How do 700 tobacco farmers uncover a highly secretive criminal operation generating millions of dollars in fraudulent cigarette sales? By going into business with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as they sold millions of dollars of cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death, that’s how. And the operation may be as scandalous and controversial as the famed Fast and Furious gun running program with which the ATF was also involved.
United States — On Tuesday a federal judge ruled President Obama cannot use executive privilege to deny Congress access to records related to failed gun running scheme, Operation Fast and Furious.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the Department of Justice’s prior release of information related to Fast and Furious invalidated President Obama’s claim that releasing details of the program would cause harm.
“The Department itself has already publicly revealed the sum and substance of the very material it is now seeking to withhold. Since any harm that would flow from the disclosures sought here would be merely incremental, the records must be produced,” Jackson wrote.
– Book by whistleblower at center of ‘Fast and Furious’ blocked by the ATF (RT, Oct 8, 2013):
A book authored by an agent at the center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” gun running debacle has been rejected and barred from being published by the agency, citing concerns for morale.
Special Agent John Dodson, who became a whistleblower in 2011 when he approached Republican lawmakers in Congress with details of a botched attempt by the ATF to allow sales of firearms in order to build a case against Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel, has already penned a book on the saga, though it was unclear on Monday whether it will ever see the light of day.
“This would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix [field division] and would have a detremental [sic] effect on our relationships with [the Drug Enforcement Administration] and FBI,” the ATF’s rejection letter stated.
Current restrictions prevent federal employees from profiting from “any source other than the government for teaching, speaking or writing that relates to the employee’s official duties,” ruling out the possibility for Dodson to cash in on any book deal.
– More Fast and Furious guns surface at crimes in Mexico (CBS News, Aug 14, 2013):
Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, CBS News has learned, as the toll from the controversial federal operation grows.
According to Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS News, all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles. Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.
During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.
– Exclusive: FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes (USA Today, Aug 4, 2013):
USA TODAY exclusive: New documents show FBI agents gave their informants permission to break the law thousands of times in 2011.
WASHINGTON — The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.
– ATF Recruits Brain-Damaged Black Man As Stooge For Trumped-Up Gun Crimes (Natural News, April 9, 2013):
When the ATF can’t find real people committing gun crimes, it must fabricate those crimes itself in order to justify its very existence. The latest victim to be ensnared in the ATF’s ongoing racket of trumped-up “gun crimes” is a brain-damaged, mentally retarded black man named Chauncey Wright. He nearly drowned as an infant, and the sustained lack of oxygen to his brain caused permanent brain damage.
This, in the view of the ATF, made him the “perfect stooge” to carry out their devious entrapment plot. He was also targeted because he had a felony conviction on his record from 2007 when he was caught selling $10 bags of cocaine on the street. This felony record meant that handling a gun was itself a whole new felony.
To entice Wright into committing “crimes” for the ATF, he was given cigarettes, cash and gifts by the ATF to distribute flyers for an undercover storefront set up by the ATF itself. He rode his bike around town and handed out flyers, talking up the store to friends and town residents. The ATF also had Wright stock store shelves with “shoes, clothing, drug paraphernalia and auto parts,” according to press reports (see source, below).
After six months of entrapping this brain-damaged man and enticing him with cigarettes and cash, the ATF arrested him and charged him with gun crimes and drug violations.
This is your government at work, building a police state system of entrapment and exploitation of innocent victims.
“I have never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life,” said Greg Thiele, who spent 30 years working for the Milwaukee Police Department including on undercover stings with federal agents, including those with the ATF. “Something is very wrong here.”
The story goes on to state:
“This is real exploitation,” said Shirin Cabraal, managing attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin. “It’s morally outrageous.”
ATF and FBI actively carry out terrorist plots against America
What we’re dealing with today is an arrogant police state where both the ATF and the FBI routinely plan, engineer and carry out elaborate criminal operations, then arrest some stooge they set up to take the fall.
