Jerry Seper, the Washington Times Investigative Editor and one of the most experienced journalists to cover the issues relating to border security (or lack there of) wrote an important news report on the ongoing saga of the incomprehensible ATF field operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”
Indeed, it seems that scarcely a day goes by without new revelations that shed more and more light on an operation that facilitated- indeed resulted in the arming of members of the most violent Mexican drug cartel, the Zetas. This operation, as you now doubt know, was run by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) a component agency of the Department of Justice as are the FBI and DEA- two other federal law enforcement agencies that now appear to have also been involved in this investigation- apparently without the knowledge of the acting director of the ATF!
In the days, weeks and months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 it became clear that one of the areas of vulnerability for our nation was the failure of various law enforcement and intelligence agencies to share information. This “failure to communicate,” especially during the course of undercover investigations can also pose serious threats to the safety of the law enforcement personnel of the various agencies who may be working on the same case without realizing it. Additionally, informants and cooperating sources may also be placed at risk by such a communication failure.
The revelation that DEA and FBI informants may have been among those who made purchases of “walked” firearms is nothing short of astounding.
Next I ask that you consider this excerpt from Jerry Seper’s report:
Mr. Melson confirmed information the committee has been investigating that some of the suspected gun traffickers targeted by ATF in the Fast and Furious probe may have been working with the FBI and DEA without ATF’s knowledge.
He also confirmed concerns expressed by several ATF agents during their recent testimony before Mr. Issa’s committee that while they witnessed the transfer of weapons from the straw buyers to others, they were not allowed to follow the guns further as they made their way to Mexico. He told the investigators he became aware of “this startling possibility” only after the killing of Mr. Terry and the indictments of the straw purchasers.
Take a moment to digest this- ATF agents were told to not follow guns that had been permitted to walk and now, it may well be that the guns were in the possession of informants of the FBI and/or DEA.
On the one hand, you might think that if informants had the guns, then perhaps there was a belief that everything was under control and that the guns would never fall into cartel members hands- however, this is apparently what did happen. The obvious question is what went wrong?
Did the informants sell out their handlers at the DEA or FBI or was something else- something far more nefarious going on?
It is also extremely disturbing that according to the news report, Jesus Enrique Rejon-Aguilar, the leader of the Zetas who has been allegedly implicated in the deaths of United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the wounding of Special Agent Zapata’s partner, may well have known that the guns he was getting were being sold to his straw purchasers under the direction of the United States government! If in fact he was aware of the undercover investigation- how did he find out?
Is there a “mole” in the ATF, DOJ, FBI or DEA?
Are there other moles in key positions in law enforcement agencies of the federal government or in local or state law enforcement agencies? This is a commonplace problem in Mexico and with the huge sums of cash on hand it is not beyond possibility that the game of “Silver or Lead” is now being played on the U.S. side of the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico!
Consider this quote from the report:
Meanwhile Thursday, Mexican police released a videotaped interview of Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, in which the recently captured No. 3 leader of the Los Zetas drug cartel said “all the weapons” the Zetas use were “bought in the United States” and that “even the American government itself was selling the weapons.”
It was is clear that this process of permitting straw purchasers to take possession of numerous firearms took place repeatedly at a number of gun shops. How many times would guns have to disappear into Mexico before the agents running the investigation would realize that something horrible was happening if this was not the intended outcome of the operation?
Unless, of course, that was for some inexplicable reason, the point to this exercise!
You really have to wonder how many officials at the Department of Justice, and perhaps at the FBi and the DEA are having sleepless nights worrying about how much death and destruction this harebrained scheme may ultimately cause and worrying that they may soon have to be sworn to, “Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” a face the music and a Congressional hearing or a judicial process with potentially dire consequence for them.
I also find it interesting that according to the news article, Senator Grassley made the following statement:
Mr. Grassley noted that it has been “well documented” that hundreds of guns may have crossed the border into Mexico because of the “reckless policy known as Fast and Furious,” but the hundreds of thousands of guns used by Mexican drug cartel members are not primarily from U.S.-based gun dealers.
Instead, he said, evidence shows that other sources, including some in Central America, help supply the weapons.
It is remarkable that Senator Grassley’s statement about the majority of firearms falling into the hands of the Mexican cartels is not coming from the United States but elsewhere.
This is the opposite of the claims made by Secretary of DHS Napolitano has consistently claimed, blaming the influx of guns on U.S. gun shops. On March 14, 2009, in an interview with Newsweek Ms Napolitano stated, in part:
Are there things the United States can do, literally
and physically, to help the Mexicans quell
this inside Mexico, or do they not want that?
One of the things we’re focusing on is stopping the flow of guns and
cash south. Because in this drug war, primarily the guns are coming
through the United States and … the movement of cash is what funds
what the cartels are doing. That’s why, for example, when I talk
about moving assets, one of the things we’re going to be increasing
is our inspection of southbound vehicles, looking for guns and cash
that are being taken into Mexico illegally to fund this battle.
Here is a link to that interview, in its entirety:
Was Napolitano’s apparent certainty about the source of the firearms for the cartels the result of a hunch, intelligence or, perhaps, direct knowledge about “Operation Fast and Furious?” How did she come to the conclusion that “Because in this drug war, primarily the guns are coming through the United States…?”
Among law enforcement there is a saying that if you see a coincidence, look again!
I suspect that Senator Grassley, Congressman Issa and their respective staffs and others, will be doing lots of looking!
