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Agent Terry was killed with one of those guns. It was sold at a Glendale, Arizona shop monitored by the ATF. It is also likely another American, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata, killed in Mexico on February 15th, was also a victim of Project Gunrunner. The weapon used in that crime was traced to Otilio Osorio, a Dallas-area man, allegedly tied to a crime group that assists cartels by illegally selling them guns from the U.S. Yet because 40 separate guns were involved in the purchase, ties to Agent Zapata’s death have yet to be officially confirmed.
There is also another explosive charge revealed, once again, by CBS News. The network is reporting that the ATF wasn’t the only agency involved in the gunrunning operations. “Documents show ATF had conference calls with ‘DHS’ (Homeland Security). ‘USMS’ (U.S. Marshals) and DEA. An ‘Ice’ or Customs Agent was on ATF’s Fast and Furious team. They were advised by an ‘AUSA’ or Assistant U.S. Attorney under the Justice Department,” says CBS. In addition, Mr. Issa believes the State Department was also involved. He sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding her agency’s refusal to turn over documents and information about the ATF as well, characterizing the State Department’s stonewalling as “simply unacceptable.”
AG Eric Holder claims an investigation is proceeding. “The aim of the ATF is to try to stop the flow of guns. I think they do a good job in that regard. Questions have been raised by ATF agents about the way in which some of these operations have been conducted. I think those questions have to be taken seriously, and on that basis, I’ve asked the Inspector General to look at it.” Senator Grassley remains skeptical regarding the IG. “The president saying the Inspector General is investigating is a laugh,” Grassely told radio host Laura Ingraham. “I have respect for most Inspector Generals, and maybe even this one. But we’ve been stonewalled so much, that I’m not even going to trust an Inspector General’s report on this particular incidence. I want the facts to come, I want the documents, we need to know this because, you know there’s a murder come out of this[.]”
He also had some blunt advice for both Attorney General Holder and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, another administration official who, under questioning, has claimed not to know anything about Project Gunrunner: “I can tell these two folks, relatively new in their office (sic) two years…the longer they’re stonewalling, the longer they’re trying to protect their public relations so they don’t look bad, and when things eventually come out, they got more egg on their face (sic) than ever. So they ought to wake up, get the information out and get this thing behind them.”
Mr. Issa has made it clear where his investigation is headed. “The unwillingness of this Administration–most specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms–to answer questions about this deadly serious matter is deeply troubling,” said the chairman in a statement. “Allegations surrounding this program are serious and the ability of the Justice Department to conduct an impartial investigation is in question. Congressional oversight is necessary to get the truth about what is really happening.”
For those who appreciate irony, it should be noted that last Monday, President Obama accepted a transparency in government award from the organizers of the National Freedom of Information Day Conference. The ceremony was off limits for the press. With the notable exception of CBS News and the work of reporter Sharyl Attkisson, it appears that Project Gunrunner has also been largely “off limits” for the mainstream media, along with a “transparent” Obama administration which requires a subpoena in order to release information. There is a major scandal brewing here, and the deaths of one, or possibly two, Americans may be just the beginning: according to several reports, guns from this botched sting operation are showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. The United States? Guns that can be “walked” into Mexico can just as easily be walked back.
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