It started during the George W. Bush administration. Back then it was termed “Operation Wide Receiver.” The program later became known as “Gunwalking” and ended up being labeled “Fast and Furious.” An ill-conceived scheme from its outset, it eventually cost the lives of an unknown number of Mexican citizens and one U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Operation Fast and Furious began when a local gun store reported to the Phoenix ATF that four individuals had purchased multiple AK-47 style rifles. In November 2009, the Phoenix office’s Group VII, which would be the lead investigative group in Fast and Furious, began to follow a prolific gun trafficker. He had bought 34 firearms in 24 days, and he and his associates bought 212 more in the next month. The case soon grew to over two dozen straw purchasers, the most prolific of which would ultimately buy more than 600 weapons. The effort would come to be called Operation Fast and Furious for the successful film franchise, because some of the suspects under investigation operated out of an auto repair store and street raced.
The Obama administration claims they smuggled weapons to Mexican drug lords in an effort to trace the guns and bust the drug gangs, however it was actually (1)a conspiracy to demonize the second amendment. Documents obtained by CBS News in December 2011 prove that ATF agents (via email) discussed how they could tie guns involved in Mexican violence to gun dealers based in the U.S with a view to passing stricter gun control regulations. One law enforcement source told CBS News that the emails suggested the ATF created the problem itself as part of a political ploy. “It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it (classic Hegelian dialectic) and pat themselves on the back. It’s a circular way of thinking,” the source said. Perhaps, but the CIA, the world’s largest smuggler of drugs, always has a cover for their illegal drug operation which is the second purpose, (2) to arm the Sinaloa drug cartel who was bringing cocaine into the U.S. with the clearance provided compliments of the US government.
The emails also show ATF members congratulating each other for blaming border violence on guns bought from U.S. dealers despite the fact that the feds were the ones delivering them straight to Mexican criminals under the program. Other emails document how gun dealers involved in the program expressed concern that their firearms were ending up in the hands of “the bady guys,” only to be reassured by the ATF “there’s nothing to worry about.”
Around 2000 weapons were funneled through the Chaparral Gun Store in Chaparral, New Mexico, and into the hands of the murderous cartels. As referenced, the gun shop was directly tied to the mayor, police chief and city council of Columbus, New Mexico, a town famous for the Pancho Villa border raids a century before. The operation remained secret until December 14, 2010 while conducting operations in Nogales, Arizona, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and died while attempting to arrest five individuals. Two of the guns found at the scene were linked to Fast and Furious. A U.S. gun that allegedly was smuggled into Mexico from Dallas, Texas, was used to murder an Immigration Customs Enforcement Agent named Jaime Zapata. (Source)
With the full knowledge of the Department of Justice, ATF agents facilitated the sale of thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels and dropped all surveillance of those weapons once they crossed the border. Weapons sold during Operation Fast and Furious have been used to shoot U.S. border control agents, found at dozens of crime scenes in Mexico, found at the home of Mexican Drug Lord, El Chapo, and been found as far away as Morroco, and possibly even turned up in the Paris terror attack. Nobody has been held accountable for this scandal yet.
ATF agents were specifically ordered not to intercept the guns before they crossed the border. The following is a brief excerpt from a CBS News report that detailed the fierce objections that many ATF agents expressed when they were ordered to stand down….
On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn’t want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF’s watchful eye. “The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That’s how many guns were sold – including some 50-calibers they let walk.”
50-caliber weapons are fearsome. For months, ATF agents followed 50-caliber Barrett rifles and other guns believed headed for the Mexican border, but were ordered to let them go. One distraught agent was often overheard on ATF radios begging and pleading to be allowed to intercept transports. The answer: “Negative. Stand down.”
CBS News has been told at least 11 ATF agents and senior managers voiced fierce opposition to the strategy. “It got ugly…” said one. There was “screaming and yelling” says another. A third warned: “this is crazy, somebody is gonna to get killed.”
In 2016, an expert researcher reveals that the operation has been ongoing and is likely still serving as a conduit as a global gun ring.
