It is shocking that you do not seem to grasp the difference between letting Mexican cartels get Barrett 50-cals with ATF’s blessing, and restrictions on 2nd Amendment Rights for law abiding US citizens.

    JD (306f5d)

  16. JD – excellent point. So all we have to do is modify our gun control laws so that they only apply to criminals and not law abiding US citizens. This will just automagically remove the guns from the criminals hands! Wow – this sounds just like an idea the Obama administation can get on board with.

    bruce (7aad57)

  17. steve: “that’s a rebuttal? And Obama’s birth certificate?”
    Care to point out any specific complaint, steve?

    Fred Beloit (3f1b2d)

  18. bruce, JD is just saying it’s ridiculous that our government knowingly let guns go to criminals. He’s not asking for draconian gun control laws. There’s an element of common sense that is lacking.

    It’s clear that a lot of federal government policies do not take the border control issue seriously. There are dismissive and arrogant attitudes about the problem, and it’s sad to see that come to a head sometimes, such as bean bag defenses against sniper rifles we provided to criminals.

    Steve’s right that these people would have gotten a gun anyway, but a lot of the border problem seems preventable. Every stupid little thing is politicized by this administration.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  19. Fred – Obama’s long form is no longer available because Bush and Cheney gave it to the second gunmen in Dallas in 1963 as advance payment for hiring the supposed 9/11 terrorists who were actually smuggled into the country back in the ’50s in Roswell NM by aliens.

    bruce (7aad57)

  20. I will ask you the same question then, “bruce”. How mnay Barrett 50-cals should ATF let go to the Mexican crime lords? How many is too many?

    JD (0d2ffc)

  21. I personally have seen how well gun control laws work in places like Chicago. Only the criminals have guns.


    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  22. bruce, I don’t see the relevance of Obama hiding ihs birth certificate either. But Ace of Spades was right when he noted this is a stain on Obama and no one else. It’s not like the right has to explain Obama’s weird secrecy for his benefit. The saddest thing about that issue is that he’s probably hiding the documentation for a cynical political benefit, in hopes of creating agitation and embarrassment for those who find it suspicious.

    I think we can all agree that this is extremely unpatriotic and says a lot about Obama’s lack of character.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  23. Did they not learn the lesson of the Zetas, the former Mexican special forces trained units, that went on to work for the Cartels, and eventually cut out the competition

    narciso (bcb6cc)

  24. Does any one know when this program was started?

    SaintGeorgeGentile (8c5894)

  25. Did anyone in the Administration think of ordering these guns to be tampered a to misfire or jam….

    just wondering – I mean that would be one way of cleaning alittle house over yonder

    EricPWJohnson (967261)

  26. I personally have seen how well gun control laws work in places like Chicago

    Are you suggesting that our soon – to – be – former mayor wasn’t right when he gestured at a few captured illegal guns and exclaimed to a questioner (who wanted to know just how effective those gun control laws were) that “you want I should shove this gun up your ass?!!” Awesome refutation, that.

    Dmac (b9fd74)

  27. Misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance. Why are these fools still carrying Federal employment IDs?

    htom (412a17)

  28. Baracky Lied! Mexicans Died!

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  29. steve,

    CBS News reports the ATF in Phoenix observed one group purchase 359 weapons in March 2010 alone, including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.” The implication is that all of them ended up in Mexico. Do you really consider that a “relatively small number”? If so, multiply it by 12 months and then add on the fact that the Obama Administration’s ATF is operating Project Gunrunner in Texas, too.

    Furthermore, apparently there was no plan to trace the guns in Mexico and they didn’t even tell the Mexican authorities about it. I can’t see any way this is defensible. As the ATF agent said, it’s insane.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  30. Once again we see the law enforcement attitude towards a war.

    It’s more important to ATF bigwigs to build a big case than it is to minimize the flow of weapons across the border.

    Stopping them one at a time is not as glamorous as a big bust, but with the money the drug artels have, no big bust will stop the flow of arms fdor more than a week or two – a new network will pop up.

    If they’re serious, it’s all about launching a full-court press against straw buyer transactions – and from what I’ve heard, the gun shops have been very cooperative, but look what it’s lead to.

    Doug in San Diego (ef3109)

  31. Frankly, this doesn’t sound nearly as bad as the Clinton Administration leaking plans for a “nuke” to Iran. It was supposed to be a “flawed” design, but when reviewed by the phyiscist for hire from Russia, the flaws were quickly identified and corrected.

