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Thread: What, no "Project Gunrunner/Operation Fast and Furious?"

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    What, no "Project Gunrunner/Operation Fast and Furious?"



    for those that dont know or are across the pond:

    our awesome administration has the Dept of Justice, the ATF (firearms regulators), the DEA (Drug Enforcement), and the DHS (homeland security), running guns to Mexican Cartels, gangs like MS13, and various cities in the US. if the media would actually cover it, it would be bigger than Watergate but as the President is a Democrat... nothing.

    heres how it went down:
    a federal firearms license holder is supposed to use discretion in selling guns even if the person passed a back round check. well, what would happen is, people would enter gun shops, fill out forms, etc. hen said license holder would call saying things like "this person is buying x amount of firearms and im sure hes a straw purchaser." mr atf agent would tell them to sell the weapons anyways or wait until they could install something to track the weapon then give the weapons to said straw purchaser. little problem.. the atf has lost track of the majority and those weapons have been used in crimes including at least 150 mexican officers, the murder of a US border patrol agent, and other crimes.

    now, mr obama has an EO for reporting multiple purchases even though its his agencies that are running guns. he signed this EO (executive order) about 2 weeks after Gunrunner/Fast and Furious blew up.

    Note: theres a lawsuit in federal court over the multiple purchase requirement... something about equal protection and needing congress to pass laws and other minor inconveniences to the president..

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    But it is in the news and there is something being done about it.

    http://news.yahoo.com/justice-replac...220228729.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpitfireMK461 View Post
    But it is in the news and there is something being done about it.

    http://news.yahoo.com/justice-replac...220228729.html
    \ nothing but a token article about a high ranked official got fired but barely any on the rest of the why and how.

    i dont see a special prosecutor or a grand jury indicting them for blatantly breaking the law (yet). he still gets a nice cushy govt job too. its an attempt to say "look, we fixed it" and sweep it under the rug. if you look into the information thats now out there... it goes beyond Melson. especially considering the other agencies involved and the EO that was issued. ive been following this a long while. basically, melson blew the whistle on those above him and internal emails and other docs prove it goes higher when they tried to use him as a scapegoat a couple months ago.

    meanwhile, those doing the digging arent falling for it:
    While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn't offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department. There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels. I also remain very concerned by Acting Director Melson's statement that the Department of Justice is managing its response in a manner intended to protect its political appointees. Senator Grassley and I will continue to press the Department of Justice for answers in order to ensure that a reckless effort like Fast and Furious does not take place again."

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    I am sorry. This has been covered in the news. A simple internet search shows a lot of articles. NPR has covered this ever since the story broke.
    All I see in this thread and from some Republican law makers is an escalation of this story to try and pin it on the President. Politics as usual.
    Move along. Nothing to see here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Okaen View Post
    I am sorry. This has been covered in the news. A simple internet search shows a lot of articles. NPR has covered this ever since the story broke.
    All I see in this thread and from some Republican law makers is an escalation of this story to try and pin it on the President. Politics as usual.
    Move along. Nothing to see here.
    Exactly what the Obama administration wants, of course. Hide and hope it goes away. By those standards, we should forgive Colonel North for his little problems with congress.
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    GRtak's Avatar
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    This is not going away. Congress has requested all files about the incident from the White House. (Can't be arsed to look for source ATM) This investigastion still has wings, it is really just getting off the ground.
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    How our standards have slid. Nixon is reviled for fibbing about a simple break-in. Obama gets a pass for a program which paid for guns to be shipped to Mexican Drug Lords, who turned around and used them to kill Americans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Blade View Post
    How our standards have slid. Nixon is reviled for fibbing about a simple break-in. Obama gets a pass for a program which paid for guns to be shipped to Mexican Drug Lords, who turned around and used them to kill Americans.
    Right. Why don't you wait until there's any sort of evidence directly linking the White House to this before you start jumping to Watergate comparisons? As GRtak said, this investigation is ongoing.
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    By all rights I should have been in here from the beginning, but honestly I've been preoccupied.

    I will say this though, the federal government has lost all credibility when it comes to gun control.
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    How much did they have to begin with? I just want to know who the hell thought it was a good idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blind_Io View Post
    By all rights I should have been in here from the beginning, but honestly I've been preoccupied.

