Patterico's Pontifications


Feds Were Selling Guns to Cartels?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

That appears to be the latest Fast and Furious revelation: rather than simply having gun owners sell guns to straw buyers for the cartels, the feds were actually selling guns to them, and then losing track of the guns.

Has anyone fully looked into the Laredo office? Just curious . . .

50 Responses to “Feds Were Selling Guns to Cartels?”

  1. And how many government employees and officials have been arrested for this?

    johnnycab23513 (0a3e09)

  2. And how many mainstream media outlets have left no stone unturned looking into this — same answer.

    beer 'n pretzels (2f4b27)

  3. I’d look to the Oval Office before the Laredo office. Agencies of three different Departments do not coordinate on such a venture unless they are ordered to from higher ups. Bureaucrats are too risk adverse. And three cabinet secretaries don’t meet without the President being in on the meeting.

    rbj (9ae8d9)

  4. There was a report late Thursday that another cache of weapons destined for Mexico were discovered in Dallas.

    Perhaps they were doing this to improve our Balance of Trade deficit?
    Exports are good, right?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  5. The program, the responses to complaints from within ATF, the concealment from Mexican LEO and the interest at upper levels of DOJ and NSC shows that the only purpose of the program was to fraudulently create traceable weapons in Mexican crime scenes.

    The program was a fraud on the American public to justify fresh calls for more gun control by fattening up the already faked numbers of guns blamed on the US being found in Mexico criminal hands.

    That alone is an impeachable offense.

    Atop that, there are weird signs that the ATF wanted to put guns into the hands of a specific cartel. Its more vague why this is so, and it needs further investigation. Were we trying to buy influence in the Mexico crime families?

    Covering up a third rate political burglary was the end of Nixon’s presidency. What should be the consequences of covering up an illegal gun smuggling operation traceable to hundreds of deaths in the US and Mexico? Who died in Watergate?

    SPQR (26706b)

  6. Losing track of the guns? Really? Like, oops – I didn’t see where that one went, sorry?

    I thought the agents were ordered not to follow them.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  7. Oh, and Patterico, I must object to one statement of yours. You wrote “and then losing” track of the guns. The program had no way, and obviously was never intended, to track the guns once they left the US. That’s why its clear that this program had no legitimate law enforcement purpose.

    SPQR (26706b)

  8. I think this is the issue Dem leaders are going to use to get rid of Holder, and then, more importantly to keep Obama from running for re-election. But they’ll need to sort of keep a semi-lid on it until the Republican nominee is a little more closely nailed down so they’ll know which emergency Dem to run. I have a feeling in my bones about this–that Obama is going to be thrown under the bus by his own party as a last ditch effort to keep him from doing even more permanent damage to their electoral chances and survival as a party.

    There must be hundreds more horrified agents and local LE out there (including some in Mexico) who are chomping at the bit to tell their stories.

    elissa (b569d6)

  9. Amen, SPQR. The MFM still gives this less coverage than Levi Johnson.

    JD (318f81)

  10. Selling guns and tracking them to find Mexican drug kingpins is only a cover story, and an obviously flimsy one at that. But, it’s all they’ve got and they’re stuck with it.

    It’s one stinker of an absurd excuse, every bit as stupid as the claim that ObamaCare would lower health care costs, or that Stimulus money would create (or save) jobs, or that Cash for Clunkers would save the US auto industry.

    But, as usual, the Obama tyranny needed a red herring to distract attention away from their real plan to flood Mexico with traceable guns unmistakeably sold at retail in US gun shops as an excuse to crack down on 2nd Amendment rights and start grabbing guns.