    Neo (bf158b)

  32. The ATF let these guns into Mexico, telling gun dealers who reported the suspected straw sales to sell the guns, at the same time that the Democrats and the Obama administration were claiming that these evil Texas gun dealers were the problem.

    That’s the point even more than the usual utter incompetence of the ATF.

    The whole point is that the Obama administration is in part creating the problem that they want to “solve”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. This totally reminds me of the show Arrested Development. If you recall, a central plot point was that the incompetent Bush administration attacked the family Bluth over purported dealings with Iraq.

    Now we find out that the Obama administration is telling gun sellers to allow illegal purchases to take place and eventually flow into Mexico. Once again, the satire of Republicans is the reality of the Democrats.

    bskb (3a53fe)

  34. But DRJ, it is no big deal, as it was a relatively small number of Barrett 50-cals, and it is not like it wasn’t violent before this happened. Perspective.

    JD (0d2ffc)

  35. ONCE AGAIN the gang that couldn’t shoot straight is allowing someone else to do the shooting for them.

    Icy Texan (4f6850)

  36. I know you’re being sarcastic, JD, but it’s hard for me to stay calm about this. Even if we assume the Obama Administration did this out of ignorance instead of with a bad intent (and I’m finding it hard to assume that), it appears the Mexican people are paying a devastating price. We’ve seen how Mexican violence has skyrocketed during the past year and now, as this Dallas Morning News’ writer puts it so well:

    “[The] ATF deliberately allowed deadly military-style assault rifles, pistols and even .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifles to cross the border and reach the hands of some of the most crazed mass murderers on the planet.”

    DRJ (fdd243)

  37. Another example of the need for Patterico’s cross-examination of news stories-

    It seems to me I remember at one point Obama was trying to defend lax security of the border by blaming the problem on the US, that if US guns were not making their way to Mexico there would not be a problem, so it was not that critical to monitor traffic from Mexico into the US.

    Was that indeed true? (I see plenty of hands out there, I do, I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles…….oh yeah)

    So now we have this story…It makes no sense except lots of things that are true make no sense.

    At least make them defective like EPWJ said and trace them with an RFID chip or something. But they wouldn’t do that just like they wouldn’t flood the IED parts market with defective chips.

    At least some of the forced labor in Nazi camps figured out how to make “high-tech” (for the time) components faulty (without it being too obvious).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  38. DRJ, the one thing I will give the Obama administration is that MOST of the things they do is a direct result of ignorance.

    The other things they do out of arrogance.

    Icy Texan (4f6850)

  39. To fully explain to steve but I think he understands:

    This could have been a standard undercover operation. Put tracers, trackers, or marks on the guns. Work with trusted members of the Mexican government. Circulate small numbers of guns from controlled sellers – undercover sellers from the BATFE. Swoop in and grab higher level people when they can be caught with the high-level hardware.

    But that was scrod up at every level. No tracers. No working with the Mexican government (who likely couldn’t have kept it secret from the cartels). The number of weapons and the type of weapons sold are way too high and way too dangerous. After they got into Mexico they were untracked until they showed up in some of Mexico’s crime statistics.

    So it’s incompetent crap as an undercover operation and breaks every possible rule of same.

    And considering the propaganda that came out at the same time linked to it, one can only presume that the whole thing is intended as a propaganda operation, not an undercover criminal organization.

    The BATFE has a history of doing/being used for such activities – see Operation Showtime.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  40. I think it’s clear. Obama hates Mexicans.

    Rookdick (cd6b1d)

  41. I’m sorry. I forgot part. I think it’s clear. Obama hates Mexicans as much as he dislikes Americans.

    Rookdick (cd6b1d)

  42. has bumblef ever actually gone to Mexico even once in his whole goofdick life?

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  43. My jaw just hit the floor.

    Newtons.Bit (922da8)

  44. If president 43 did this what would be the reaction on the Left?Moreover,this is another circle of hell that this President and his Cartel puts the American people through on a daily basis.

    MIKE191 (3036b3)

  45. While I’m on a rant, why are we arming the cartels but sending American law enforcement agents to Mexico unarmed?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  46. Icy,

    I wish they were simply incompetent but I don’t think that’s the case.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  47. #32. Finally. It took 32 comments for someone to finally make the obvious point. All of you others got distracted flailing against Steve’s very logical comment that this is unlikely to have done any actual harm. Brian Terry would be just as dead if none of this had happened, and in competent hands this sting might have actually done some good. But the point of all this is that the dealers to whom these guns were traced, and whose names the Obama administration dragged through the mud and threatened with criminal charges and the loss of their livelihood, have been exonerated.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  48. BS. You do not have to show actual harm to know that it is stupid and insane and incompetent for the ATF to allow a bunch of AK’s and Barrett 50-cals into the hands of murderous crime syndicate hands.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  49. I agree SPQR made a good point, Milhouse, but the American gun dealers have not been exonerated. In fact, the Dallas Morning News link specifically reports that three men in the Dallas area have been arrested for selling guns with obliterated serial numbers that ended up in Mexico. The ATF may have let these purchases go through but that doesn’t make all of them legal, nor does it shield legal gun dealers from bad PR.

