Bloody 'Fast and Furious' program approved by Holder's DOJ

Even as Barack Obama was meeting with Mexican President Calderón to discuss border violence, drug and weapons trafficking and whether to allow U.S. agents to carry arms for their own protection while working in Mexico, ATF agent John Dodson was blowing the lid off of a scandalous agency program.  During an interview with CBS News, the senior ATF agent who was assigned to the Phoenix office last year said that he was ordered to allow illegal gun trafficking into Mexico. 


Although John Dodson’s superiors at ATF have denied that the operation dubbed “Fast and Furious” and the subsequent gun running plan ever happened, Senior Agent Dodson is risking his career to take this scandal public.


“I’m boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we’ve been doing it every day since I’ve been here,” he said.  “Here I am.  Tell me I didn’t do the things that I did.  Tell me you didn’t order me to do the things I did.  Tell me it didn’t happen.  Now you have a name on it.  You have a face to put with it.  Here I am.  Someone now, tell me it didn’t happen.”


Senior Agent Dodson and other undisclosed sources have said that the strategy known as “gun walking” had been approved by the ATF and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.  Boxes of weapons can be seen being loaded into vehicles by suspected drug cartel operatives in agency surveillance video obtained by CBS News. 


Documents show the inevitable result:  The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico.  And as AFT stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets…the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.


During 2010 more than 3,000 people were killed in the city of Juarez alone, which eclipses the number of civilian and military casualties in war torn Afghanistan last year.  John Dodson believes that the ATF gun walking policy should be held partly to blame for the bloody violence that has spread across Northern Mexico and the border. 


Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over.


Their answer, according to Dodson, was, “If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.”


There was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an AFT supervisor issued an e-mail noting a “schism” among the agents.  “Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case…we are doing what they envisioned…if you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work…Maybe the Maricopa County jail is hiring detention officers and you can get $30,000…to serve lunch to inmates…”


The effects of “Fast and Furious” were brought home in a personal way to John Dodson on December 14, 2010.  When U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered a colleague told Dodson that “it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.”  A pair of assault rifles that ATF allowed to walk the previous year were found at Agent Terry’s murder scene, Dodson said “I felt guilty.  I mean it’s crushing.  I don’t know how to explain it.”


Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) began an investigation after his office interviewed a number of ATF agents, including John Dodson all of whom confirmed the existence of the gun walking policy.  Senator Grassley wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and requested documents relating to the case, but has been ignored.  Grassley said “I think it’s a case of stonewalling.”


According to Dodson his agency never did much slow down the drug cartels, but there are thousands of weapons in Mexico courtesy of the “Fast and Furious” program and they will be used by the cartels in their blood battles for many years to come. 


The ATF now says that it will convene a panel to investigate their “firearms tracking policy.”


Statement from Kenneth F. Melson, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:


“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will ask a multi-disciplinary panel of law enforcement professionals to review the bureau’s current firearms tracking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents.  This review will enable ATF to maximize its effectiveness when undertaking complex firearms trafficking investigations and prosecutions.  It will support the goals of AFT to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico and combat firearms trafficking in the United States.”


The whole ugly program smacks of an anti-gun political agenda gone terribly wrong.  Is it possible that we are seeing some of the unintended consequences of an executive level plan to crack down on the legal weapons business in the United States by creating a crisis and then exploiting it for political purposes?  Hopefully Senator Grassley will follow this case and the “Fast and Furious” program to its source. 


Hat tip: Rush Limbaugh


March 5, 2011


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