    I will say this though, the federal government has lost all credibility when it comes to gun control.

    And they continue to do so.

    http://forums.finalgear.com/politica...8/#post1771985
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    Emails show top Justice Department officials knew of ATF gun program



    Reporting from Washington— Senior Justice Department officials were aware that ATF agents allowed firearms to be "walked" into Mexico, according to a series of emails last year in which they discussed two undercover operations on the Southwest border, including the failed Fast and Furious program.

    In the emails that the department turned over to congressional investigators, Justice Department officials last October discussed both the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking surveillance operation in Phoenix and a separate investigation from 2006 and 2007 called Operation Wide Receiver. In Wide Receiver, which took place in Tucson, firearms also were acquired by illegal straw purchasers and lost in Mexico, the emails say.

    The term "gun walking" is central to the failure of Fast and Furious. Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them. But they lost track of more than 2,000 weapons, and the Mexican government says some of them have turned up at about 170 crime scenes there. Two were recovered at the scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent's slaying in Arizona in December.

    Justice Department officials have said repeatedly that they knew nothing of Fast and Furious tactics until ATF whistle-blowers went public this year with allegations that guns were being illegally purchased with the ATF's knowledge.

    Justice Department officials, who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing investigations into Fast and Furious, said that although senior department officials knew that guns were "walked" in the Wide Receiver investigation, they were unaware that ATF agents were using similar tactics in Fast and Furious.

    Jason Weinstein, deputy attorney general in the criminal division, brought up both cases in an October 2010 email, apparently concerned that they were going to overlap.

    "Do you think we should try to have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and [the] Tucson case are unsealed?" he asked about his boss, Lanny A. Breuer, head of the criminal division. "It's a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but it is a significant set of prosecutions."

    James Trusty, acting chief of the department's organized crime and gang section, responded, "I think so but the timing is tricky too."

    He said the Tucson case would be ready for indictments before Fast and Furious, and that "it's not clear how much we're involved in the main F and F case."

    Either way, he added that "it's not going to be any big surprise that a bunch of US guns are being used in MX, so I'm not sure how much grief we get for 'guns walking.' It may be more like, 'Finally they're going after people who sent guns down there' "

    Investigators working for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, view the emails as strong evidence that Justice Department officials knew about "gun walking" tactics in Fast and Furious.

    Fast and Furious ran from fall 2009 to January, culminating in charges against 20 people — none of them cartel leaders. It was unclear whether any indictments were issued in the Wide Receiver operation.

    July 2010 memos, part of weekly reports, discussed an illegal straw purchaser in Fast and Furious who bought 1,500 weapons "that were then supplied to Mexican drug-trafficking cartels."

    October and November memos said that "Phoenix-based 'Operation Fast and Furious' is ready for takedown" — several months before the investigation was officially closed.

    Copies of all of the memos were heavily redacted.

    Justice Department officials said Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. routinely received reports about myriad ongoing investigations around the country, and that the reports did not disclose that ATF agents were purposely "walking" the weapons. They said Issa received a similar Fast and Furious update last year.

    But congressional investigators said the memos suggested Holder had hedged what he knew.

    According to the emails, Holder was told generally about Fast and Furious in the memos in July, October and November 2010, well before he told congressional committees he had first learned of the program.

    On March 10, Holder testified before a Senate subcommittee that he had just learned about the Fast and Furious gun-walking allegations and had asked for the inspector general's investigation. "We cannot have a situation where guns are allowed to walk," he said.

    On May 3, he was asked by Issa when he first learned about Fast and Furious. "I'm not sure of the exact date," Holder testified. "But I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."

    Justice Department officials said Holder was referring to the date when he first learned about the operational details of Fast and Furious, not the program itself.
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    I forget which member of congress it was who commented on the AG's testimony and said that the AG either intentionally misrepresented the truth or "sufficiently incompetent" to not know what was in his weekly briefings.
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    GRtak's Avatar
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    And know they are moving people around to make it look like they are taking action, and to let the dust settle (or hide more wrong doing?).

    http://www.latimes.com/news/la-pn-at...,5179485.story

    ATF officials reassigned in latest Fast and Furious fallout


    Two top supervisors at ATF headquarters in Washington -- the deputy director and the assistant director for all field operations -- have been reassigned as the beleaguered agency attempts to remake itself amid the fallout from a failed gun-tracking operation along the Southwest border called Fast and Furious, according to two sources briefed on the changes.