“Drug Lords” Targeted in Fast & Furious Worked for FBI
According to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the ATF zeroed in on a suspected gun trafficker named Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta. He was detained in May of 2010, questioned, and eventually released after promising to cooperate with investigators seeking to track down two supposed “drug lords.” Those two cartel chiefs, it turned out, were actually already on the FBI’s payroll. According to a source cited by Fox News, both of the men were considered “national security assets” who were “off limits” and “untouchable.”
Government Cover Up & Targeting of Whistleblowers
While U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stonewalled all efforts by members of Congress to look into Fast and Furious and withheld key documents, one of the acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, had been cooperating with the investigation, however, he was suddenly transferred to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. On May 3rd, Eric Holder testified under oath in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Operation Fast and Furious. During that testimony, Holder made the following statement….
“I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is absolutely convinced that a major coverup is going on….
“But I can tell you this. They’re doing everything they can, in a fast and furious way, to cover up all the evidence or stonewalling us. But here’s the issue, if he didn’t perjure himself and didn’t know about it, the best way that they can help us, Congressman Issa and me, is to just issue all the documents that we ask for and those documents will prove one way or the other right or wrong.”
Since that time, a large amount of evidence has come out that Holder was not telling the truth. For example, a recent Fox News article discussed some of the very revealing memos about Fast and Furious that have been discovered recently….
“However, newly discovered memos suggest otherwise. For instance, one memo dated July 2010 shows Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder that straw buyers in the Fast and Furious operation “are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
Other documents also indicate that Holder began receiving weekly briefings on the program from the National Drug Intelligence Center “beginning, at the latest, on July 5, 2010,”
Holder now claims that he simply misunderstood the question. He now says that he had heard of Operation Fast and Furious previously but that he was not aware of the specific details.
Emails exchanged between two Department of Justice officials last October make it abundantly clear that high level officials at the DOJ were very aware of what was going on…
Two Justice Department officials mulled it over in an email exchange Oct. 18, 2010. “It’s a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions,” says Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty replies “I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like, “Finally they’re going after people who sent guns down there.”
Almost a year later, it finally admitted that this is precisely what had happened. The House voted to hold Holder in contempt and filed suit to obtain the documents Holder refused to supply due to ‘executive privelege’. Three and half years later, Judge Jackson ordered production of the 20,000 pages mentioned above confirming Holder knew about the scandal all along.
Having reviewed these documents, Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has released a memo summarizing what they show. Chaffetz states:
More than previously understood, the documents show the lengths to which senior Department officials went to keep information from Congress. Further, the documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials—including Attorney General Eric Holder—intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress.
Eric Holder became the only cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. He resigned in 2015.
Early in the investigation, CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who had been aggressively investigating this story was screamed and cussed at by a high ranking official that works in the White House. It became abundantly clear that the Obama administration desperately wanted to hide what went on during Operation Fast and Furious.
American Thinker interviewed journalist Sharyl Attkisson and John Dodson, one of the Fast and Furious whistleblowers (Vince Cefalu was the other) who helped to make this outrageous scheme public. Dodson joined the ATF after serving in the military and working for the sheriff’s office in Virginia. He felt, in the beginning of his career, that as an ATF agent he made a difference in people’s lives and took the oath of protection literally. Yet, all that changed after he was assigned to the Fast and Furious case. He could not believe his assignment and told American Thinker, “I asked my superiors, are you prepared to go to the funeral for a federal officer killed with one of these guns, and watch their widow hold the folded flag?”
Wanting to do the right thing, in January 2011 Dodson informed Senator Chuck Grassley’s office about the Fast and Furious operation. He then told his bosses at ATF what he said, and instead of being forthright, they drafted a letter in February denying ATF ever let guns walk, and did not sanction or knowingly allow the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers. [lightbox full=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkx2cmzEjRk”]Sharyl Attkisson[/lightbox], in pursuing the story, was told by an Obama Administration official, “Every other outlet is ‘reasonable’ except you. Nobody else thinks there is a story. Just you. You’re the only one. Sharyl Attkisson is right and everybody else is wrong?” She directly commented, “There was a great deal of pushback, attempts to manipulate opinion by the Obama administration. According to my sources, other reporters were trying to publish stories on Fast and Furious, but their managers or editors apparently blocked it.”
