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A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 9:28

At the link is a lengthy, in depth history of the 'Fast and Furious" case, and well worth the read. excerpts:

Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.
-snip -
Voth's mandate was to stop gun traffickers in Arizona, the state ranked by the gun-control advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation's "weakest gun violence prevention laws." Just 200 miles from Mexico, which prohibits gun sales, the Phoenix area is home to 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. Billboards advertise volume discounts for multiple purchases.

Customers can legally buy as many weapons as they want in Arizona as long as they're 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. There are no waiting periods and no need for permits, and buyers are allowed to resell the guns. "In Arizona," says Voth, "someone buying three guns is like someone buying a sandwich."

By 2009 the Sinaloa drug cartel had made Phoenix its gun supermarket and recruited young Americans as its designated shoppers or straw purchasers. Voth and his agents began investigating a group of buyers, some not even old enough to buy beer, whose members were plunking down as much as $20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others.

snip -

Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It's a story that starts with a grudge, specifically Dodson's anger at Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration, which, for its part, has capitulated in an apparent effort to avoid a rhetorical battle over gun control in the run-up to the presidential election. - snip -

I think its well worth the read.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

david, that article is the best evidence that all of these documents should be turned over to the congressional committee. In Feb.Holder testified that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious, yet since then, we've found out that he ended the program the previous Dec. The Bush administration ran a similar operation between 2006 and 2007, though they did it in conjunction with the Mexican government and all guns were equipped with tracking devices.

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran a series of "gunwalking" sting operations[2][3] between 2006[4] and 2011.[2][5] This was done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.[6] "Gunwalking" or "letting guns walk" was a tactic whereby the ATF knowingly allowed thousands of guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers ("gunrunners") working through straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.[7]

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, in theory leading to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[8][9] The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers.[10][11][12][13][14] Operation Fast and Furious, by far the largest "gunwalking" probe, led to the sale of over 2,000 firearms, of which nearly 700 were recovered as of October 20, 2011.[15] A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures have been arrested.[7]

Firearms "walked" by the ATF have been found at violent crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico�United States border, including scenes involving the deaths of many Mexicans and at least one U.S. federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Terry was murdered by illegal aliens armed with Fast and Furious AK-47's. [16] The "gunwalking" operations became public in the aftermath of Terry's murder.[2] Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response.[17][18] As investigations have continued, the operations have become increasingly controversial in both countries, and diplomatic relations have been damaged as a result.[2]"

Tomorrow there will be a vote on contempt charges against Eric Holder, many democrats are in agreement with these charges.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

You saw then that the Attorney General in AZ refused to prosecute the cases of straw purchases they'd found, and that this allegation of intentional 'gun walking' stems from some cowboy kook disgruntled agent, denied by everyone else?

This is a huge, stinking, deadly mess. Remember back a few years when the NRA was running a big campaign about how hardly any of the weaponry used in Mexico came from the US? No, nothing, those Mexicans are all wrong?

We have the NRA fighting tooth and nail to gut the ATF, lobby to refuse funding, and make it nearly impossible to prosecute gun shops that sell these weapons, and lobbied to pass laws that make it almost impossible to prosecute straw purchasers, and is now screaming at Holder because the ATF/AG didn't do its job.

I dunno how this works out. If indeed the full story does come out - including all the stuff Issa is after, but as well full publicity on what is actually happening with these tens of thousands of guns pretty much legally going to the cartels under the blanket of defending the 2nd ammendment, who knows.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Some times I want to upchuck at the banality of arguments supporting gun trafficking in spite of the carnage ensuing.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Let's just hope it comes out david, and politics be d@mned. Terry's family deserves answers, and should have had them a year ago.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

I imagine that some of the 20,000 plus dead in Mexico need some closure too. Fat chance.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

This administration will not even tell Congress who authorized Fast and Furious. That cannot stand.