    Furthermore, do you really think the Obama Administration won’t trumpet new statistics that claim more and more American guns are showing up in Mexico? Do you honestly believe there will be a footnote about Operation Gunrunner on that government report?

    Finally, Brian Terry’s death may or may not have been caused by one of these guns — we don’t know yet — but a bad guy had a gun that the ATF made it much easier for him to get.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  50. Milhouse and steve,

    Just because I think it’s a bad idea to give Mexican cartel members high quality guns, that doesn’t mean I also think we should have gun control. There is a middle ground: Our government shouldn’t intentionally put unrestricted military grade guns in the hands of murderers.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  51. DRJ, if the gun store dealers told ATF that they had straw purchasers in the store, and the ATF told them to go forward in cooperation with an investigation, then how are the gun store dealers the bad guys?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  52. Meanwhile the Border Patrol was lying to the public about the exact same incident with respect to the stupid Border Patrol policies that got Terry killed.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  53. SPQR,

    You and Milhouse are right and I am wrong because I used the terms carelessly. The government arrested men for selling and transferring guns they bought from gun dealers so that makes them resellers, not dealers. But I still believe the government will gloss over the gun dealers’ role in these transactions. Instead of pointing out how the dealers alerted the government to strawmen purchases, I suspect they will fall victim to PR blame for selling guns that ended up in Mexico.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  54. Agreed, DRJ, because that fits the dishonest PR that the ATF engages in historically. A very scummy agency.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  55. SPQR



    If the background checks clear on these purchases – its not on the gun dealers, but who’s checking volumes of purchased weapons by individuals ideally in border states?

    EricPWJohnson (967261)

  56. ______________________________________

    Meanwhile, Obama is praising Mexico for “courage” in the drug war.\

    The president then said, “Their courage should make us ashamed of ourselves. We must realize that the state of Arizona is therefore mean and bigoted. That anti-illegal-immigration sentiment is mean and bigoted. That an unwillingness to embrace the undocumented is mean and bigoted–and unfair too. So I hereby declare the border between the US and Mexico null and void! Hugs and kisses to all!”

    Mark (411533)

  57. EricPWJohnson, the ATF. Duh.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  58. “Who knows how much violence has increased due to the new availability of thousands of assault rifles and other powerful weapons?”

    Probably not much. The homicide rate in Mexico is lower now than it has been in the past.

    The homicide rate in the 1980s was about 20 per 100,000 population, by the mid-2000s it had dropped to around 10 per 100,000. The last two years it jumped back up to around 15 per 100,000, which is about the same as it was throughout the 1990s.

    Overall, looking at the long haul, the homicide rate in Mexico has been falling pretty steadily for quite some time, which indicates that things are getting less violent there, despite all the attention the drug wars are getting in the American media at this time.

    Despite the blather put out by the Gun Control loons, there is basically no correllation between availability of weaponry and societal violence.

    Dave Surls (b3b17e)

  59. Given the source, I’m not vouching for this being accurate, but:
    The ATF said in a statement today that neither gun recovered at the scene appears to be the weapon that killed Terry, and they may simply have been left behind by the criminals. “At this time, we’re not aware of any forensic evidence that would link these guns to the homicide,” the agency said.

    (from here)

    kishnevi (225b9d)

  60. Dave Surls,

    I don’t know about national statistics but border violence in places like Juarez is increasing:

    An analysis of crime statistics provided by has found that violence just across the southern border of the United States is increasing at a terrifying rate. In fact, the murder rate in Ciudad Juarez increased 40 percent in February 2011 over the same month the previous year: A total of 229 people in the city were executed in just one month, up from 163 in the same time period in 2010.

    Wouldn’t the border areas be where many of these guns would end up?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  61. EricPWJohnson, NICS is prohibited from retaining records beyond certain periods by law to prevent it from becoming a registration system. Not all states use NICS, some states use their own criminal records systems e.g., Colorado. I don’t know which of the border states use NICS and which do not. Note that the whole point of the story is that the gun stores reported problems to the ATF.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  62. #52, no, it was not the Border Patrol lying about Agent Terry’s death, it was Border Patrol management. Never mind tha the entire population of the rank and file (you know, the boots on the ground) of the Border Patrol voted “no confidence” in management.

