America Arming Mexican Drug Cartels?

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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The Obama administration is apparently stonewalling a congressional investigation of Project Gunrunner, a federal arms trafficking sting operation which may have played a role in the murder of border agent, Brian Terry.

Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, isn’t going to allow the administration to keep the details of an Project Gunrunner under wraps.  The project, begun in 2009, was an effort by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) officials allowing straw buyers to purchase weapons in the United States and illegally ship them to Mexico.  According the the ATF, the goal of Project Gunrunner was to track the flow of weapons into Mexico in order to bring down the major drug cartels involved in gun trafficking.  In a March 16 letter to Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson, Mr. Issa requested information, including specifics about an Arizona-based component known as “Fast and Furious,” which led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. He gave the agency until last Wednesday to comply.  They failed to respond, so Mr. Issa issued a subpoena.

When one considers what is already known about this debacle, ATF’s refusal to respond is understandable.  To begin with, Agent Terry’s death was the direct result of a policy that can best be described as political correctness taken to the extreme:  the first line of defense used by border patrol agents against those attempting to cross illegally is beanbags.  Seriously.  Beanbag guns were what Agent Terry and his fellow squad members were armed with when they encountered a group of illegals armed with assault rifles.  When the illegals were ordered to drop their weapons, they refused. Terry’s squad fired at them with bean bags. They fired back with real bullets. Agent Terry was killed.

But it doesn’t stop there. It turns out that the weapons used by the illegals to murder Mr. Terry were traced back to “Project Gunrunner.” According to Federal Agent and principle whistleblower John Dodson, he and other border agents were ordered to allow guns to be “walked” into Mexico, as part of the aforementioned effort to build big cases against Mexican drug cartels. Incredibly, Mexican authorities were left completely in the dark regarding the operation.

But who gave the order?  This is where the case promises to be explosive.  Last week, president Obama, in an interview with a Univision reporter, claimed neither he nor U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had any previous knowledge of the operation. “Absolutely not,” said the president.  “This is a pretty big government, the United States government. I’ve got a lot of moving parts. There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made.  If that’s the case we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable…I did not authorize it; Eric Holder the attorney general, did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gunrunners and put them into jail.”

Yet according to a CBS News report issued early in March, Agent Dodson’s claims were corroborated by “a dozen other ATF sources — all telling the same story.”  Agent Dodson has indicated that he isn’t backing down. “I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,” he said. “Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn’t happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.”  Mr. Dodson’s contempt for the policy was also corroborated.  Again from CBS News:  “at least 11 ATF agents and senior managers voiced fierce opposition to the strategy. ‘It got ugly…’ said one. There was ‘screaming and yelling’ says another. A third warned: ‘this is crazy, somebody is gonna get killed.’”

Mr. Issa isn’t alone in his attempt to find out what actually occurred.  Senator Charles Grassley’s (R-IA) has attempted to get the truth about the operation as well. The DOJ’s response?  “Practically zilch,”  said the Senator back in March, after sending several letters to the organization (all of which can be found here) demanding answers. He added that “…we have even sent them documents that come to people within the organization that know a little bit about this, that contradicts (sic) everything the agency has told us, and we’re just getting stonewalled…” He applauds Mr. Issa’s current efforts. “Senator Grassley is pleased that Mr. Issa has joined him in getting to the bottom of the ATF’s policy on letting guns walk, and he plans to coordinate and share information with Mr. Issa as the investigation continues,” Sen. Grassley’s spokeswoman Beth Levine said.

According to reports, a videotape of the transactions exists. It show suspicious individuals buying huge quantities of weapons ostensibly for “personal use” with cash in paper bags–filmed by the ATF itself. How many purchases did the ATF allow? “The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That’s how many guns were sold–including some 50-calibers they let walk,” said one Gunrunner source, who, like his colleagues, didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation. (A sidebar: 50-caliber rifles are the number one choice for snipers and have a confirmed kill range of over 2600 yards.)

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  • PAthena

    When did this policy start?

    • james

      2005.

      i bet you didnt know that the stimulus package passed in 2009 when Obama came into office had 10 Million set aside for this program

  • geez

    Obama, Holder, Napolitano, Biden and Clinton… on and on you can list the names of these Mao and Chavez loving losers elected to lead the greatest country in the world… Reid, Polosi, Dean, Web, and Frank… more bottom feeders. How long are we going to let them consume the fruits of our labor all the while selling out our freedom? If we can get the socialist loving progressive Obama out of the White House in 2012 then eventually drain the swamp where these leaches live, there may be a chance of survival. We will need divine intervention to clean up this toxic dump of progressive's. Then we can deal from a position of strength with George Soros.

  • tanstaafl

    Your tax dollars at work.

  • flamefront

    Its an ongoing policy.

    Look in Libya – we are arming Al Qaeda too.

    Meanwhile the real ruse is to disarm America.

    Perfectly consistent policies of a Marxist anti-American fascist thug-ocracy.

  • USMCSniper

    Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said al Qaeda jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

    Ahhhh..hmmmm… NATO and we are the invader… and the inepts Obama and Clinton are going arm the rebels? And Holder and Janet Napolitano are going arm the cartels? The Obama Admin is a cluster f*&k!!!

  • pagegl

    This adminstration has been claiming that gun shops along the border have been selling guns to the cartels. Kinda sounds like they wanted to make sure it was true.