– REPORT: Senior ATF Agent In Charge Of Fast ‘N Furious Gun Running Program Was Also Working For JPMorgan (The Daily Bail/Washington Post)
Update on Sep 19, 2012: Is This A Joke? – DOJ Review Says Holder did not know about ‘Fast and Furious’
– Obama admin. let grenades walk in Fast and Furious, documents show (Daily Caller, May 2, 2012):
In a shocking development in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation, documents show Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents allowed grenade parts to walk in addition to guns.The emails also show Obama administration officials acknowledging that they may lose track of grenades but would still be able to accomplish their original objective even if the grenades explode.
According to an internal email that was provided to Congress by the Department of Justice and first reported by CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson — who’s been the media’s most dogged reporter in tracking down facts on Fast and Furious – ATF began watching accused smuggler Jean Baptiste Kingery’s AK-47 purchases in 2004. In the 2009 internal ATF email, Obama administration officials admitted they believed Kingery was “trafficking them into Mexico.”
The 2009 email shows the ATF officials had then become aware of Kingery’s alleged grenade trafficking.
– Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants (Los Angeles Times, Mar 21, 2012):
Federal agents released alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta to help them find two Mexican drug lords. But the two were secret FBI informants, emails show.
Reporting from Washington — When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.
Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau show that as far back as December 2009 — five months before Celis-Acosta was detained and released at the border in a car carrying 74 live rounds of ammunition — ATF and DEA agents learned by chance that they were separately investigating the same man in the Arizona and Mexico border region.
– Justice Department reveals false statements over flawed Operation Fast And Furious (Daily Mail, Dec. 3, 2011):
The Justice Department on Friday provided Congress with documents detailing how it gave inaccurate information to a U.S. senator in the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the South west border.
In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally.
In connection with Operation Fast and Furious, both statements have turned out to be incorrect.
Could Fast and Furious be the scandal that brings down the Obama administration? With the full knowledge of the Department of Justice, ATF agents facilitated the sale of thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels and dropped all surveillance of those weapons once they crossed the border. Weapons sold during Operation Fast and Furious have been used to shoot U.S. border control agents. Weapons sold during Operation Fast and Furious have been found at dozens of crime scenes in Mexico. Nobody has been held accountable for this scandal yet. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been stonewalling all efforts by members of Congress to look into Fast and Furious. A CBS reporter that has been aggressively investigating this story was recently screamed at and cussed at by a high ranking official that works in the White House. It has become abundantly clear that the Obama administration desperately wants to hide what went on during Operation Fast and Furious. So will they succeed or will we eventually find out the truth?
What you are about to read should shock the living daylights out of you. The U.S. government purposely armed Mexican drug cartels with thousands of guns and then ordered agents not to follow the weapons across the border.
This should be a story that the mainstream media is pounding on every single day.
But they aren’t.
In fact, they are mostly ignoring it.
Sheriff Paul Babeu implicates Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department as accomplices in the crimes involving weapons used in the “Fast and Furious” scandal.
– Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer’s home (Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2011):
Reporting from Washington — High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF’s Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.
In all, 100 assault weapons acquired under Fast and Furious were transported 350 miles from Phoenix to El Paso, making that West Texas city a central hub for gun traffickers. Forty of the weapons made it across the border and into the arsenal of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a feared cartel leader in Ciudad Juarez, according to federal court records and trace documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The smugglers’ tactics — quickly moving the weapons far from ATF agents in southern Arizona, where it had been assumed they would circulate — vividly demonstrate that what had been viewed as a local problem was much larger. Six other Fast and Furious guns destined for El Paso were recovered in Columbus, N.M.
“These Fast and Furious guns were going to Sinaloans, and they are killing everyone down there,” said one knowledgeable U.S. government source, who asked for anonymity because of the ongoing investigations. “But that’s only how many we know came through Texas. Hundreds more had to get through.”
– New Fast and Furious docs released by White House (CBS News, Sep. 30, 2011):
WASHINGTON – Late Friday, the White House turned over new documents in the Congressional investigation into the ATF “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal.
The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O’Reilly are long time friends.
