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UPDATE: “The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious Fueling Cartel Violence,”

July 27, 2011

A Joint Staff Report prepared for Rep. Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee has just been released today. Titled “The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious Fueling Cartel Violence,” the report asserts:

“Operation Fast and Furious made unprecedented use of a dangerous investigative technique known as “gunwalking.” Rather than intervene and seize illegally purchase firearms, ATF’s Phoenix Field Division allowed known straw purchasers to walk away with guns, over and over again. As a result, the weapons were transferred to criminals and Mexican Drug Cartels.

Of significance, former ATF attaché to Mexico, Darren Gil and his deputy, Carlos Canino confirm reports made early on by Gun Rights Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars that not only was this information withheld from them, but also from the Mexican government—despite repeated questioning and objections leading to “screaming matches” registered with management. ATF’s office in Mexico being denied permission to share information with Mexican authorities was first reported in this column on Jan. 6.

Also reported is the involvement of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, again a subject of a report filed in this column on Feb. 5, as well as other managers at ATF and within the Justice Department. It is clear officials knew walked guns were being used to commit acts of violence—and continued to allow it rather than shut the operation down—something they did not do until the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry made it dangerous for them to allow the operation to continue.

There is much to glean from this report, particularly interesting since so many of the principals will also be witnesses in this morning’s scheduled hearings at 10:00 AM in the Rayburn House Office Building. Much of the report reads almost like an intrigue novel, with the kidnapping/murder of Mario Gonzales Rodriguez and the attack by cartels on a Mexican federal police helicopter, both of which involved Fast and Furious weapons, but hard numbers on the weapons are also presented by date, and by number and types of weapons recovered.

Telling is the assessment of Canino, who characterized the gunwalking as “the perfect storm of idiocy” and went on to say:

Just—you don’t do it. You don’t walk guns. You don’t walk guns…You don’t lose guns. You don’t walk guns. You don’t let guns out of your sight.


Fast and Furious: Enter the IRS and White House. The scandal grows wider, and deeper.

by John Hayward

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight committee did not waste any time getting down to business when their “Gun Walker” hearings resumed yesterday. Within a matter of hours, they had Special Agent in Charge William Newell, of the Phoenix ATF office, sizzling nicely on the Oversight hibachi, and this astonishing exchange occurred:

So now we’ve got the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and ICE connected with Operation Fast and Furious. We already know the FBI was involved, because some of their paid confidential informants starred in ATF’s favorite closed-circuit TV shows. Who’s left to implicate?

Ah, yes: the White House. Newell also testified that he discussed Operation Fast & Furious with his old friend, White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. According to CBS News, Issa’s committee got its hands on an email that began with the ominous words, “you didn’t get this from me.”

Newell says O’Reilly was “asking about the impact of Project Gunrunner to brief people in preparation for a trip to Mexico… what we were doing to combat firearms trafficking and other issues.” A White House spokesman denied this exchange had anything to do with Operation Fast and Furious.

Here’s a little testimony from ATF Special Agent Carlos Canino, who figured prominently in yesterday’s staff report on the Gun Walker investigation. This is what happens when you force a good man to sail through the “perfect storm of idiocy” for years, and then give him a microphone.


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