    William J. Hoover, the No. 2 man at ATF, will become special agent-in-charge of the agency's Washington field office, while Mark Chait, who ran all of the field investigations around the country, is being reassigned as head of the Baltimore field office.

    Thomas Brandon, who was sent to Phoenix to run the field office there and help it recover from the repercussions of Fast and Furious, will be taking Hoover's spot as deputy director.

    The new assignments, along with other job changes, were announced today by Todd Jones, the U.S. attorney in Minneapolis who was named acting head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this year. He succeeded ATF chief Kenneth Melson, who was reassigned to a lower-level position in the Justice Department.

    Hoover had broad supervision over Fast and Furious, was given routine updates on the "gun walking" operation, and grew concerned over the number of firearms getting into Mexico without any U.S. indictments on this side of the border.

    He tried to get it shut down six months after it began in the fall of 2009. But he failed, and the program continued until January of this year. During that time, a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in Arizona and two Fast and Furious weapons were recovered at the scene.

    Under the program, the ATF allowed the illegal purchase of countless weapons and expected agents to track them to Mexican drug cartels.

    Instead, more than 2,000 were lost and many turned up in at least 170 violent crime scenes in Mexico.

    The furor has prompted a congressional investigation and a review by the Justice Department's inspector general's office.
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    This is not a new issue. Weapons supposed to be tracked, then seized or that already have been seized and supposed to be destroyed often turn up at another place in the hands of criminals.

    After the Yugoslavian wars of the nineties, the UN/NATO mission collected truckloads of AK-47s from local ex-militia. These guns were stamped, tagged and handed over to a company "specialized" in destroying weapons.These company promplty sold the guns on to Africa, where they were used to kill other UN and NATO personell, easy to recognize by the UN tagging.

    I don't really have to mention that the company responsible charged the UN mission a sizeable amount of money for the destruction of the guns?
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    New information about Operation Fast and Furious is coming to light that shows the accepted narrative of the "scandal", largely pushed by Republicans, to actually be a story perpetuated by misinformation and misrepresentation. The real issue involved a small, unfunded ATF squad divided by "petty arguments" and prosecutors that were unwilling or unable to go after straw purchasers.

    This is a long article so I will only post the introduction.
    The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

    A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.


    FORTUNE -- In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth's ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico's vicious drug war.

    Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.

    Voth, 39, was a good choice for a Sisyphean task. Strapping and sandy-haired, the former Marine is cool-headed and punctilious to a fault. In 2009 the ATF named him outstanding law-enforcement employee of the year for dismantling two violent street gangs in Minneapolis. He was the "hardest working federal agent I've come across," says John Biederman, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. But as Voth left to become the group supervisor of Phoenix Group VII, a friend warned him: "You're destined to fail."

    Voth's mandate was to stop gun traffickers in Arizona, the state ranked by the gun-control advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation's "weakest gun violence prevention laws." Just 200 miles from Mexico, which prohibits gun sales, the Phoenix area is home to 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. Billboards advertise volume discounts for multiple purchases.

    Customers can legally buy as many weapons as they want in Arizona as long as they're 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. There are no waiting periods and no need for permits, and buyers are allowed to resell the guns. "In Arizona," says Voth, "someone buying three guns is like someone buying a sandwich."

    By 2009 the Sinaloa drug cartel had made Phoenix its gun supermarket and recruited young Americans as its designated shoppers or straw purchasers. Voth and his agents began investigating a group of buyers, some not even old enough to buy beer, whose members were plunking down as much as $20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others.

    The agents faced numerous obstacles in what they dubbed the Fast and Furious case. (They named it after the street-racing movie because the suspects drag raced cars together.) Their greatest difficulty by far, however, was convincing prosecutors that they had sufficient grounds to seize guns and arrest straw purchasers. By June 2010 the agents had sent the U.S. Attorney's office a list of 31 suspects they wanted to arrest, with 46 pages outlining their illegal acts. But for the next seven months prosecutors did not indict a single suspect.