It soon became apparent to her that she was being targeted by the Obama Administration and the ‘friendly press’, but confirmation came when the watchdog group Judicial Watch was finally able to obtain FOIA documents that proved that they had indeed designated taxpayer dollars for targeting Sharyl.
In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson. She told American Thinker, “’Out of control’ is a very telling phrase. It implies they think they should be able to ‘control’ the media. The outrage is: the email exchange shows they aren’t upset that Attorney General Eric Holder gave questionable testimony to Congress; they aren’t upset that their own internal documents contradict what Holder said, but they are upset at me for factually reporting it.”
In her book Stonewalled, Attkisson talks about what she refers to as “controversializing,” where a propaganda campaign is launched by surrogates and sympathizers in the media to divert from the damaging facts by focusing on the personality instead of the evidence. This is no more evident than with John Dodson. He told American Thinker,
“My supervisors looked for ways to fire me and try to indict me on the accusation that I released classified information. I owe thanks to Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa’s staff that kept me afloat and alive. I do mean that figuratively and literally. Just think of it, if they made me go away, the whole problem goes away. I could see their game escalating. I have been transferred, slandered, and ostracized. They had their journalist friends try to destroy my character and reputation, including leaking my internal personnel files.They tracked my vehicle, searched my computer and cell phones, and had surveillance over my family and myself. I knew about these, but what is really terrifying is what I don’t know about. I do fear that if something happened to me now there would not be an outcry.”
Because of his frustration with the coverage, Dodson wrote a book entitled, The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious. He was hoping to get the issue back in the public eye since there were still questions that remained. Mainly, where did this plan originate, who was ultimately responsible, and how was it allowed to progress and grow? Both he and Sharyl believe the DOJ was “stonewalling” the information requested by Congress. Specifically, that every time a gun from Fast and Furious is involved in a crime Congress is supposed to be told who used the gun, and what was the crime it was involved in. He warns, “Americans need to understand that no one knows the amount of guns sold. Fast and Furious involved only one group that came out of one field position, with 2400 guns sold. But there are other offices within Arizona and the Southwest that we do not know about that are under different case names. I think it is almost impossible to know how many people will have died from this operation since the gun recovered will only be from the latest crime. The previous crimes that the gun was associated with would never be known.”
Dodson was “taken back by the fact that the banner was not taken up by everybody. Those in the media dismissed it because they were told to dismiss it. It became an exercise in futility. I went to Sharyl in March 2011 because everyone seemed to circle around that February letter, which was a lie. No official ever talked to me, or people handling the case, because all they were concerned with was giving a response to Congress. I knew something had to be done and fortunately Sharyl was around. ”
Attkisson regards John Dodson as a hero and understands that the plight of the whistleblower is very difficult. “No one can guarantee what the outcome of blowing the whistle will be. Those who disparaged John never offered an apology. Higher-ups never thanked him for risking his career to expose an ill-advised program responsible for contributing to murders on both sides of the border. He only received heartache. Even after the government admitted wrongdoing, when I called ATF for comment about his book, The Unarmed Truth, they clearly still viewed him as a mortal enemy for the simple act of telling the truth.”
Dodson hopes that the whistleblower laws will change because the current ones are useless. “The government can make your life hell without ever taking any dollars out of your paycheck. The laws do not protect this. ATF poisoned the well toward me and made me toxic so that my co-workers ignored me for the fear any association with me will be detrimental to their careers. I am radioactive and my life is upside down. It seems after you give out the information you are on your own.” He has a good point since criminals who inform are put in the Witness Protection Program with a new life and financial support, while whistleblowers become forgotten and are mistreated. On the other hand, corruption is rewarded as several key officials that were heavily involved in Operation Fast and Furious actually got promoted.
