5 years, 8 months ago
Robert Farago has a hard hitting report at The Washington Times.
Why did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) let criminals buy firearms, smuggle them across the Mexican border and deliver them into the hands of vicious drug cartels? The ATF claims it launched its now-disgraced Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 to catch the “big fish.” Fast and Furious was designed to stem the “Iron River” flowing from American gun stores into the cartels’ arsenals. The bureau says it allowed gun smuggling so it could track the firearms and arrest the cartel members downstream. Not true.
During the course of Operation Fast and Furious, about 2,000 weapons moved from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels – exactly as intended.
In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.
The CIA’s motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid the Los Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon.
Founded by ex-Mexican special forces, the Zetas already control huge swaths of Mexican territory. They have the organization, arms and money needed to take over the entire country.
Former CIA pilot Robert Plumlee and former CIA operative and DEA Director Phil Jordan recently said the brutally efficient Mexican drug cartel has stockpiled thousands of weapons to disrupt and influence Mexico’s national elections in 2012. There’s a very real chance the Zetas cartel could subvert the political process completely, as it has throughout the regions it controls.
In an effort to prevent a Los Zetas takeover, Uncle Sam has gotten into bed with the rival Sinaloa cartel, which has close ties to the Mexican military. Recent court filings by former Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, currently in U.S. custody, reveal that the United States allowed the Sinaloas to fly a 747 cargo plane packed with cocaine into American airspace – unmolested.
The CIA made sure the trade wasn’t one-way. It persuaded the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious – a “no strings attached” variation of the agency’s previous firearms sting. By design, the ATF operation armed the Mexican government’s preferred cartel on the street level near the American border, where the Zetas are most active.
Operation Fast and Furious may not have been the only way the CIA helped put lethal weapons into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel and its allies, but it certainly was an effective strategy. If drug thugs hadn’t murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with an ATF- provided weapon, who knows how many thousands more guns would have crossed the U.S. border?
If Robert’s report is accurate, the list of culpability runs from the ATF to the DEA to the FBI and … now … to the CIA as perhaps the ringmaster. One very astute commenter to one article I wrote about the Mexican cartels adopting military tactics has pressed down on me for details in my recommendation to utilize the U.S. military in response to cartel violence (as he should – I have some of the best readers on the web, and they help keep me honest). Would I use combat outposts, would I use ex-infantry and role them into the border patrol, would I use invasive techniques, and so on. I have been struggling mightily to craft a cogent and coherent response, while also keeping in the back of my mind that there are stipulations: Tennessee v. Garner for the use of force, the Posse Comitatus Act, the sovereignty of neighboring nations to consider, the Arms Export Control Act, etc., etc.
It seems that the CIA (and someone higher in the administration?) doesn’t care about the law as much as I do. We’ve decided to take sides in the Mexican cartel war as a means to keep the current Mexican administration in power. And this possibly runs to the top of the CIA, and recently confirmed defense secretary Leon Panetta. This is just a horrible, horrible commentary on the curent U.S. administration and the lengths to which they are willing to go to skirt the law.
UPDATE #1: Agent Terry’s family has been denied crime victim status in Gun Walker case.
Coffey and others wonder if Burke has a conflict. It was his office that led Operation Fast and Furious. The operation, while executed by agents for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was managed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley. Hurley drafted the response to the family’s motion. It was signed by Burke.
Congressional investigators are expected to subpoena both to appear before the House Government and Oversight Committee next month to answer questions about the flawed operation that put some 2,000 weapons in the hands of the Sinaloa cartel.
LaJeunesse goes on to speculate that Avila might have cut a deal with prosecutors that would keep him out of jail, a development that would go over especially poorly if Terry’s family was seated in the courtroom, armed with official crime victim status. The family may also be considering a wrongful death suit against the federal government, which would involve Burke. Victim status would pump a lot of energy into that case.
Note again. His own family has been denied crime victim status. With this threshold, who could have ever met the criteria, whatever it is, for crime victim?