ATF agents say that in Fast and Furious, their agency allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons to be sold to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. At least two of the guns turned up at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
– “Fast And Furious” Just Might Be President Obama’s Watergate (Forbes, Sep. 28, 2011):
The Favored Few Get New Positions
Obviously perplexed with what to do with Melson, the U.S. Justice Department moved Melson to a new post inside the ATF, a position that protects his retirement package. Perhaps this is some of the “appropriate action” President Obama said would be taken, if so, more appropriate action soon followed.
The Obama administration next promoted some of the officials who ran the program. William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, William D. Newell, and David Voth, who were both field supervisors who oversaw the Fast and Furious program out of the agency’s Phoenix office, were promoted to positions in Washington, D.C. Voth is the one who said in an email, “If you don’t think [Fast and Furious] is fun you’re in the wrong line of work — period.” And, when asked if guns were being allowed to cross the southern border, Newell is the one who said, “Hell, no.” Yet both got cushy desk jobs in D.C.
Then, as if to shine a spotlight on how political the Fast and Furious operation always was, last August the Obama administration announced new firearm-reporting regulations that gun stores in southern border states must follow—this when gun storeowners have done everything asked of them and as the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association that represents firearms manufacturers, pays for a longstanding program called “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” (www.dontlie.org ) that combats illegal gun sales by raising awareness.
Also, the National Rifle Association has been on top of this story from the beginning. Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist now says, “It would be a serious miscarriage of justice if no one is held accountable for this deadly scandal. The President and his Justice Department cannot run away from this. The NRA will make sure that every member, hunter, gun owner, and indeed every American, knows the truth about this reckless operation.”
Given all the politics and the cover up that even the former ATF director says has occurred, could operation Fast and Furious have been about anything other than pushing for new gun-control laws? And given all of this obfuscation from the Obama administration, isn’t this scandal comparable to the cover up that surrounded Watergate? After all, both administrations forgot that America is a country that reveres its freedom of the press and that in America officers speak out when misguided policies get cops killed. Here mothers testify before Congress when they find out a secret government program, and a stupid one at that, got their son killed.
Not that morality ends at the American border. To stress this point, Rep. Issa held a conference call with journalists on September 21 in which he said Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, is reporting that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the Fast and Furious program.
And so the investigation and the bloody aftermath continue….
ATF ‘allegedly’ allowed… ???
– ATF Gunwalker: Who at the White House knew? (CBS News, September 2, 2011):
CBS News has obtained a series of emails that show the White House had more information on ATF’s controversial Fast and Furious operation than previously disclosed. But administration officials insists nobody at the White House knew specifically that ATF was allowing guns to “walk” into the hands of suspected gun traffickers for Mexican drug cartels.
ATF ‘allegedly’ allowed more than two thousand assault rifles and other weapons to fall into the hands of suspects from late fall of 2009 through 2010.
The emails indicate three White House officials were briefed on gun trafficking efforts that included Fast and Furious. The officials are Kevin O’Reilly, then-director of North American Affairs, now assigned to the State Department; Dan Restrepo, senior Latin American advisory; and Greg Gatjanis, a national security official.
The White House officials were provided information on Fast and Furious and other border gun trafficking efforts through what an administration source calls “back channels” by ATF’s then-Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix Bill Newell. “…don’t want ATF HQ to find out, especially since this is what they should be doing (briefing you),” Newell wrote in an email to the White House’s O’Reilly on July 28, 2010. Newell has since been transferred out of that post.
– Police Raid Gun and Safe Store (8NewsNow, Aug 20, 2011):
LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Air Force led a rare raid against a Las Vegas gun shop Friday afternoon. Investigators removed pieces of evidence and took several people into custody.
The initial raid lasted less than an hour.
“These guys were in full get-up, automatic weapons,” said Bahama Mamas manager Joe Gold.
Armored SWAT tanks, officers carrying machine guns, K-9s, the FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Air Force made a grand entrance at the business park on Dean Martin Drive near Flamingo Road.
– Guns from U.S. sting found at Mexican crime scenes (Reuters, July 26, 2011):
At least 122 firearms from a botched U.S. undercover operation have been found at crime scenes in Mexico or intercepted en route to drug cartels there, a Republican congressional report issued on Tuesday said.