    On Dec. 14, 2010, a tragic event rewrote the narrative of the investigation. In a remote stretch of Peck Canyon, Ariz., Mexican bandits attacked an elite U.S. Border Patrol unit and killed an agent named Brian Terry. The attackers fled, leaving behind two semiautomatic rifles. A trace of the guns' serial numbers revealed that the weapons had been purchased 11 months earlier at a Phoenix-area gun store by a Fast and Furious suspect.

    Ten weeks later, an ATF agent named John Dodson, whom Voth had supervised, made startling allegations on the CBS Evening News. He charged that his supervisors had intentionally allowed American firearms to be trafficked—a tactic known as "walking guns"—to Mexican drug cartels. Dodson claimed that supervisors repeatedly ordered him not to seize weapons because they wanted to track the guns into the hands of criminal ringleaders. The program showed internal e-mails from Voth, which purportedly revealed agents locked in a dispute over the deadly strategy. The guns permitted to flow to criminals, the program charged, played a role in Terry's death.

    After the CBS broadcast, Fast and Furious erupted as a major scandal for the Obama administration. The story has become a fixture on Fox News and the subject of numerous reports in media outlets from CNN to the New York Times. The furor has prompted repeated congressional hearings—with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifying multiple times—dueling reports from congressional committees, and an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general. It has led to the resignations of the acting ATF chief, the U.S. Attorney in Arizona, and his chief criminal prosecutor.

    Conservatives have pummeled the Obama administration, and especially Holder, for more than a year. "Who authorized this program that was so felony stupid that it got people killed?" Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, demanded to know in a hearing in June 2011. He has charged the Justice Department, which oversees the ATF, with having "blood on their hands." Issa and more than 100 other Republican members of Congress have demanded Holder's resignation.

    The conflict has escalated dramatically in the past ten days. On June 20, in a day of political brinkmanship, Issa's committee voted along party lines, 23 to 17, to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly failing to turn over certain subpoenaed documents, which the Justice Department contended could not be released because they related to ongoing criminal investigations. The vote came hours after President Obama asserted executive privilege to block the release of the documents. Holder now faces a vote by the full House of Representatives this week on the contempt motion (though negotiations over the documents continue). Assuming a vote occurs, it will be the first against an attorney general in U.S. history.

    As political pressure has mounted, ATF and Justice Department officials have reversed themselves. After initially supporting Group VII agents and denying the allegations, they have since agreed that the ATF purposefully chose not to interdict guns it lawfully could have seized. Holder testified in December that "the use of this misguided tactic is inexcusable, and it must never happen again."

    There's the rub.

    Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

    Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

    How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. (A Justice Department spokesperson denies this and asserts that the department is not drawing conclusions until the inspector general's report is submitted.)

    "Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false," says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS). A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa's committee.

    The ATF's accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn't actually exist. "It gets back to something basic for me," says Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). "Terry was murdered, and guns from this operation were found at his murder site." A spokesman for Issa denies that politics has played a role in the congressman's actions and says "multiple individuals across the Justice Department's component agencies share responsibility for the failure that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious." Issa's spokesman asserts that even if ATF agents followed prosecutors' directives, "the practice is nonetheless gun walking." Attorneys for Dodson declined to comment on the record.

    For its part, the ATF would not answer specific questions, citing ongoing investigations. But a spokesperson for the agency provided a written statement noting that the "ATF did not exercise proper oversight, planning or judgment in executing this case. We at ATF have accepted responsibility and have taken appropriate and decisive action to insure that these errors in oversight and judgment never occur again." The statement asserted that the "ATF has clarified its firearms transfer policy to focus on interdiction or early intervention to prevent the criminal acquisition, trafficking and misuse of firearms," and it cited changes in coordination and oversight at the ATF.

    Irony abounds when it comes to the Fast and Furious scandal. But the ultimate irony is this: Republicans who support the National Rifle Association and its attempts to weaken gun laws are lambasting ATF agents for not seizing enough weapons—ones that, in this case, prosecutors deemed to be legal.

    [Continued]

    http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.co...uth/?hpt=hp_t2
    Emphases my own.

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