Washington, D.C. –
In a stunning move by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency, ATF, its acting director, Kenneth Melson, has implicated the FBI and Customs and Border Patrol agencies of coverups, cloak and dagger operations.
And being kept in the dark to congressional hearings on the matter of a Border Patrol agent that was murdered by guns sold to Mexican drug cartels with the permission and approval of those agencies.
Kenneth E. Melson, Acting Director of the ATF
In Operation Fast and Furious, the secret name for the operation, the ATF would intentionally allow sales of guns bought in the US by known cartel operatives who then send them to Mexico for use by cartel henchmen. Agent Brian Terry, 40, was murdered Dec 14, 2010, and the gun found to have committed the crime was one of the guns sold in the Fast and Furious operation.
CBP Agent Brian Terry, 40, murdered by cartel using
Operation Fast and Furious guns
The sales intended to track the weapons back to cartels hoping it would lead to accounting for who is responsible for what crimes and possibly driving a trail they could follow to take down more cartel operatives along the way. Somewhere in this plan, the agency lost track of the guns that sold, and many started turning up at crime scenes in Mexico.
Melson also indicated that the investigations into this matter by the House and Senate Judiciary, and the Department of Justice would widen as the case is probed further. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista, CA) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) are leading the investigations in Congress, and the Office of the Inspector General, OIG, has launched a department-wide investigation. The congressmen remarked how all this tragedy of the misguided program could have avoided if the agencies would have communicated with each other.
Mexican authorities have complained to CBP and Agency heads that guns were being bought in the US and smuggled to Mexico where they are used in drug cartel crimes. Those crimes have been steadily on the rise, creating war zone like conditions in some border cities.
On Wednesday, Mexican federal police released a videotaped interrogation with recently captured Jesus Rejon Aguilar, an alleged founder of the Zetas gang there who is wanted in the slaying of a U.S. immigration agent in Mexico. He brazenly told them that “all the weapons are bought in the United States” and that “even the American government itself was selling the weapons.”
Suspicion runs deep, even within U.S. agencies that operate in law enforcement actions covering the border area. DHS chief, Janet Napolitano is suspected of knowing about the operation and turned a blind eye to it, hoping to show enforcement action on the border to dispel criticism that she is not doing enough. She is also the former governor of Arizona.
This wild case even involves paid informants, some known cartel members themselves, gun stores, and border agents responsible for preventing illegal crossings of people or things. Congressional leaders in the hearings have warned Attorney General Eric Holder not to make Melson the sole “fall guy” for the crazy operation gone wrong, which would have probably been denied had it sufficient oversight.
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