    I find it ironic that Obama would pander to Calderon while allowing Eric (My people) Holder to file suit against Arizona who is suffering from Obama’s refusal to control our border just as my state of Texas. Calderon complains about the number of guns flowing into Mexico from the U.S. but like his predecessor, the Asshole, Vicente Fox, never says one word about the American lives that are lost due to the drugs he allows to flow into the U.S.

    Meanwhile, Mexico puts troops on its southern border to protect it from those violent Hondurans.

    This Administration will go down as the “Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” This is blatant ineptness on display. Once those guns enter Mexico, they were basically gone. No way to trace them in a nation where corruption runs rampant. So the blame lays at Obama’s feet because these department heads (like Janet Napolitano) were appointed by him.

    So tell me, how many Texans have to die because of fools Obama appointed? How many Arizonans? How many New Mexicans? And why are we giving Mexico so damn much money in foreign aid?

    Agent Terry is dead due to incompetence and anyone who doesn’t see that is just as dimwitted as the occupant of the Oval Office.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  63. kishnevi,

    Thanks for an interesting link. I don’t know about that group, either, but another article said:

    “ATF supervisors allowed more than 1,700 guns to flow to straw buyers with the expectation the weapons might cross the border and even be used in crimes.”

    In addition, as you stated, the article you linked said the ATF announced that neither gun recovered at the scene appears to be the weapon that killed Terry. However, I can’t find any indication as to who at the ATF said this. Here is the only ATF press release I found on this matter. As you note, that makes it hard to evaluate.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  64. EricPWJohnson, I’m aware of the NICS website having had several interactions with the CBI over clients’ denials.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  65. Having worked narcotics for a period of time, we frequently let dope “walk” to solidify our position and to see who and where the crooks went, but we never did this with weapons….For the obvious reason.

    Patrick (de800c)

  66. DRJ, I’ve found that disbelieving ATF press releases is more reliable than believing them.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  67. Just a guess but in all probability the guns allowed to walk into Mexico likely contained a tracking device that would reveal its location, hopefully near high value targets at the top of the drug cartel food chain. .50 cal sniper rifles are not only extremely deadly weapons, but status symbols.

    Can’t think of any other reason to let these gems into the hands of the bad guys.

    Corky Boyd (d787be)

  68. “I don’t know about national statistics…”

    Well, I do know, and the homicide rate in Mexico is lower now than it was 30 years ago.

    I also know this: There is no positive correllation between homicide rates and the imposition of gun control. On the contrary, the more gun control laws you pass, the higher the homicide rate you have.

    Trying to restrict the flow of guns across the border as way of dealing with violence on the border ain’t going to work. All that is is a form of gun control, and gun control is a proven failure.

    In the U.K. they’ve essentially completely outlawed private ownership of firearms, and it’s a criminal offense there to carry ANY kind of weapon for the purposes of self-defense.

    And, you know what? The homicide rate in the U.K. is higher now than it was in 1900 when there was pretty much no such thing as gun control (except maybe for some local laws).

    Same for the United States. Here’s the homicide statistics for the last 100 plus years.

    We’ve passed thousands and thousands of gun control laws, and it hasn’t done a damned thing to lower homicide rates. On the contrary, the homicide rate is a lot higher now that it was in 1900. Homicide rates rise and fall, but the rise and fall has absolutely nothing to do with availability of weapons and, over the long haul, imposition of gun control makes murder rates rise, not fall.

    If you want to do something about societal violence, then gun control ain’t the way to go, and that includes trying to restrict the flow of guns across the border between the USA and Mexico.

    If you want to stop the gang violence in Mexico, then legalize drugs. That will probably work, and then you’ll probably see a resumption of the long term trend in Mexico, which is a steady decline in societal violence.

    But, trying to control the availability of weapons is a waste of time. That never works.

    Dave Surls (b3b17e)

  69. here is the nudder song about Mexico from back when running away to Mexico was a romantic and adventurous notion and not a wholly foolhardy and terrifying notion

    Change sucks.

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  70. I’m hearing speculation that this may have been kinda sorta meant to create the facts for the ‘guns are coming from America’ narrative, in order to undermine the ‘crime seeps in from Mexico’ one.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  71. Dustin, I think that would require a degree of co-ordination this administration gives no evidence of having. And it depends on how high up the chain of command in BATF and the Justice Deparment the operation was known about.

