Monday, June 20, 2011

Fast and spurious

I have not highlighted one potential aspect of the ATF’s notorious “gunwalking” operation (a/k/a "Fast and Furious"), because, in spite of my distrust of this administration, the possibility struck me as something too utterly cynical and ham-fisted for even this crowd to have contemplated. But the more I read about the subject (thanks, Bob Owens!), the more difficult it becomes to explain away the hypothesis that the whole thing may have had, either as its primary or at least secondary goal, the object of expanding gun control in the United States.

In a nutshell, the operation involved permitting straw purchases by gun smugglers from stores in border states, with the foreknowledge that all or most of these weapons would wind up in the hands of drug traffickers in Mexico. The stated goal was to track the movement of these guns, supposedly to identify illegal gun-trafficking networks. But as one of Bob’s linked writers (Michael Walsh at the New York Post) points out…
Oops No 1: The agency had no real way to trace the guns once they left the country -- and no real power to operate in Mexico.

Oops No. 2: The gangs used the weapons for what you'd expect. At least two American agents have been killed with Fast and Furious guns. God knows how many Mexicans have died; since 2006, more than 40,000 have died in the drug wars.
If the ATF couldn’t track the guns, how was the agency going to crack the gun-smuggling networks? If the only way the final disposition of the guns could be determined was in the event of crimes being committed, wouldn’t this reflect an unconscionable level of tolerance for the risk to innocent lives?

Well, apparently so, but the ATF brass was fine with that. The testimony before Daryl Issa’s congressional committee by ATF whistleblowers clearly indicates that the higher-ups at the ATF (and possibly at the DOJ and other agencies) were willing to put up with a certain amount of actual carnage.

But to accomplish what, exactly? Here’s Michael Bane:
1) The ONLY way Fast & Furious makes sense is as a direct attack on the Second Amendment. Otherwise, it makes no sense at all. The idea of "rolling up" a firearms trafficking ring is nonsense. If that had been the intent, it would have been a joint operation with the Mexican government. It wasn' fact, ATF went to some length to keep the Mexicans in the dark.

2) The idea of getting a gunrunning indictment against any of the cartel heads is equal nonsense. A gunrunning indictment? Against men that are, in effect, men with standing death warrants on their heads, mass murderers with their own private armies? Wow, they'd be shaking in their boots!

3) Fast & Furious worked exactly as the ATF and the people holding its strings -- the Department of Justice and probably Homeland -- planned for it to work. That is, it put demonstrably made-in-America, sold-in-America guns at Mexican crime scenes, waiting for the largely inept, totally corrupt Mexican law enforcement to find them, submit them to the US for tracing and shout loudly that they had found the literal "smoking gun," that American gun shops/shows were flooding Mexico with arms. That's why supervisors were "jovial, if not giddy" when the first Gunwalker guns began turning up at Mexican crime was working!

4) I think ATF believed it had enough regulatory juice to keep the gun stores involved from talking, or if not keeping them from talking demonizing them, and maybe driving them out of business, if they did.
I would still rather believe that the whole thing was just an incredibly moronic idea, gone horribly wrong; however, with Eric Holder’s continued stonewalling and mendacity, and a level of idiocy and irresponsibility, perhaps unprecedented, that would have to have prevailed at the highest levels of several agencies for this to have been merely a specimen of “stupid, not evil” planning, it’s becoming tougher to accept the argument that more gun control wasn’t at least a hoped-for byproduct of this operation.

Whatever the motivations, the results have been a disaster, and heads should roll…including this one.


richard mcenroe said...

This was the ultimate "dropped gun" frameup, aimed at the entire American people.

JeffS said...

I withheld final judgement on this, in large part because I questioned that the ATF would set the stage for their peers to be murdered.

More fool I. I suspect that this administration would cheerfully let thousands of Americans die if it advanced their cause one inch. I trust them not at all.

By the way, Bob Walker has his own blog -- Bob's Gun Counter. Good stuff there!

Paco said...

Richard: Your analogy just reminded me of a Chicago cop my father said he knew back in the late '50s, early '60s: "Two-gun Johnson".

rinardman said...

When I first heard about this, I thought there must be something missing in the story. The "good guys" wouldn't be allowing that many weapons to be turned loose on the Mexican people, even if they thought they could stop all future movement of weapons into Mexico.

I guess I was confused. They aren't "good guys", they're "idiot guys".


prairiecat55kc said...

Call me a cynic...I will NEVER believe a bureaucratic agency of the government will EVER be 'the Good Guy.' If such ever existed - and I'm sure at least one did, some time in the past - it hasn't been for quite some time.

Government does not 'do good' and does not 'help.' There are undoubtedly 'good' people working in the bowels and cubicles of such agencies, and some who wish to be helpful, but the agencies are not good or helpful. End of discussion.

mojo said...

Holder's a crook, pure and simple. Me, I'd be looking for his bank accounts. They're out there somewhere.

Steve Skubinna said...

I think assuming the worst case scenario is reasonable here. After all, these are the same people who have been loudly claiming US gun dealers were arming Mexican criminals - and it turns out that they were right, because they were actually conducting the operation providing the arms.

Not even the Nazis were caught red handed setting the Reichstag fire.

bruce said...

What's the 'dropped gun frameup'?

Nothing on google, sounded worth knowing.

F & F must have been a terrible blunder they are now trying to cover up, is just my feeling. And all caused by bureaucrats and a govt too big.

Mark Steyn's latest is they are fortifying the US border with Canada at great expense: Non-discrimination equality and all that. Bureaucrats... (except those working for PACO ent.!)

JeffS said...

Bruce, some police officers carry a "throw away gun", usually something that they confiscated from an earlier arrest, but didn't book as evidence. The throw away gun is placed at the scene of an incident, such as where the cop shot someone, as evidence supporting the need for the shooting.

RebeccaH said...

Here's a little nugget of conspiracy theorizing that no one has mentioned yet: if the violence along the border got bad enough, what's to stop this administration from declaring martial law in, oh, say, Arizona and/or Texas? You know, those recalcitrant states that don't toe Obama's line.

richard mcenroe said...

The "dropped gun" frame-up: Cops have been known to hang onto knives and guns they confiscate on the street. Then, when they detain a dirtbag that they just KNOW is guilty of something, *clink!* "Look out! He had a gun!" and the dirtbag gets roped in on a firearms charge... if he hasn't already been shot.

SwampWoman said...

Call me crazy, but I don't think the DoJ would have been in on this without Obama's official okey dokey. Obama DID tell people that he was working on gun control "under the radar".

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.
“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Paco said...

Good observation, Swampy.

Steve Skubinna said...

Rebecca, I don't really buy the martial law scenario - this was aimed at all Americans, not just the ones who don't *heart* Obama enough. All this administration needed was solid proof that US guns were making their way into the hands of Mexican narco-criminals.

They'd been laying the groundwork basically since inauguration, and quietly fabricating the proof all along. What amazes me is why they thought they would get away with it, since history shows government secrets have a severely limited shelf life.

Maybe they assumed the honeymoon with the media would last forever. After all, a fawning WH press corps covered for JFK's serial philandering up to the end, and beyond. Actually, I can't get worked up so much over Jack's womanizing very much - what has always appalled me was the careless disregard he showed for good sense in choosing bedmates. An East German spy, a mafia moll?