I wish them “Happy hunting” and “Godspeed!”
No one who was intrinsically involved in this massive immoral and illegal screw up should be permitted to remain in any position within the law enforcement community and should be made accountable insofar as the criminal laws of our nation require!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Please check out my website:
Additionally- this summer, on Friday afternoons from 4:00 PM until 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I will be filling in for Tom Garcia as the host on The USA Talk Radio Network’s excellent radio show, “The American Hour.”
I hope you will be joining my cohost, Paula Lauzon Ostman and me, on Fridays this summer!
Here is the link for this program:
Inquiry of weapons smuggling to expand
ATF testimony stirs new questions
Thursday, July 7, 2011
The closed-door testimony of ATF’s acting director, saying that the
Justice Department was obstructing a congressional investigation, has
prompted an expansion of that ongoing probe into the controversial “Fast
and Furious” weapons-smuggling operation.
“We’ll go wherever the
investigation takes us,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, ranking
Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a key inquisitor in
probing the operation, during which guns, including AK-47 assault
rifles, were “walked” into Mexico.
He said the weekend testimony
of Kenneth E. Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives, had corroborated information that “more
agencies within the Justice Department may have been involved in
allowing guns to fall into the hands of known straw purchasers.”
spokesman for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman
of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday
that the Melson testimony “raises new questions” about the scope of the
program and certainly “justifies an expansion of the investigation.”
talking with the acting ATF director, I think we have a greater insight
into what happened and what questions need to be asked to lead to some
final answers as to who authorized this program and why,” said spokesman
Frederick Hill, whose boss also has been a key player in the ongoing
Meanwhile Thursday, Mexican police released a
videotaped interview of Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, in which the
recently captured No. 3 leader of the Los Zetas drug cartel said “all
the weapons” the Zetas use were “bought in the United States” and that
“even the American government itself was selling the weapons.”
Grassley and Mr. Issa have been investigating accusations that
Operation Fast and Furious, part of an anti-gun initiative known as
“Project Gunrunner,” allowed thousands of weapons to be purchased by
“straw buyers” in Arizona and Texas that later were “walked” unchecked
to drug smugglers in Mexico.
At least three of those weapons,
including two AK-47 assault rifles, later were found at the site of
separate shootings that claimed the lives of U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed by Rejon
Aguilar’s Zetas, and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry.
lawmakers also want to know what role other federal law enforcement
agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA), played in the operation.
Last weekend, Mr. Melson said
during two closed-door interviews that the senior leadership at the
agency wanted to cooperate in the congressional probe but were stopped
by Justice Department officials who took control of all briefing and
document requests. Mr. Grassley and Mr. Issa, in a letter to Attorney
General Eric H. Holder Jr., accused Justice of “muzzling” the director.
Melson confirmed information the committee has been investigating that
some of the suspected gun traffickers targeted by ATF in the Fast and
Furious probe may have been working with the FBI and DEA without ATF’s
He also confirmed concerns expressed by several ATF
agents during their recent testimony before Mr. Issa’s committee that
while they witnessed the transfer of weapons from the straw buyers to
others, they were not allowed to follow the guns further as they made
their way to Mexico. He told the investigators he became aware of “this
startling possibility” only after the killing of Mr. Terry and the
indictments of the straw purchasers.
“We have very real
indications from several sources that some of the gun-trafficking
‘higher-ups’ that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other
agencies and may even have been paid as informants,” Mr. Grassley and
Mr. Issa wrote in the letter to Mr. Holder. “The acting director said
ATF was kept in the dark about certain activities of other agencies,
including DEA and FBI.”
In the videotape, Rejon Aguilar told
Mexican police that his gang – considered that country’s most violent –
had armed itself with weapons “bought in the United States.”
law enforcement authorities have long accused the U.S. of failing to
control the flow of weapons into that country – many of which have been
used in a brutal turf war over the control of drug smuggling routes into
the United States that so far has cost more than 35,000 lives.
the videotaped interrogation, first reported by the Los Angeles Times,
Rejon Aguilar, a former member of an elite Mexican paratroop and
intelligence battalion known as the Special Air Mobile Force Group, told
Mexican police, “Whatever you want, you can get” from the U.S.
Grassley noted that it has been “well documented” that hundreds of guns
may have crossed the border into Mexico because of the “reckless policy
known as Fast and Furious,” but the hundreds of thousands of guns used
by Mexican drug cartel members are not primarily from U.S.-based gun
Instead, he said, evidence shows that other sources, including some in Central America, help supply the weapons.
Aguilar was taken into custody Sunday in the Mexico City suburb of
Atizapan “without firing a shot,” according to Mexican federal police.
He was one of Mexico’s most-wanted men, and the U.S. Justice, State and
Homeland Security departments had announced a reward of up to $5 million
for his arrest and conviction.
Mexican police said he was
“connected to the attack” in the daylight ambush in Mexico of Zapata and
his partner, ICE Agent Victor Avila Jr., who was wounded. They said
Rejon Aguilar was in charge of operations for the Zetas in San Luis
Potosi when the American agents were ambushed.
Neither of the U.S. agents was armed, as the Mexican government does not allow U.S. law enforcement personnel to carry weapons.
than two dozen Zetas have been arrested in the case. They include
Julian Zapata Espinoza, identified as the gang’s cell leader in San Luis
Potosi, and the gang’s suspected paymaster, Mario “El Mayito” Jimenez.
© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.