  • Dispozovdaburka

    As former President Clinton said "borders are just nets."
    NWO

  • Oldpuppymax

    The ATF is vehemently anti gun rights. Acting ATF head Ken Melman believes in the confiscation of firearms from the American public. Project Gunrunner has been used to walk guns across the Mexican border in order to provide "evidence" that guns used by drug cartels originate in the US! The agenda–provide the excuse necessary to demand new, tougher anti-gun legislation. The story of this disgrace is being SPIKED by NBC, ABC, CNN, the NY Times, the WaPo and other Obama owned media sources.

  • coyote3

    I really can't say enough about my outrage. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I was trained to put the "outrage" aside. Unfortunately, I have to even put aside my own brother agent's murder. What is worse, is that an ATF agent, told the dealer to sell the firearm in a straw purchase. I have to be careful here, but I am glad I retired. I used to have respect for the ATF. They have no jurisdiction to "mandate" that anyone, dealer or otherwise, sell anything to anyone. A lot of these dealers are intimidated by them, and there is some basis for that. Also, a lot of dealers think that by cooperating with them, there won't be as much "heat" on them. That doesn't work, they don't care. No law enforcement agency is supposed to be your friend, but in this case they engaged in a course of conduct, just at the time the debate about "gun" traces was going on. It looks like, through the investigation, that it was not coincidental and was to provide support for more unconstitutional firearms regulation. I fear that an otherwise honorable agency has had its shield tarnished forever.

    • james

      thank you for your service. alot of the things you probably want to say and cant were said by the ATF Agent Dodson who was interviewed by CBS News at the first of Maarch. Vids can be found on youtube.

  • Fred Dawes

    The drug cartel's are in fact nothing but tools of the mexican government who hate this nation don't be fooled and this gunrunner BS Was setup to be frond out, its part of the game to remove the USA And its people

  • Amused

    This is what happens when INCOMPETENT BUREAUCRATS are appointed jobs , heading departments or agencies of the US GOVT. -as "poliical plums " .ATF has a long history of screwing things up , resulting in getting people killed . Some people here , out of ignorance or just plain ole' dumbass partisan politics wanna blame their Arch Enemy -Obama . The most egregious of course being 9/11 , incompetence so stunning , it's no wonder the DULLARDS in this country assume " conspiracy " .
    So it goes on , screw up after screw up , with disastrous results , occur under EACH ADMINISTRATION ….BUSH INCLUDED . YET- NO HEADS HAVE ROLLED , under ANY ADMIN . Not even an underling !! FBI incompetence , infighting between the premier intelligence agencies of this country , is a disgrace , and the politicians reactions even more so . So again the idiots are screeching conspiracy , when in actuality , we appoint total incompetents to head the very agenciey charged with Security of this country .

  • Amused

    Louis Freeze under Clinton , should have been prosecuted , NO ONE involved in Ruby Ridge or Wacko , was fired or even publicly reprimanded . A former announcer of "Horse Shows " is appointed Head of Fema , , and was buisy at a dinner engagement as Katrina struck , and disaster followed , first by nature , then by plain human INCOMPETENCE . On this thread one can easily see how the moronic distractions from the facts , do nothing more than facilitate this practice . Wake up people , the practice of rewarding idiots with government jobs , transcends BOTH parties , anjd when blatant screwups occur , like this present ATF "sting " ,letting the guns walk , eventually resulting in our own people being killed , NO NONE GETS FIRED !! WTF !!

  • james

    ten million is what i read somewhere

  • PAUL P

    We all know about the ATF arming mexican drug cartels/informants. Fact of the matter is the cartels are not just getting weapons from the US. most of the weapons the US brought to mexico were semi automatic weapons not machine guns. The picture above shows a mexican with a israeli rifle. Its obvious they are getting many of their weapons from the middle east or central america.

  • shavager

    OPERATION "WIDE RECEIVER" WAS RUN BY W. BUSH, WITH CO-OPERATION OF MEXICAN GOVERNMENT USING WEAPONS RIGGED WITH ID TRACKING CHIPS RESULTING IN 1400 ARRESTS–it BEGAN in 2005 and ENDED in 2007 when ATF found the cartels had discovered the tracking chips imbedded in the weapons and were ripping the chips out of the guns. "Fast and Furious" began in October 2009–TWO YEARS AFTER BUSH's PROGRAM, no one in the administration advised President Felipe Calderon of Mexico the operation was going on, there were NO TRACKING CHIPS imbedded and ATF DID NOT TRACK THE WEAPONS! IT CAME TO END BECAUSE ATF WHISTLEBLOWERS WENT TO CONGRESS OVER THIS INCORRIGIBLE PROGRAM THAT RESULTED WITH HUNDREDS OF DEAD MEXICANS AND DEAD LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ON BOTH SIDES OF BORDER! Instead AMERICANS WERE BLAMED FOR THE OPERATION AND PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS when in reality it has been reported by Washington Times report that OWEbama was RUNNING GUNS to the Sinaloa Cartel as a countermeasure against the Los Zetas cartel the CIA sees as a legitimate threat to the outgoing Mexican presidency of Felipe Calderon. Reporters Robert Farago and Ralph Dixon say: "The CIA's motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid the Los Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup de'tat against the government of Felipe Calderon." THAT'S WHY OWEbama WON'T ALLOW THE "FAST AND FURIOUS" EMAILS AND INFORMATION TO BE SEEN BY CONGRESS!!