    To me, it sounds more like something a bureaucrat decided was a great idea, without bothering to think through how it would actually be implemented.

    kishnevi (225b9d)

  72. Dave,

    My point has nothing to do with gun control. The ATF intentionally allowed guns to be funneled to dangerous Mexican cartels. It’s the equivalent of handing a gun to murderers as they escape from prison, and you don’t have to believe in gun control to be against that.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  73. kishnevi:

    To me, it sounds more like something a bureaucrat decided was a great idea, without bothering to think through how it would actually be implemented.

    According to the CBS report Patterico linked:

    Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  74. So we have a failed state on our border supplying intoxicants to the willing and somehow the smartest people in the world can’t find a solution.

    And that’s not to excuse previous administrations. Immigration and crime are not interlocked problems except for politics.

    Ag80 (efea1d)

  75. kishnevi, I usually find that argument compelling. I’m not claiming they sat down at a drawing board and conspired so much as I think some who ordinarily would shoot down this kind of idea did not because they recognized the political advantage of this kind of problem.

    And let there be no doubt: Obama taught Rules for Radicals. The incredibly unpatriotic and cynical scheme for agitation and ugliness I describe is something many in his administration value and enjoy.

    I don’t believe they meant for anyone to get harmed or anything purely evil like that. I do suspect many in the administration were hopeful they could ‘prove’ that the USA is the source of crime on the border.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  76. And AG80’s right. Previous administrations didn’t handle Mexico well either. But they aren’t responsible for the Obama failure. The buck stops with him until 2012.

    Dustin (75f8e1)

  77. Oh come on people. The deliberate destruction of this country by the Kenyan Commie is so obvious it should bite you in the ARSE!

    Mary (ff7c81)

  78. Mary:

    Not interesting. Wrong blog. Thanks for playing.

    Ag80 (efea1d)

  79. The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico

    How many times were these guns found at the scene without the criminal at the scene either dead or arrested? Even if it happens once it is obvious that it was part of a strategy to indict the specific weapon. Whoever has something to gain by indicting the weapon is your criminal.

    j curtis (ccfad9)

  80. in the ARSE! is where it should bite you

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  81. Some perspective…
    The cartels, with the blessing by ommission of the ATF, purchased a few Barret M-82’s from gun-stores in TX and AZ
    (perhaps in NM, too – but not in CA since all .50BMG firearms are banned here under the Assault Weapons Ban, and you won’t find them in a gunshop).
    Let’s look at the numbers:
    The Barrett M82A1 currently sells for $9425.00!
    The world-wide Black-Market price for an AK-47 is less than $150.00.
    I doubt that the fragmentation grenades and rocket launchers from Korea that are popular with the Zeta’s and the other Cartel enforcers are much more expensive in the International Arms Market.
    Also, in the vaunted study that was done on captured weapons in Mexico, it was found that the guns that had been sold at retail in the U.S. that ended up at a crime scene in Mexico had a life of approx 10-years between those two events.
    The great majority of the “U.S. guns” that were found at Mexican crime scenes were military weapons sold to the Mexican Government, and that ended up in the hands of the Cartels – probably out the back door of an armory, or just walked when the soldier who was issued it deserted, or went home when his enlistment was up taking his gun with him.

    But, there is major-league hypocrisy in this by the ATF/White House with their vaunted program to stop the smuggling of arms from the U.S. into Mexico.
    If the “guns to Mexico” problem was so severe, the last thing the powers-that-be would be doing is to allow more guns to walk across the border –
    and this after these FFL’s did what the ATF has always asked us to do:
    Call immediately when you believe you have a “straw buyer” in your store attempting to make an illicit purchase!
    The FFL’s did what they had always been asked to do, and the ATF said:
    Never mind!

    AD-RtR/OS! (d6c711)

  82. An historical comparison…
    In the Mexican Revolution of a Century ago, one of the prized “trinkets” of the various Generalissimo’s was a Maxim Machine-Gun;
    the Barrett is today’s Maxim, Bling-wise!

