As reported 48 hours ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, may have inadvertently confirmed the ulterior motive for the Gunwalker scandal by launching into a diatribe against firearms while questioning former Assistant Attorney-General Lanny Breuer during a Senate hearing on Tuesday. But the numbers used by Feinstein to justify her anti-gun rhetoric contain some major discrepancies.
In that article it was reported that the figures used by Breuer and Feinstein concerning the number of guns recovered in Mexico that came from the United States were skewed. Neither Breuer nor Feinstein quoted correct figures.
ATF Deputy Assistant Director Bill McMahon had provided Congress the correct figures several months ago. Of the 100,000 firearms recovered, only 18,000 were traced to the United States. And only 7,900 were traced to licensed U.S. firearms dealers.
But when Feinstein began her questioning of Breuer, she stated,
…29,284 firearms (were) recovered in Mexico in ’09 and 2010, and submitted to the ATF tracing center. With those weapons, 20,504, or 70 percent, were United States sourced.
Immediately the discrepancy is obvious. McMahon claims 100,000 guns were recovered, while Feinstein stated that 29,284 were recovered. Similarly, McMahon stated that 18,000 were sourced to the United States, 7,900 to licensed firearms dealers, while Feinstein maintains that 20,504 firearms had been traced to the United States. She failed to mention what percentage of that 20,504 were traced to U.S. gun retailers.
Further, when Breuer responded to Feinstein’s question, his figures also showed major discrepancies:
From my understanding, 94,000 weapons have been recovered in the last five years in Mexico. Those are just the ones recovered, not the ones that are in Mexico. Of the 94,000 weapons that have been recovered in Mexico, 64,000 of those are traced to the United States.
Thus, Breuer says 94,000 weapons were recovered. Feinstein says 29,284. McMahon says 100,000. Further, Breuer says that out of 94,000 weapons recovered, a whopping 64,000 came from the United States. Feinstein says 20,504. McMahon says 18,000, 7900 of which came from gun retailers.
These are major discrepancies, to say the least.
The question, therefore, becomes, where are these people getting their figures? Who is the source? What specific document can be produced that shows in detail the number of weapons U.S. authorities recovered in Mexico and how many of those came from the United States? Is there an official ATF report on the subject?
For Feinstein’s part, the Senator states she got her figures from former ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson–one of the central figures in the Gunwalker scandal. Is his word to be trusted when he himself has been implicated in the largest political scandal in U.S. history?
Breuer is another key figure in the scandal. He claims that out of 94,000 weapons, 64,000 came from the States. Again, how thoroughly can Breuer be trusted to give the correct figures, particularly when they are amazingly higher than the those cited by either Feinstein or McMahon? And to which source can Breuer point to justify his claim concerning 64,000 guns?
McMahon himself is also a key figure in the Fast and Furious scandal, one of the managers at the ATF field division in Phoenix when the scheme was conceived and implemented. But interestingly, in spite of his involvement in Gunwalker, McMahon presented figures to Congress showing that the mantra used by the Administration, that 90% of the guns used by criminals in Mexico came from the United States, is false.
Were McMahon’s intent to vindicate his behavior in Gunwalker, one would think he would attempt to skew the numbers to favor the Administration’s meme. But he did not. Why?
An even larger question is, if the ATF walked roughly 2500-3000 guns to Mexico, yet thousands more have been recovered that are NOT traceable to U.S. licensed gun dealers, then how did these other guns wind up in Mexico? Are there other covert, clandestine operations being conducted by the federal government that have resulted in a disturbing proliferation of American guns in Mexico?
These and other questions concerning the percentage of guns traceable to the United States are key to getting to the bottom of the Fast and Furious scandal.
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