ATF’s "Project Gunrunner" and the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

Hi Gang:

The violence in Mexico has provided a constant source of news reports for several years.
Recently the increase in violence along the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico has increased. 
The federal government has failed to secure our nation’s borders but officials of the administration have taken every opportunity to tell the citizens of our country that the border is safer now than it has been in years.  Members of Congress such as Chuck Schumer echoed these optimistic assessments and somehow expected that by claiming that the borders are secure that he could then push his pet “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” program through the legislative process.
There is absolutely no linkage between the issue of border security and amnesty- but it is the way that this abomination has always been sold.  Thankfully the citizens of our nation are not as dumb as Schumer and his pro-amnesty pals in Washington had hoped they were!
The violence of Mexico has most definitely spilled across the border into the United States.  Phoenix, Arizona had been averaging a kidnapping and/or home invasion each and every day and because the political leaders of Arizona were frustrated at the failures of the United States government to secure the borders, enacted their own immigration law that parallels the federal immigration statutes.  That law is known as SB 1070.  I assisted the attorneys retained by Governor Jan Brewer to defend her state when the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Arizona from doing what the feds refuse to do- enforce our immigration laws! 
While I usually focus on the issue of border security in terms of immigration and national security threats posed by our porous borders, I will focus today on another aspect of the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico.  I am concerned about the efforts of the administration to purportedly stanch the flow of firearms and money from the United States to Mexico.
While every law enforcement agency in our country from local sheriff’s offices to big city police departments to the state police agencies of each of our nation’s 50 states to just about every federal law enforcement agency is involved in enforcing firearms laws, the Bureau of ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is the lead agency for the federal government’s efforts to enforce firearms laws.
Before the creation of DHS, an agency I have come to refer to as the Department of Homeland Surrender, ATF was under the Treasury Department.  Today ATF is a component of the Justice Department.
I had the privilege of working in close cooperation with members of the ATF as an INS special agent and, in fact, when I was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force, I spent a number of years as assigned to an ATF squad in New York City.  You may be interested to know that when I was assigned to that squad we worked out of the Post Office building in lower Manhattan and the window next to my desk faced the World Trade Center Complex that was just across the street from the Post Office building.
These agents were dedicated professionals who took their missions seriously.  Working with them on a daily basis I was impressed with their commitment to getting illegal drugs and firearms off the street.  We worked extremely long hours and their agents who made the undercover purchases of drug and firearms showed an impressive level of bravery.  
Every time we managed to seize firearms we would react the way a baseball team reacts to one of their team members hitting a home run.  We felt that every illegal gun that we took off the street from violent drug dealers made the streets that much safer.  Therefore, I cannot imagine the anguish that these professional must feel when they hear about the sort of report that appeared recently on CBS News about a program that was purportedly established to prevent the flow of guns into Mexico.
The name of the operation was “Project Gunrunner.”
Here is the link to a video of the CBS report that aired last week on February 23rd:
Unidentified ATF agents who were obviously extremely upset over the decisions made by their superiors were interviewed and their voices were disguised because they feared reprisals from their agency.  They claimed that thousands of high-powered weapons were permitted to “walk” under the auspices of “Project Gunrunner.”  This is to say that the guns were purchased by suspected gunrunners- many of whom purportedly paid for their weapons with cash contained in paper bags, and the gunrunners were permitted to drive off with those weapons including .50 calibre weapons!
 ATF has a website that explains “Project Gunrunner.”  This is the link to that website:
As you might imagine, the ATF website claims that the program is designed to identify and stop those who would transport illegal firearms into Mexico.  
The bottom line is that it would certainly appear that for reasons I cannot begin to fathom, managers at ATF made some truly horrendous decisions!  Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was shot to death on December 15, 2010.  According to the CBS News report, two of the rifles found at the murder scene had been sold to a known gun trafficker, Jaime Avila as ATF monitored the sale of firearms by gun dealers who did not want to sell the guns but were purportedly encouraged to do so by the ATF!
Today I wonder about the origins of the firearms wielded by the Mexican thugs who fired numerous rounds, two weeks ago, into the SUV driven in Mexico by ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata who was killed at the scene and his partner Victor Avila who was seriously wounded.  Were any of those guns purchased pursuant to “Project Gunrunner?”
I have often noted my concerns about the issue of corruption within the ranks of the Mexican police officers and members of that nation’s military and questioned the wisdom of trusting those officials.  Again I want to make certain that I am not misunderstood- there are certainly many valiant and decent members of the Mexican law enforcement community who endanger their own lives as well as the lives of their families by conducting themselves in an admirable fashion.  They are true patriots of their country.  The problem is that it is vey hard to know who can be trusted in a country with a human life is nearly worthless.
Today I have to question how many Mexican officials- in high positions within the government, in law enforcement or in the military have been killed or wounded by guns that can be traced to “Project Gunrunner?”
This situation is vile and reprehensible and, if the allegations are accurate- those officials in our government who enabled this lunacy to take place need to face real consequences!
There are far too many managers throughout our government today who owe their careers to their willingness to “go along to get along!”  This is not limited to one agency but seems to permeate our government.  Not all managers are guilty of this mentality, but enough are that it really does create all sorts of problems for our government and hence, for our nation.
The consequence is that many so-called leaders of agencies put their careers ahead of commonsense.  They make compromises to placate those above them to advance their own careers.  In this sort of environment really bad decisions may be made.  If the news reports are accurate, the consequences of the decisions by the bosses at ATF may have contributed to the loss of lives including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
This is something that cannot be swept under the rug.
Simply playing the game of “rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic” and changing he assignments of those who made these horrific decisions won’t suffice!
Firing these individuals will not go far enough!
Considering that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is under the auspices of the Justice Department should absolutely require that the FBI not be involved in the investigation that must be undertaken swiftly.  An independent prosecutor should be appointed and those who made these insane decisions should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if it is ultimately determined that criminal laws were violated.


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 resolve this year to get involved!

If this situation 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!

-michael cutler- 

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