“These guns went to ruthless criminals,” Carlos Canino, ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico said in testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday regarding the scandal-plagued Operation Fast and Furious. “It’s alleged that over 2,000 guns were trafficked in this investigation. To put that in context, upon information and belief, the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment has approximately 2,500 rangers. That means that as a result of this investigation, the Sinaloa cartel may have received almost as many guns that are needed to arm the entire regiment. Out of these 2,000 weapons, 34 were .50-caliber sniper rifles. That is approximately the number of sniper riles a Marine infantry regiment takes into battle.”
The Department of Justice proposed a southwest border strategy in October 2009 to combat Mexican cartels, with final plans for the operation now known as Operation Fast and Furious coming in January 2010. The new “strategy” included multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency, ICE, the IRS and the FBI. This operation entailed ATF agents watching straw purchasers buy hundreds of high-powered weapons and allowed them to go back or “walk” into Mexico, with a goal of “tracing” them back to cartel leaders. As Americans learned in the second hearing about this operation on June 15, guns were lost, not traced, and now a cover-up has begun.
“The Acting Director of the ATF, in a transcribed interview with investigators, has said that the Justice Department is trying to push all of this away from its political appointees. That is not the response this committee, Congress and the public, should expect from the ‘most transparent administration in history, [FOTFLMFAO-HM]’” Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said during opening statements. “To date, President Obama has been keen to talk about who didn’t know about the program and who didn’t authorize it. These answers will not suffice. The American people have a right to know, once and for all, who did authorize it and who knew about it.”
link to Katie Pavlich at townhall.com
At a lengthy hearing on ATF's controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O'Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O'Reilly is unclear and wasn't fully explored at the hearing.
It's the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF's operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It's unknown as to whether O'Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.
link to Cheryl Atkisson at CBS
Bloggers to keep following regularly, the two that broke the story in December 2010, 3 months before CBS, and facilitated the ATF agents obtaining whistleblower status:
Mike Vanderbeogh, Sipsey Street Irregulars
David Codrea, National Gun Rights Examiner.