I don't care if the public isn't given a name, but the oversight committee has a right and a duty to know who gave the go ahead to a program that got our border agents killed. In addition, Congress must hold accountable any individuals within the Executive office and/or the DOJ who misled them.

This is not going to go away until the oversight committee, ie, elected representatives of the American people, get the documents the AG and our president do not want them to see.
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Marshall! I was starting to wonder where you were. Happy to see you here!


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

If you read the article in the OP, you will see that there wasn't any operation to intentionally let guns walk and follow them, that the whole thing was an attempt to stop the straw purchases - the name 'Fast and Furious" was given to the existing straw purchasers because they liked to drag race. And they couldn't stop the traffic because the AG refused to prosecute.

Again, its worth a read, no matter how long and how big the words.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

David, imploring the Dedicated to read links for content is an unrewarded effort. The Narrative has already been delivered by the proper talking heads on the Right. Details and even facts are irrelevant to the Narrative.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious


Oh I'm pretty sure Dave's link was read -- and it didn't tell them anything new.

______________________________________________________________________


From the link:

[Step 1] On June 1, Dodson used $2,500 in ATF funds to purchase six AK Draco pistols from local gun dealers, and gave these to Fernandez, who reimbursed him and gave him $700 for his efforts. Two days later, according to case records, Dodson--who would later testify that in his previous experience, "if even one [gun] got away from us, nobody went home until we found it"--left on a scheduled vacation without interdicting the guns. That day, Voth wrote to remind him that money collected as evidence needed to be vouchered within five days. Dodson e-mailed back, his sarcasm fully restored: "Do the orders define a 'day'? Is it; a calendar day? A business day or work day..? An Earth day (because a day on Venus takes 243 Earth days which would mean that I have plenty of time)?"

[Step 2] The guns were never recovered, the case was later closed, and Fernandez was never charged. By any definition, it was gun walking of the most egregious sort: a government agent using taxpayer money to deliver guns to bad guys and then failing to intercept them.

[Step 3] On Feb. 4, 2011, the Justice Department sent a letter to Sen. Grassley saying that the allegations of gun walking in Fast and Furious were false and that ATF always tried to interdict weapons. A month later, Grassley countered with what appeared to be slam-dunk proof that ATF had indeed walked guns. "[P]lease explain how the denials in the Justice Department's Feb. 4, 2011 letter to me can be squared with the evidence," Grassley wrote, attaching damning case reports that he contended "proved that ATF allowed guns to 'walk.'" The case and agent names were redacted, but the reports were not from Fast and Furious. They came entirely from Dodson's Fernandez case.

That is the same Dodson Issa peddles as his top witness?


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

"If you read the article in the OP, you will see that there wasn't any operation to intentionally let guns walk and follow them...And they couldn't stop the traffic because the AG refused to prosecute."

I'm fine with whatever conclusions you wish to draw, David.

I'm also fine with Rep. Issa and our elected representatives from both sides of the aisle staying with this until they flush out the big rat they all smell.



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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

I think the big rat they smell is going to turn out to be their star witness, Dobson.

But then you know that, having read the article as well.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

"Rep. Darrell Issa said Wednesday that he neither had evidence nor a strong suspicion that President Barack Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder had knowledge of the "gunwalking" tactics used during Fast and Furious." Onto the next investigatin remember the floater promised investigation upon investigation.
Could we get a promise taht if we turn over these document's that your not juts goin to deman more dcoument's the bill from Wendy's.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

From TPM since links arent always read.

"One day ahead of a House vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, a six month investigation by Fortune magazine found that Arizona-based agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives never purposefully allowed guns to "walk" during Operation Fast and Furious.

The extensive piece by investigative journalist Katherine Eban puts a dent in what had been accepted as common wisdom by congressional investigators and journalists alike. Based on a review of over 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviews with 39 people (including seven law-enforcement agents with "direct knowledge of the case"), the story concludes that agents never purposefully allowed weapons to be trafficked. Agents told Fortune they "seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn."