    AD-RtR/OS! (d6c711)

  83. It is against the law for Federal Agents to break the law in order to catch criminals. If they arrest these gun smugglers on weapons charges, they will most likely get off because the Feds broke the law while pursuing the investigation. It is time the ATF is disbanded, at least the firearms branch. There is a continuing recurrence of unethical and illegal behavior by this bunch, Ruby Ridge, Waco to name a few. The have trod on the rights of legal gun owners innumerable times in pursuit of different administrations goals of disarming the American public and depriving them of their 2nd Amendment rights

    Boar Breath (125deb)

  84. The whistleblower feared for his life because of what he knew. That is why he went public in such an exaggerated way to make sure he was exposed and couldn’t be the next dead agent at a staged crime scene that advances Obama’s agenda.

    j curtis (ccfad9)

  85. I think this is part of Obama’s gun control strategy. Flood Mexico with guns, claim illegal gun sales are out of control in the US, and that stricter controls are necessary. How’s that for cynicism NYSlimes?

    eaglewingz08 (83b841)

  86. Today’s AP article agrees with steve and Milhouse that the Obama Administration’s gun-walking program, Operation Fast and Furious, represents a drop in the bucket of American guns flowing into Mexico. The article cites a Brookings’ study that claims 2,000 American guns a day cross the border into Mexico, and it also repeats the claim that 90% of all traceable guns found in Mexico are from the U.S. — although it adds that many guns are not traceable.

    The focus of the article is the danger to Mexico of American guns. It doesn’t mention the Obama Administration’s gun-walking program until the 15th and 16th paragraphs, calling it a program that is “building cases against [gun] traffickers.” Let’s assume this is true. The program has been in effect over a year, maybe two. I’m curious how many traffickers have been indicted to date as a result of tracking guns that were released by the ATF and taken to Mexico. The only report I’ve seen involves 3 men from the Dallas area, and they were only arrested because a gun one of them allegedly had (which may or may not have been on the ATF’s radar) was involved in killing Jaime Zapata.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  87. The Christian Science Monitor presents a different view:

    Many ATF officers were “anguished” over Operation Fast and Furious, saying it was inevitable that guns would be used to commit crimes, thus putting blood on the ATF’s hands.

    Agents feared that the guns “are going to be turning up in crimes on both sides of the border for decades,” ATF agent John Dodson, a whistleblower in the case, told the Center for Public Integrity’s reporting team. “With the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed … there is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”

    DRJ (fdd243)

  88. “So it’s incompetent crap as an undercover operation…”

    That depends on what is the Obama administration was trying to do.

    If they’re trying to break the Mexican drug gangs, then not one single thing they did makes the least bit of sense (as numerous ATF agents were saying right from the get-go). However, if the purpose of the Obambites was to flood Mexico with weapons manufactured or sold in the USA, and then have those weapons found at crime scenes and traced back to the USA, the Obama administration could use that as an excuse to reenact the so-called assault weapons ban (and, then in future years the gun-grabber liberals will extend that to a total ban on private ownership of firearms, once the political situation allows such a move), which they wanted to do in the worst way a couple of years back, but had to back off on due to the recent SCOTUS decisions on the 2A, and other factors.

    Personally, I think that’s exactly what the purpose of the operation was. The explanation offered by the government, frankly, doesn’t hold water. It’s pretty obviously total nonsense.

    Dave Surls (374a9d)

  89. Comment by DRJ — 3/5/2011 @ 12:01 pm

    My impression, from what I read, is that not a single arrest, much less a single conviction, can be attributed to this program.

    Comment by Dave Surls — 3/5/2011 @ 3:22 pm
    I’ll go with my “massive stupidity” theory unless and until further evidence comes in, mainly because I don’t think Obama and his immediate allies believe attempts at banning guns had any hope of success, even in a Democratic Congress. (That, ultimately, is what he meant by that “bitter clingers” remark.”)

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  90. ‘I’ll go with my “massive stupidity”’

    Nobody’s stupid enough to believe that you’re going to take down Mexican drug gangs by supplying them with thousands of weapons (that conveniently can be traced back to the USA).

    Not even liberals are that dumb.

    This was ordered from on high, somebody had an agenda when they put this program together…and it ain’t the agenda that the ATF and DOJ have presented.

    Dave Surls (ce67b1)

  91. Mr. Surls, you obviously haven’t dealt with some of the bureaucrats I’ve dealt with over the years. None of them happened to be in the BAFT or DOJ, but they indeed “stupid enough”.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  92. Today’s AP article agrees with steve and Milhouse that the Obama Administration’s gun-walking program, Operation Fast and Furious, represents a drop in the bucket of American guns flowing into Mexico.

    Neither Steve nor I said anything about American guns. This has nothing to do with how many American guns end up in Mexico. There are plenty of guns in Mexico already, and even if not a single American one made it over there in the past 10 years Mr Terry would still be dead. The incompetent ATF people who let the recovered gun “walk” there are not responsible for his death.