Was Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry killed to prevent him from blowing the whistle? In an article titled, ‘Did Brian Terry Die in Vain?’ by Andrew McKenna and Matthew Smith-Meck, they report that:
(Brian Terry) was murdered on December 14, 2010, ten minutes before his shift ended, and the day before he was going to “blow the whistle” on the Fast and Furious gun-walking debacle. The bullets that ended his life were fired from a Fast and Furious weapon.
Two months earlier, he was visiting his mother in Michigan. Brian, a principled and disciplined former Marine, rarely discussed his work with family. But this trip was different. Speaking with his mother Josephine recently, she told me that Brian acted differently during this visit. He was anxious. It seemed he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Almost spontaneously over coffee one afternoon, he told his mother, “I just don’t want to go back this time … something bad is going to happen.
On that final visit with his mother, Brian also told her that he was aggressively confronted by a couple of “bad” agents, and that he told them, “No need to talk to me; I’ll just walk away.” Law-enforcement communities are notorious rumor mills, and we suspect that word had somehow gotten around that Brian was going to speak up about weapons going south with BATFE’s permission, and expose, unbeknownst to Brian, the clandestine nature of Operation of Fast and Furious. We suspect this confrontation was borne out of concern to protect the architects and the players. Brian wasn’t part of the Fast and Furious Operation, but he had stopped vehicles attempting to enter Mexico that contained numerous AK-47 assault rifles. When he radioed the discovery to supervisors, the response was “Let ‘em through.” This troubled him.
The Secret Operation to Arm the Government’s 3rd Party Drug Cartel
Washington Times journalists Robert Farago and Ralph Dixon cite a “CIA insider” to make the claim that Operation Fast and Furious was a Central Intelligence Agency-orchestrated program to arm the Sinaloa drug cartel, a group that was also given the green light to fly tons of cocaine into the United States.
“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,” report Farago and Nixon.
The program, with its designated cover of tracking where guns went so drug lords who purchased them could later be arrested downstream, was actually a deliberate effort to prevent the Los Zetas drug cartel from staging a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon by arming rival gang Sinaloa, according to the Times writers, a relationship that extended to “(allowing) 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,” states the report.
The notion that Fast and Furious was used as a cover through which to arm the the Sinaloa cartel would explain why the feds showed little interest in following up where guns ended up once they left the United States. It may also explain why Mexican authorities were never informed that thousands upon thousands of guns were being allowed into Mexico. Authorities in Mexico have asked the U.S. government over and over to explain what in the world happened during Operation Fast and Furious but they have not been given an adequate answer. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Obama administration has not even responded to questions from the attorney general of Mexico….
Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general and a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico, told The Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious from news reports. And to this day, she said, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation gone awry, nor have they apologized.
The Obama administration and the ATF claim that the Fast and Furious program was part of a sting operation to catch leading Mexican drug runners, and yet it’s admitted that the government stopped tracking the firearms as soon as they reached the border, defeating the entire object of the mission. Therefore, we know the ‘official story’ was a lie!
The following description of the mechanics of Operation Fast and Furious comes from a recent Los Angeles Times article….
In the fall of 2009, ATF agents installed a secret phone line and hidden cameras in a ceiling panel and wall at Andre Howard’s Lone Wolf gun store. They gave him one basic instruction: Sell guns to every illegal purchaser who walks through the door.
For 15 months, Howard did as he was told. To customers with phony IDs or wads of cash he normally would have turned away, he sold pistols, rifles and semiautomatics. He was assured by the ATF that they would follow the guns, and that the surveillance would lead the agents to the violent Mexican drug cartels on the Southwest border.
When Howard heard nothing about any arrests, he questioned the agents. Keep selling, they told him. So hundreds of thousands of dollars more in weapons, including .50-caliber sniper rifles, walked out of the front door of his store in a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall.
It would also account for the fact that the federal government failed to prevent Sinaloa importing tons of cocaine into the U.S.
Back in April, Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, the “logistical coordinator” for the Sinaloa drug-trafficking gang that was responsible for purchasing the CIA torture jet that crashed with four tons of cocaine on board back in 2007 told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago that he had been working as a U.S. government asset for years.
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