At one point during the investigation, the head of the unit Dave Voth was emailed by an ATF colleague in Texas who had picked up a number of weapons connected to the case and asked if they were just going to allow guns to "walk."

"I am very offended by your e-mail," Voth wrote back in August 2010. "Define walk? Without Probable Cause and concurrence from the USAO [U.S. Attorney�s Office] it is highway robbery if we take someone�s property."

Voth was referring to the opinion of federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney�s office in Arizona, who said they wouldn�t bring a case against suspected straw purchasers earlier in the investigation because they didn�t believe federal law made what they were doing illegal.

Fortune reports that the assistant U.S. attorney leading Fast and Furious who wouldn�t bring the case in January 2010, Emory Hurley, is an avid gun enthusiast with limited experience with wiretaps. It was Hurley who suggested in January that agents wiretap a suspected recruiter of straw purchasers and get evidence he was directing them to buy weapons.

Later that month, a man purchased three rifles at Lone Wolf Trading Company, which flagged the suspicious purchases in a fax to ATF. Two of the weapons ended up at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry�s murder 11 months later, sparking the congressional investigation.

Plenty of Republicans are holding onto the conspiracy theory that Fast and Furious was a secret plot by the Obama administration to send guns to Mexico in order to boost public support for gun control. House Speaker John Boehner claimed Wednesday that he didn�t know whether the operation was about gun control, a plot Fortune�s piece "charitably" calls "far-fetched."


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 17:46

Issa is a political nut pure and simple (minded). If 100% of these documents were released and Issa found no wrong doing he'd then insist on the official long form version of those documents being released.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 27, 12 at 17:49

....he'd then insist on the official long form version of those documents being released.

Resembles some posters.


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It will all end in an investigation of him eventually which he will claim is revenge.


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you will see that there wasn't any operation to intentionally let guns walk and follow them, that the whole thing was an attempt to stop the straw purchases - the name 'Fast and Furious" was given to the existing straw purchasers because they liked to drag race. And they couldn't stop the traffic because the AG refused to prosecute.

David, I finally had the chance to read the article.

What was wrong the prosecutors in AZ? And Dodson - what a creep with total disregard for the consequences of his actions.

I hope the Fortune article is read by many; an investigative reporter outperforms and outshines Mr. Issa. Once again California apologized to the country for this guy. I guess the party considers him useful in DC, but the CA GOP jettisoned him to run as governor during the Gray Davis recall. And that's the story of how CA ended up with the gropenator instead of a defeated Issa.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

The larger problem is the serial incompetence going on in the AG's office.

First they give the wrong documents to Congress regarding Fast and Furious, then it took them another 8 months or so to provide the correct documents.

They botched the Ghailani trial. They screwed up the Edwards trial. They wasted taxpayer dollars in and epic fail with the Roger Clemens trial, which was a prosecutorial embarrassment.

They tried a couple of cases locally. One case, voter fraud, was a complete cakewalk for prosecutors, and all the local politicians got was a slap on the wrist. In the other case, involving a state senator, they could only get 2 mail fraud convictions. What a waste!

If I was Eric Holder, I would be firing these incompetent people. Instead we just get an embarrassing string of failurs.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Since I believe very strongly that our 2nd Amendment rights are important to keep, I would suggest a solution of federally mandated gun laws for all 50 states that are the same from state to state... and not the jumbled mess we have today, where each state has differing laws, some making it incredibly easy to buy and own or sell a multitude of weapons to practically anybody.

I like the mandatory wait between the purchase and actual pickup. It stops impulse and anger shootings.

I like that I need to have a valid FOID card.

I like that every person applying for a FOID card is checked thoroughly.

I like registered weapons... so police can keep track of the crimes they've been used in and who they've belonged to at what periods in time.

And I think it especially important to rid the border states of the old west mentality, where everyone has a gun rack in his pickup truck, or walks around strapped with holsters and loaded weapons.

