From the beginning when ATF whistleblowers first reported that their agency had engaged in an illegal program to send guns across the border to Mexican drug cartels, these conscientious agents maintained that the reason for the scheme was so that the Obama Administration could point to ‘Gunwalker’ or ‘Fast and Furious’ guns as ‘proof’ that draconian new gun control laws were needed in the U.S.
In most mainstream media outlets, this rationale has been totally ignored. The New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsweek, ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, CNN, and NPR have in one accord described the operation as a ‘botched sting operation’ intended to catch Mexican drug criminals. Even Fox News and CBS News, the two mainstream networks that have provided a thorough and fair analysis of Fast and Furious, have been reticent about describing the scheme as a ruse intentionally implemented for the single purpose of padding gun statistics in Mexico so that the Administration could call for gun bans and highly restrictive firearms laws.
However, with a new report filed this evening by CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson, for the first time a major mainstream outlet has dropped the key bombshell in the entire fiasco. CBS obtained documents proving that ATF and its parent organization, the Department of Justice under Eric Holder, deliberately set up the Gunwalker or Fast and Furious scheme for no other reason than to make a case for new gun control legislation.
From the CBS News website:
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.” But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called “gunwalking,” and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
And the ‘smoking gun’ sentence was penned by ATF Field Operations Assistant Director Mark Chait in a email to former Phoenix ATF Field Division head Bill Newell:
“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”
Not only did the Administration use the bogus gun statistics from Mexico to call for new rules on the reporting of ‘long gun’ sales, but entire operation was conducted against the better judgment of most U.S. firearms dealers who were pressured by the ATF to make illegal sales to ‘straw purchasers’ who would then see to it that the guns were walked across the border to the cartels.
One dealer in particular complained to the ATF about the fact that he was being pressured to sell so many guns illegally. He was assured by ATF Group Supervisor David Voth that ‘he had nothing to worry about’ and that he (Voth) was monitoring the straw purchasers ‘using a variety of investigative techniques.’
But 2 months later the same gun dealer grew agitated with the ATF:
“I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country.”
“It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back,” says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. “It’s a circular way of thinking.”
Thus, not only did ATF whistleblowers know that the scheme was a ruse to justify the calls for more gun control, but so did the firearms dealers who were pressured into cooperating with the federal government in the illegal operation.
When U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who is investigating Gunwalker, was informed of this latest information, the Senator replied,
“There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”
The telltale documents that CBS obtained can be viewed here, and here.
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