Saturday, March 05, 2011

Justice Department scandal—American life taken, American lives at risk?


“A.T.F. Agent: I was ordered to let U.S. guns into Mexico (ATF stands for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms—my addition)

Friday, March 4, 2011
Borderland Beat Reporter Ovemex

ATF agent says ‘Fast and Furious’ program let guns ‘walk’ into hands of Mexican drug cartels with aim of tracking and breaking a big case.

By Sharyl Attkisson

Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.
He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?

‘Yes ma’am,’ Dodson told CBS News. ‘The agency was.’

An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson’s job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen.

Investigators call the tactic letting guns ‘walk.’ In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.

Dodson’s bosses say that never happened. Now, he’s risking his job to go public.

‘I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,’ he said. ‘Here I am. Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did. Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn’t happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.’

Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.

ATF named the case ‘Fast and Furious.’

Surveillance video obtained by CBS News shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at a Phoenix gun shop. The long boxes shown in the video being loaded in were AK-47-type assault rifles.

So it turns out ATF not only allowed it—they videotaped it.

Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets ... the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.

One e-mail noted, ‘958 killed in March 2010 ... most violent month since 2005.’ The same e-mail notes: ‘Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,’ including ‘numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.’

Dodson feels that ATF was partly to blame for the escalating violence in Mexico and on the border. ‘I even asked them if they could see the correlation between the two,’ he said. ‘The more our guys buy, the more violence we’re having down there.’

Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over.

Their answer, according to Dodson, was, ‘If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.’

There was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an ATF supervisor issued an e-mail

noting a ‘schism’ among the agents. ‘Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case ... we are doing what they envisioned .... If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work ... Maybe the Maricopa County jail is hiring detention officers and you can get $30,000 ... to serve lunch to inmates …’

‘We just knew it wasn’t going to end well. There’s just no way it could,’ Dodson said.

On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down.;contentBody

Dodson got the bad news from a colleague.

According to Dodson, ‘They said, ‘Did you hear about the border patrol agent?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And they said ‘Well it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.’ There’s not really much you can say after that.’

Two assault rifles ATF had let go nearly a year before were found at Terry’s murder.

Dodson said, ‘I felt guilty. I mean it’s crushing. I don’t know how to explain it.’

Senator Grassley began investigating after his office spoke to Dodson and a dozen other ATF sources—all telling the same story.

Read Senator Grassley’s letter to the Attorney General

The response was ‘practically zilch,’ Grassley said. ‘From the standpoint that documents we want—we have not gotten them. I think it’s a case of stonewalling.’

Dodson said he hopes that speaking out helps Terry’s family. They haven’t been told much of anything about his murder—or where the bullet came from.’

‘First of all, I’d tell them that I’m sorry. Second of all, I’d tell them I’ve done everything that I can for them to get the truth,’ Dodson said. ‘After this, I don’t know what else I can do. But I hope they get it.’

Dodson said they never did take down a drug cartel. However, he said thousands of Fast and Furious weapons are still out there and will be claiming victims on both sides of the border for years to come.

Late tonight, the ATF said it will convene a panel to look into its national firearms trafficking strategy. But it refused to comment specifically on Sharyl’s report.

Statement from Kenneth E. Melson, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:

‘The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will ask a multi-disciplinary panel of law enforcement professionals to review the bureau’s current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents. This review will enable ATF to maximize its effectiveness when undertaking complex firearms trafficking investigations and prosecutions. It will support the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico and combat firearms trafficking in the United States.’

Sharyl Attkisson’s original ‘Gunrunner’ report;contentBody

Center for Public Integrity report

The Center for Public Integrity report is a longer and more complete version of the CBS report. Both Borderland Beat and CBS have video on their respective websites. The original CBS story was “‘Project Gunrunner’ scandal” February 23, 2011 4:39 PM. Follow up story was March 3, 2011. WATCH the videos.

From the Center for Public Integrity news story:

“But the investigation dragged on for 15 months, in part, documents show, because the Justice Department was slow to approve a wiretap and bring prosecutions. Memos reveal that ATF supervisors were frustrated by the delays, but let straw buyers and suspected gun runners continue to move scores, even hundreds of guns a month, internal agency memos show.”


“Grassley (Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—my addition) got a similar answer.

In a Feb. 4 letter to the senator, the Justice Department said ATF never ‘knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico.’ ATF, the letter added, makes ‘every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation into Mexico.’

Grassley told the Center he now believes those representations are contradicted by the documents his staff has gathered and the testimony of agents like Dodson. ‘The Justice Department and the ATF put up a wall to mislead the American people and were less than forthcoming,’ he said.”

I did not learn of this story until I heard about it yesterday on the Rush Limbaugh show. Note that CBS’s original story was on February 23rd. If this news story is true, I would not trust the Justice Department, particularly this “Justice” Department, to investigate itself. The Senate Judiciary Committee, along with a similar effort in the House, should hold a thorough investigation of this alleged program of A.T.F. and/or use a special prosecutor. If true, this is a SCANDAL of major proportions and “heads should roll” including the Attorney General if that is where the buck stops.

Is it true? I believe it has the ring of truth to it. It sounds like something this administration would do. Remember, this administration has already sued the State of Arizona in an inferior federal court, contrary to the Constitution, to prevent it from enforcing a State law that is modeled after a similar federal law!

That CBS reported the story gives credence to it. Not that CBS is out to get this administration. Quite the contrary. As part of the mainstream media, it has been supportive of this leftist, liberal administration. Furthermore, CBS suffered over the false story against George W. Bush which ended Dan Rather’s career with the network. So, it would probably be cautious of airing an untrue story. However, CBS also knows that with the internet, if it didn’t run with the story, someone else would including FOX News and a whole slew of conservative bloggers.

Furthermore, an ATF senior agent is willing to put his job and his career on the line. I’ve always had a problem with anonymous sources. It could be anyone and he/she could be making up information. The original CBS story quoted unidentified agents who wanted to remain anonymous to protect their careers. The March 3rd story included an interview with Senior Agent John Dodson. He is putting his career on the line. Most people don’t do that unless they can backup what they are claiming.

So, where is the rest of the mass media? Where is the demand for answers? Where is the outrage from the fourth establishment? Huddling with the Obama Administration discussing damage control?