    It’s actually a Waco style gambit all over again with most of the same dirty bastards in it up to their chinny-chin-chins. ATF taking the lead but working in cahoots with the FBI, a corrupt Attorney General hiding evidence of a murderous government plot and covering up tracks back to Hillary Clinton lurking around in the shadows. Only this time it’s a dead Border Patrol agent and a few hundred Mexicans and not a White House lawyer dead before his time.

    ropelight (4d4672)

  11. Comment by SPQR — 9/30/2011 @ 9:43 am

    Tracking them in Mexico – Impossible as instituted.
    Tracking them within the U.S. – Agents were specifically ordered to not follow buyers.
    In no case were electronic tracking devices employed.
    This was all about politics, and bolstering the “90% Mexican Crime Guns…” meme.

    And, the only thing that died at the Watergate was the reputation of Richard Milhouse Nixon.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  12. JD,

    I think Sharyl Atkinson of CBS News Investigates has single-handedly helped bring this to the forefront of the news. She really has been tenaciously following the story and bravely going where no other MSM outlet would dare to, such is their loyalty…

    Her frequent postings continue to put pressure on Congress and the DOJ as it exposes the depth and breadth of knowledge the Administration had regarding this scandal and makes it harder for denial and cover.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  13. I’m more interested in where the money went. If it didn’t go into a lockup somewhere as evidence, then it went into somebody’s pocket. Whose?

    mojo (8096f2)

  14. Couldn’t they have at least disabled the weapons? Replaced the firing pins with a reactive metal or something?

    This is so much firepower. It’s almost enough to completely arm an infantry brigade. It’s not some tiny drop in the bucket, but a change in the level of violence.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  15. Dana, taking nothing from Ms.Atkinson, but I can only think that she’s a reader of since they’ve been on this early and hard.
    She is notable for bringing it into the MSM, but it’s been out there for a long while.

    In January of this year, nobody was paying attention when two lone reporters first broke the story of the Gunwalker scandal and began a series of disclosures that would eventually capture the attention of several mainstream news outlets. But ATF officials paid close attention. An internal ATF email from January 20 indicates that the agency feared early reports of the scandal.

    National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea had written an open letter on January 19, 2011 to the Senate Judiciary Committee informing them of the scandal…”

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  16. ==Couldn’t they have at least disabled the weapons?==

    Not if the whole point was chaos and dead bodies that, for political purposes, could be blamed on American guns.

    elissa (b569d6)

  17. More agents, AUSAs, and employees need to come forward with what they know. They’re probably afraid of losing their jobs but, at this point, they should be more worried about being prosecuted.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  18. Codrea and Sipsey Street Irregulars

    SPQR (0e910d)

  19. Nobody knows who authorized this program in Washington. It materialized out of thin air. That’s the party line and they are all sticking to it, so far.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. A contrast that shows just how crazy this President is – a car dealer offers a free AK with a car purchase, and the ATF show up. He shows its legal because all he gives them is a voucher good at a local Federal Firearms Licensee gun dealer.

    They then demand – without authority – that he show up at the ATF office with all his personal guns for an audit. When he asks if they have anything better to do than harass him, he’s told by the ATF agent:

    “She said: ‘Let me tell you how important this is, the White House started their morning with a briefing on you. We got a call from Washington, D.C. this morning. They wanted you checked out,”

    Read the full story.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  21. i seriously doubt the ATF has the ability to “audit” one’s personal firearms unless you are either a licensed collector or an FFL holder.

    and i can see them telling you to bring all your guns to their office, only to arrest you for bringing a firearm on to federal property.

    let’s face it: “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms” ought to be a convenience store, not a federal agency.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  22. redc1c4, they certainly do not have the authority unless you are an FFL of some kind.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  23. A bank in CO was featured in Michael Moore’s film on the Columbine Massacre over this issue.
    They were giving you a Weatherby hunting rifle for opening a jumbo CD.
    All perfectly legal, as all you get is a voucher which you take to the participating gunstore (FFL), who then runs the paperwork.
    One would expect that WH staff would be somewhat current on events, or at least the ATF would be able to say “been there, done that”, but this is the Obama Administration we’re talking about.
    I’m surprised that these people can remember what they had for breakfast in the afternoon.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  24. DOJ considering eliminating ATF?