    The article cites a Brookings’ study that claims 2,000 American guns a day cross the border into Mexico, and it also repeats the claim that 90% of all traceable guns found in Mexico are from the U.S. — although it adds that many guns are not traceable.

    That figure is bullshit. It’s not just that many guns are not traceable, it’s also that the US only tries tracing those guns the Mexicans ask them to, which they only do when there are already grounds to believe that the gun came from the USA. Of those, some are traceable. And of the traceable ones, 90% came from the USA. Big deal. I’m actually surprised it’s not 100%; I don’t really understand how they’re able to trace any guns that didn’t come from the USA! Where did that 10% come from, and how were they able to trace them?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  93. Surely gun laws were broken in doing this?

    Can States prosecute Federal employees over this – like they would if persons acting as Federal agents had committed a rape or murder?

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  94. H/T- Instapundit (today)….

    ROBERT FARAGO: The Real Reason Why The ATF Smuggled Guns Into Mexico. “The amount of money—cash money—flowing in the drug trade is beyond your wildest imagination. Tens of billions of dollars. The Mexican drug lords have corrupted officials on both sides of the border, at the highest possible levels. Why not the ATF? Money talks, guns walk. Makes perfect sense.”

    What’s the old saying: Follow the money!
    We have agents from the BP, Customs, and others, now sitting in prison for accepting bribes from the Cartels, why not the ATF?

    So, it boils down to incompetence v. venality (or a combination of both).
    Either way, it is not reassuring.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  95. CBS News reports the ATF in Phoenix observed one group purchase 359 weapons in March 2010 alone, including “numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.”

    Funny that the ATF can cite an exact number – 359 – for the generalized class “weapons” but can make only a vague reference to “numerous” Barrett rifles. Call me a cynic, but I would suspect that the exact number may be a single digit. 2 even.

    Is anybody else here old enough to remember the 1960’s case which was a bit like the Clint Eastwood movie “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”?
    The feds allowed the legal sale of a 20 MM anti-tank gun to proceed even though alerted by a suspicious gun dealer. Agents conducted a stake-out, waiting for the criminals to pick up the device from a shipping office. When the shipping office closed for the night, the agents went home — whereupon the criminals broke in, stole the 20 MM and used it to shoot a hold in a safe.

    cm smith (d42a16)

  96. Milhouse:

    Neither Steve nor I said anything about American guns.

    I’m sorry if I incorrectly interpreted your comments as referring to American guns. I understood this excerpt from comment #47 as addressing the ATF gun-walking program Operation Fast and Furious:

    Brian Terry would be just as dead if none of this had happened, and in competent hands this sting might have actually done some good.

    Clearly, the program wasn’t in competent hands since it reportedly allowed guns to flow into Mexico without any restrictions or continued oversight. Maybe Brian Terry wasn’t killed as a result or maybe he was, but people are being threatened and killed by these guns and that’s wrong. I don’t have to be for or against gun control to be against stupidity.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  97. DRJ, the reason Terrye is dead is that the Obama administration gave the Border Patrol officers ludicrous rules of engagement.

    The reason I’m outraged at the ATF is that while the ATF was putting out press releases demonizing gun dealers in the US, they were instructing gun dealers to cooperate with the gun smugglers.

    The ATF has long ago established that it is an incompetent, corrupt, oppressive pack. This story only adds to our knowledge of that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  98. The ironic part is that I agree this may very well have been part of a larger plan to demonize guns and gun dealers. But not everyone would agree and we may never know for sure what the Obama Administration’s/ATF’s goals were. Nevertheless, I think most people should be able to agree this program was poorly designed and operated, and has some very real costs.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  99. “…we may never know for sure what the Obama Administration’s/ATF’s goals were…”

    They have so many hidden agendas, it may take Dean Wormer to unravel all the secrets.

    AD-RtR/OS! (4bbe00)

  100. Interesting:

    Rene Jaquez, a former ATF attache in Mexico City and deputy attache in Ciudad Juarez, said Monday that agents in Mexico did not have the resources to effectively run down gun smugglers.

    “I can tell you from my perspective as the former country attache in Mexico … that ATF has not taken seriously its role in the international affairs program as far as Mexico is concerned,” Jaquez said in an interview.

    Jaquez said ATF field offices in Mexico were so short-staffed that agents were either forced to spend most of their time on paperwork or didn’t have necessary backup to safely do street work.

    How many people have gone to jail compared to three years ago, when we had only three people there? The answer is none. There is no difference,” he said. “We have no prosecutions that have resulted from us being in Mexico City.”

