10 months, 3 weeks ago
A new report on the botched Fast and Furious operation that has landed Attorney General Eric Holder on the hot seat alleges that contrary to popular belief, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives never meant to allow guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The lengthy story, published Wednesday by Fortune after a six-month investigation, claims that according to law-enforcement agents directly involved in the operation, ATF did not intentionally let arms cross the U.S.-Mexico border so they could end up in the hands of criminals on the other side.
“They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn,” the report says.
Featured prominently in the story is Dave Voth, a former Fast and Furious supervisor for the ATF who came under fire in 2011 when an agent publicly accused supervisors of ordering subordinates to purposefully refrain from seizing weapons in the hopes that the guns could lead them to criminals. One such gun has been linked to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
The story charges that “the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies,” and accuses some lawmakers, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), of seizing on and amplifying the initial allegations to “score points” against the Obama administration.
You don’t say? So the very player who was responsible for implementing the corrupt strategy at the ground level, and who certainly doesn’t want to be the first to go down if this all unravels, is claiming that it was all botched rather than intentional. Take careful note how this is all couched, i.e., in language of frustration over the lack of tools to do the job. In this case, tools = laws and regulations.
That’s right. They are still going after laws and regulations, as if Voth began the approach, go just so far into the thick of it, and then to his great surprise, suddenly figured out that there was no set of regulations that allowed him to do this, or abetted his efforts, or gave him the latitude to pull all of this off. The disingenuous part of all of this is that there is no possible world in which any set of U.S. regulations assists the ATF in tracking weapons when they get into the hands of criminals and war lords South of our border. In order for any U.S. regulation to apply, they would have had to do that which Voth specifically forbade, that is, interdict the weapons before they crossed the border.
Voth’s approach is the same as the one used by Dianne Feinstein: blame it all on lack of regulations and laws. And for an administration that claims Fast and Furious had nothing to do with a push for increased regulation, they sure seem to want more regulation out of all of this mess. Of course, this is all reason enough to continue the mission towards complete openness, beginning with a vote of contempt concerning Eric Holder.
As a side bar, I haven’t followed Fortune very closely, but for Politico to parrot the talking points only sullies their own reputation. Every time I read Politico I have even less respect for them than I did the time before. They are quickly becoming an un-serious group of folks.