Guns can serve good purposes... and it's unfortunate that they end up serving so many bad purposes. I think the solution is to change the laws. Make it tougher for people to just to walk around armed, make buying tougher through a waiting period, etc...

I think that no matter what we do, someone somewhere will find a way to black market weapons. But we can put a small dent in some problems by simply changing a few laws.

I have not read the article... I don't have a lot of time right now... but it seems to me that our agencies are treating the chain of evidence rather lax. I don't think a cop can leave for vacation until he's entered all his evidence and the paperwork that goes with it... though I could be wrong.

It's my understanding that the border is riddled with tunnels and escape routes, landing strips and holes... and that cartels will get what they want, or they will simply take it. I think there's corruption to be investigated.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

At the link is a video interview shown on NBC the other day, with one of the agents pointing out that they tried to stop all the guns, but again, the AG in AZ wouldn't let them arrest the guys because they didn't believe they have enough evidence.

Concluding with the observation that the ATF agents have now stopped even trying to catch the straw purchasers because of the political circus and the destroyed careers, and its win-win for the criminals [and NRA]

The AG, according to the Fortune article, being a gung-ho 2nd amendment rights guy, h*ll bent on upholding that right. With the inevitable consequences.

Lionheart, I'm wondering at the level of over-all incompetence we're seeing as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

I'm not sure I'm buying the AG in AZ argument. The feds usually have the upper hand in this, and they can make their case(s) if the states can't meet their (usually higher) burdens of proof. Usually, the feds don't have to meet the more stringent burdens of proof that are required by some of the states.

This claim that the "state AG won't let me" smells funny. I don't mean to be flippant or sarcastic - maybe it's true in some cases - but I was always under the impression that the feds can bring their own charges if the states can't make their prima facie case.

Based on your link, it was the feds who said they needed more evidence of intent before filing charges. I don't know (*shrug*), but the whole thing sounds botched from top to bottom.

As the AG, the heat is on Holder. I would want more competent people around me if I was him. His underlings - the folks handling everything at the operational and prosecutorial level - are incompetent. Time for them to go.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Its the US Attorney General in Arizona, not the state guy.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Oh, okay. Now it makes sense. Duh, I should have figured that out.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Well, he's still in the Justice Dept - its just that the focus has been on the ATF, not the AG side of the mess.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious


From your link:

Just 200 miles from Mexico, which prohibits gun sales, the Phoenix area is home to 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. Billboards advertise volume discounts for multiple purchases.


As for the local state attorneys, and the AG's stalling and delaying, and why there is a flourishing weapon smuggling trade in the first place, with over 800 suppliers, start right there.



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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Just wondering david, who's careers have been ruined? I know we have a dead border agent and a couple hundred dead mexican citizens, but I haven't heard of anyone losing their job over this?


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

but I haven't heard of anyone losing their job over this

Then you haven't read the Fortune article.

No comments about Arizona's permissive attitude towards gun purchases?


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

And now John Boehner says that Republicans will file a civil lawsuit:

Republicans in Congress will file a civil lawsuit over President Barack Obama's invoking of executive privilege in connection with Operation Fast and Furious, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"That's why we're also going to file in district court a civil suit over the issue of executive privilege," Boehner said, adding that Republicans would file the suit sometime in the next few weeks.

Really, do they think that's going to go anywhere? More taxpayer money down the drain instead of spending time on the economy.

I hope people are paying attention to what their Republican "leaders" focus on when the platform they ran on in 2010 was jobs, jobs, jobs. But since they don't have any good ideas on what to do with the economy, I guess they might as well raise a stink about executive privilege.


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RE: A good explanation of Fast and Furious

Posted by mrskjun 9 (My Page) on Sun, Jul 1, 12 at 6:38

"Just wondering david, who's careers have been ruined? I know we have a dead border agent and a couple hundred dead mexican citizens, but I haven't heard of anyone losing their job over this?"

Mrs, technically Brian Terry lost his job. :-(


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