    Long past time. But don’t hold your breath.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  25. “Who died in Watergate?”


    But a slimy rat by the name of Daniel Ellsberg, the Dems who helped him, and a scumbag FBI agent by the name of Mark Felt should have.

    Well, too late to fix that now.

    Dave Surls (28f866)

  26. SPQR, they’ll just parcel out the pieces to various other offices, and come up with new acronyms, but the people holding down the desks will remain, and there’s the rub.
    What we truly need is a finding by SCOTUS that the GCA-68 is beyond the scope of the Federal Govt due to the 2nd-A
    (and the same on NFA-34, too – since it’s reasoning is highly dubious;
    Seriously, how can a short-barrelled shotgun not be a weapon with military usefullness?
    Whoever wrote Miller was a moron!).

    But, one step at a time.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  27. SPQR,

    Very interesting article about eliminating the ATF and I’m not against it, but I think Obama and Holder would be fools to do it. The last thing they need is some bitter former ATF employees and potential whistleblowers who have first-hand information on what happened and how high it went.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  28. From SPQR’s link…

    “Up to this point, the Department of Justice has denied all allegations or involvement in Operation Fast and Furious…”

    So a bunch of low level guys decided all by their lonesome to set their own policy and to help provide thousands of guns to murderous Mexican gangsters?

    Hardy har har.

    Dave Surls (28f866)

  29. Dave, it’s a secret government within the government running a black-ops program with the highest level of deniability, since only a small bunch of middle managers knew about it at:
    As you can see, this was a very closely held program.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  30. Well, maybe not CBS, as they’ve actually published something on it. But, everyone else is conspicuous by their silence.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (652ab2)

  31. DRJ, indeed, it would not help them.

    Dave Surls, the administration – not least Eric Holder – have been caught in a multitude of brazen lies in this.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. White House coverup too.

    [note: released from moderation. –Stashiu]

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. Attkisson has a new F&F chapter out following a Friday afternoon document dump.

    WASHINGTON – Late Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation into the ATF “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.

    The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O’Reilly are long time friends.

    One administration source says White House national security staffers were “briefed on the toplines of ongoing federal efforts, but nobody in White House knew about the investigative tactics being used in the operation, let alone any decision to let guns walk.”

    elissa (b569d6)

  34. “Dave Surls, the administration – not least Eric Holder – have been caught in a multitude of brazen lies in this”

    Liberals lying???

    Color me surprised!


    Dave Surls (28f866)

  35. Liberals lying no frickin way. 😯

    What next you’ll tell me Jeneane Garofalo is butch?

    DohBiden (d54602)

  36. Thanks Stashiu, your efforts do not go unnoticed.

    SPQR (5ba888)



    DohBiden (d54602)

  38. The CBS article refers to lovely flow charts related to F&F which were submitted to, then mentioned and praised by the WH in emails. Just great work there, guys. This kind of crap “project” is what happens when people think they’re clever and anointed, and everybody else is stupid and expendable. Oh, the WH had to withhold some “confidential” documents, too.

    And apparently Kevin O’Reilly is “unavailable” to talk to Issa. (On assignment with the State Dept. in Iraq) I hope he’s old enough to remember Vince Foster and is looking over his shoulder wherever he is, because there can be danger lurking around every corner.

    Holder will be sacrificed soon, I predict. It’s getting harder to see how Dems can allow Obama to run again with this out there. It’s too sensational a story for the national media to resist for long. Watergate analogies are apt, except innocent people actually died because of F&F.

    elissa (752602)

  39. Re: Watergate.
    I don’t see anyone in this Admin with the backbone of a G.Gordon Liddy, willing to take the fall and keep his mouth shut because of a moral conviction that what he did was correct.
    These are children of the Left, who have been taught that everything is relative, and that the world is centered upon them – The Self-Esteem Generation – epitomized by The Boss in the WH.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5ac6ff)

  40. With respect to the newly uncovered flowcharts–

    Anyone here who has ever been part of an organization or in a bureaucratic hierarchy knows that the reason for flowcharts is ALWAYS to use them in presentations and reports to people higher up in the organization. Always.

    elissa (752602)

  41. obama knew what?
    and just when did he know it?
    hija de chinga……………… da!