Mexican authorities found AK-47 assault rifles, powerful .50 caliber rifles and other weapons as early as November 2009 that were later linked to the U.S. sting operation to trace weapons crossing the border to Mexico, the report said.
Guns from the program, dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious,” were also found at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in the border state of Arizona last December. It is unclear if they were the weapons responsible for his death.
U.S. authorities set up the undercover operation in 2009 to try to track guns bought in Phoenix on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, but many of the weapons were never traced after they left the hands of the initial buyer.
– Gun-smuggling cartel figures possibly were paid FBI informants (Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2011):
Probe reveals that the U.S. agency running the ‘Fast and Furious’ anti-gun-trafficking operation didn’t know about the alleged FBI informants. Congressional investigators are looking into the matter.
Congressional investigators probing the controversial “Fast and Furious” anti-gun-trafficking operation on the border with Mexico believe at least six Mexican drug cartel figures involved in gun smuggling also were paid FBI informants, officials said Saturday.
The investigators have asked the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration for details about the alleged informants, as well as why agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the Fast and Furious operation, were not told about them.
The development raises further doubts about the now-shuttered program, which was created in November 2009 in an effort to track guns across the border and unravel the cartels’ gun smuggling networks. The gun tracing largely failed, however, and hundreds of weapons purchased in U.S. shops later were found at crime scenes in Mexico.
The scandal has angered Mexican officials and some members of Congress. Investigators say nearly 2,500 guns were allowed to flow illegally into Mexico under the ATF program, fueling the drug violence ravaging that country and leading to the shooting death of a U.S. border agent.
In a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the investigators asked why U.S. taxpayers’ money apparently was paid to Mexican cartel members who have terrorized the border region for years in their efforts to smuggle drugs into this country, and to ship U.S. firearms into Mexico.
“We have learned of the possible involvement of paid FBI informants in Operation Fast and Furious,” wrote Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The two have been the leading congressional critics of the program.
“At least one individual who is allegedly an FBI informant might have been in communication with, and was perhaps even conspiring with, at least one suspect whom ATF was monitoring,” they wrote.
– ATF gunwalking scandal: Second agent speaks out (CBS NEWS):
That’s why Jaquez tells CBS News he was so alarmed to hear his own agency may have done the opposite: encouraged U.S. gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexico’s drug cartels. Apparently, ATF hoped that letting weapons “walk” onto the street – to see where they’d end up – would help them take down a cartel.
Jaquez is so opposed to the strategy, he’s speaking out. “You don’t let guns walk. I’ve never let a gun walk.”
Yet ATF agents told us they were ordered to let thousands of weapons walk. Two of them, assault rifles, were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December. Another gunrunning suspect under ATF surveillance was linked to the shooting of Customs Agent Jaime Zapata. And sources say many more “walked” weapons turned up at Mexican crime scenes.
Jaquez said, “I think this incidence is probably one of the darkest days in ATF’s history.”
But ATF wasn’t working alone on the case known as “Fast and Furious.” Documents show ATF had conference calls with “DHS” (Homeland Security). “USMS” (U.S. Marshals) and DEA. An “ICE,” or Customs agent, was on ATF’s Fast and Furious team. They were advised by an “AUSA,” or Assistant U.S. Attorney under the Justice Department.
Federal agents raided a Blackwater armory Tuesday and seized 34 automatic rifles that the company purchased and stored on behalf of a local law enforcement agency, the Associated Press reports.
Anne Tyrrell, a Blackwater spokeswoman, tells AP that ATF agents searched the Moyock, N.C., facility. The raid came after reports on a deal in which the company paid for weapons that were registered in the name of the Camden County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office.
“The 2005 agreements gives the sheriff’s office unlimited access to the weapons, including 17 Romanian AK-47s and 17 Bushmasters,” the wire service says. “But [Sheriff Tony] Perry said his department has only used the AK-47s in shooting practice at Blackwater and that none of his 19 deputies are qualified to use them.”
Federal law prohibits private companies or individuals from purchasing automatic weapons.