    How many guns have we stopped from coming into the country? Well, this whole scandal shows we’ve probably allowed more guns into the country than guns we’ve stopped,” Jaquez said.

    Dana (9f3823)

  101. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should describe a convienence store, not a Federal agency. 😉

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  102. If anyone’s still reading this thread, I meant (and I assume Steve meant) that there are enough guns in Mexico that the addition of however many come from America makes no difference. If the ATF had not allowed this gun to “walk” over the border, Terry’s killer would have used a different gun. Therefore the ATF is not responsible for his death. And the “walk” operation itself was one that could in principle have worked, and if it had been handled competently it might have been worth doing. Of course asking competence from the Butchers of Waco is a bit much.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  103. The notion that Mexico is some sort of gun-free zone, and therefore that Mexican criminals need guns from America, is ridiculous. The fraudulent “90%” figure was invented to bolster that notion among the ignorant; but we know it isn’t true.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  104. Hmmm…wonder how that’s supposed to work without the Mexican government being invloved….how do you track the guns without agents illegally entering Mexico? your ignorant rants on this site do nothing to sway an intelligent mind. to cross into Mexico up until this very year the only check is by the mexican authorities…not american. i have personally seen the military checkpoints bust mexicans moving guns and cash and drugs….southbound vehicles are checked for guns and cash….northbound focuses on drugs. in spite of the gun laws in mexico there are many many guns that are not sporting shotguns or rifles {allowed) and most come from south of Mexico. improving the southbound border check by our own agents was eventually neccessary given there was absolutely no check in place for over 100 years other than an occasional stop into their version of “secondary” inspection. Usually, the only reason to stop is to declare anything youre transporting or to get your tourist visa. so…to “allow” is false.

    dspowell (24df5e)

  105. So, to sum it up….there has been no attempt by Bush, Clinton or any other american official UNTIL Obama to stop guns from entering Mexico….so to “allow” is more correctly phrased as to “attempt to follow”….Keep fanning the flames of ignorance with biased reporting and you end up with a wildfire out of control that achieves no good. ok …back on yer head s…the coffee break is over.

    dspowell (24df5e)

  106. So basically, dspowell cannot read?

    JD (7cb36b)

  107. Ummm…

    Who the f**k are you talking to, loony?

    You realize that the author of the post isn’t a fan of the program, right?

    Scott Jacobs (98018d)

  108. Another Obama fanboy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  109. Viva la che.

    Yes all hail the marxist who oppressed gays.

    Your predictable dspowell you gun grabbing ninny.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  110. ____________________________________________

    The following is less worrisome when we have a variety of wonderful leaders like Obama to the north, and a variation of politicians similar to what’s found in most American urban areas (ie, anyone of the left is given a million benefits of the doubt by most voters) to the south:

    Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2011:

    At least 177 corpses have been recovered in the last few weeks, most of them, officials now say, passengers snatched from interstate buses, tortured and slaughtered. Women were raped before being killed, and some victims were burned alive, according to accounts from survivors who eventually overcame their fears and came forward.

    The motives behind the bus kidnappings remain unclear. Gangs may seize the passengers hoping to extort money from them, to forcibly recruit them or because they are searching for rivals.

    The killings have galvanized an unusual if belated consensus, even among conservative commentators and politicians, that parts of Mexico have indeed been lost to criminal gangs such as the Zetas and the Gulf cartel that control (and are battling each other to dominate) the northeast.

    Even worse is the near-certainty that the police who are meant to be protectors have been involved. Among the more than 50 people arrested in connection with the latest killings are 17 local police officers accused of providing protection to the cartel gunmen believed responsible.

    ^ Coming to a US town or city near you?!

    “Progressives” in America should have their limousine-liberal instincts put to the test by their being required to spend a lot of time in Mexico. Better yet, those people should be required to move there.

    Mark (411533)

  111. and yes the left insists Klaus Barbie helped get Che Guevara captured.

    They had no proof whatsoever but they still insist that it is true.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  112. some genuinely marvellous work on behalf of the owner of this web site , dead outstanding articles .

    Lynetta Gheza (33056d)

  113. If the intent was to track the guns it would have been a simple process to imbed GPS tracking devices into the guns. This was not even attempted. Why not? The obvious intent was then to highlight the sale of guns without control to undermine the 2nd so that Obama could start to take away gun rights. The purpose of this is similar to what Hitler did, what Stalin did, what nearly every dictator does, taking away the people’s rights to defend themselves. Obama on down need to be held to account for murder, or the very least wrongful death and tried in criminal court.

    Bcorp (dcc10f)

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