    ColonelHaiku (a4b693)

  42. From pg. 73 of the emails:

    Also, not mentioned in these docs but VERY relevant to Mr. Brennan’s [I infer that to be counterterror advisor John Brennan] meeting next week is the fact that we and the USA were going to announce the indictment of a dozen “straw purchase” case addressing firearms trafficking by 30 individuals. We finally have the USAO here on board with going after “straw” purchasers and making a statement, publically especially, that we will take action against those folks. In reality we look at “straw” purchases as the lowest ring on the firearms trafficking ladder but in many investigations we need their cooperation in order to identify the real traffickers and middlemen. Having the USAO backing our “play” when we first interact with “straw” purchases adds tremendous leverage to our efforts to get the truth from them so we can work our way up the ladder.

    ian cormac (ed5f69)

  43. I could write a lot about what I’m reading here, but with only limited time available, let me say this.

    IMO, two culprits here in the boneheaded investigative strategy of the ATF is the fact that it’s ability to act is in large measure held hostage by the fact that the gun sales are tied to larger OCDETF investigations of Mexican cartels, and the fact that the multi-faceted Southwest Border Initiative tends to swallow up the individual investigative strategies of individual agencies.

    I’ll follow up on this as I have time today. But here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

    The arrow chart, IMO, tracks ALL sales of firearms, regardless of type, from FFLs in Arizona, which are later identified by serial numbers based on seizures in Mexico. The chart is not limited to simply those weapons that end up in Mexican crime scenes, nor does it mean that every firearm reflected by the arrow as “walked” by ATF — i.e., ATF monitored the sale transaction and then allowed the “straw buyer” to take the gun and traffic it across the border into Mexico.

    Its clear that ATF did engage in the latter two “tactics”, and I can see in some of these email exchanges the reasons for doing so.

    One that sticks out is the complaint about the US Attorney’s Office being unwilling to indict straw buyers unless there was evidence that the purchase of the weapon was part of a scheme to place the weapon with a DTO for illegal purposes. ATF rightly complains about this in one of the emails.

    This is the long email about the USAO wanting ATF agents to personally inspect the weapons in Mexico before it would indict the straw buyer in connection with the transaction. This requirement does put the ATF agents in a difficult position in terms of building a prosecutable case if you want them to intercept the straw buyer outside the gun store in order to prevent the gun from ending up in Mexico. Based on the email, it seems to me that the US Attorney’s Office was telling ATF they would not prosecute a straw purchaser under those circumstances. I don’t know what the rationale would be for that decision.

    I think this is where the case agents became uncomfortable — and tensions between agents and prosecutors are common in all types of cases on the issue addressed here: where the agent thinks there is enough evidence to make an arrest and take down the contraband, but the prosecutor is telling the agent that the evidence sufficient to make the arrest isn’t sufficient to gain a conviction at trial, so the agents need to do more. In this instance, “doing more” seems to be allowing the straw buyer to leave with the gun, with the hope/expectation that the gun would turn up with a Mexican DTO, thereby giving the prosecutor better evidence with which to prove the case.

    I can easily see ATF agents being very uncomfortable with this requirement, but being told by higher-ups that doing so was necessary to get the cases charged, and getting the cases charged was necessary to trying to “work up the latter” from the straw purchasers to the middlemen to the real buyers.

    It was the job of the US Attorney in Arizona to overrule his line AUSA who was requiring this much evidence from ATF. It seems to me that instead of doing that, he backed his line prosecutor in making this a prerequisite to charging the cases.

    And I think that is why the resignation of Dennis Burke as US Attorney a few weeks ago was the first “head to roll” here.

    shipwreckedcrew (757c1e)

  44. BRENNAN! Another step closer to the desk in the Oval Office.
    This mess encompasses State, Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, and myriad cubbyholes within them, and now the National Security Advisor to the President, which will lead to the DNI and CIA most likely.
    With this many subordinates involved, any deniability of the President to this matter is Not Plausible.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5ac6ff)

  45. Comment by shipwreckedcrew — 10/1/2011 @ 10:05 am

    Can you help?
    One of the first things I was taught a life-time ago in writing reports for distribution outside the immediate circle of intell, was that the initial mention of any organization/site/etc should give it its full name, followed by its acronym/abbreviation in parens. Then, you can freely use the acronym for the remainder of the report.

    Please, some consideration for those of us who don’t immediately pull up the ID of OCDETF, or DTO – I think all of us are up on ATF and USAO, but acronyms are an easy shorthand for govt-geeks, and tend to mystify those outside the circle.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5ac6ff)

  46. OCDETF — Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

    These are multi-agency task forces that receive funding from a budget passed by Congress independent of the individual agency budgets. They engage in long-term investigations of “organizations”, rather that individuals. The idea of naming “Operations” comes form OCDETF, as every enforcement initiative they conduct begins with an OCDETF proposal written by a case agent, which is then presented to the regional OCDETF oversight committee — usually headed by an AUSA who is an OCDETF attorney (based on his/her designation by the US Attorney in that particular OCDETF region). The investigation is accepted/rejected for OCDETF funding by the committee. If OCDETF funding is approved, that gives the agent access to a separate fund for “buy” money or funds for operational expenses for specialized equipment separate from his agency’s budget (which has many demands upon it). The OCDETF operations are monitored with 90 progress reports to the oversight committee. Unproductive OCDETF investigations are shut down by terminating funding, while productive investigations can go on for years.

    These kinds of investigations can include wiretaps, financial analysis, long-term surveillance, etc. That’s why the funding comes from a separate source — and individual investigation like this would punch a big hole in a lot of agency budgets, and without a separate source of funding, individual agencies probably wouldn’t green light them.

    So, where these gun purchases are tied up in larger OCDETF investigations that exist independent of the individual agency initiative (Gun Runner), the OCDETF priorities and goals usually trump because of the time and money that is being expended. An agent with a prosecutable case that might compromise the goals of an ongoing OCDETF investigation will be told that his case won’t be indicted until the OCDETF investigation is terminated, because the “discovery” in the smaller case would expose the existence of the OCDETF investigation.

    DTO — Drug Trafficking Organization.

    shipwreckedcrew (757c1e)

  47. You can Wiki “OCDETF” for more info.

    shipwreckedcrew (757c1e)

  48. monitored with 90 progress reports

    Did you mean to say “90-day progress reports”?

    Thank you for explaining the broad outlines of an OCDETF investigation/organization.
    I must admit that I did finally figure out what a DTO was.

    Whomever is appointed as a Special Prosecutor on this matter, and there will be such an appointment either before – or after – the Nov-’12 election, will be hauling people before Grand Juries from across a very wide spectrum of the Govt – which also could mean that the jurors will require security clearance (is that ever a problem?). It could very well be a circus.
    Should be very profitable for the Defense Bar in DC.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5ac6ff)

  49. Yes — 90 day reports.

    shipwreckedcrew (757c1e)

  50. ” Atop that, there are weird signs that the ATF wanted to put guns into the hands of a specific cartel. Its more vague why this is so, and it needs further investigation. Were we trying to buy influence in the Mexico crime families?”

    I read a few impressive yet not well known websites that showed USA embeds in cartels in Mexico – CIA or dark ops whatever they are, one headed one of the cartels – so this involves dark or undercover US forces as well – it’s a lot deeper than is being reported – and certainly Congress is having their closed secret sessions, and the MSM is using their national security excuse to keep it as mum as possible, all very convenient for the O DOJ.

    SiliconDoc (f00599)

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