Witnesses are sworn in at a hearing held by the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on 'Operation Fast and Furious: The Other Side of the Border,' on Capitol Hill in Washington.
A typical gun store in the USA where guns can be purchased for transport to Mexico in one day.
A young man lies dead next to a skateboard and a bicycle after unknown gunmen opened fire in the eastern part of Saltillo, Mexico, on December 7, 2011. According to the state attorney general, three young men were killed in the attack.
Two men with their hands tied behind their back and with their faces covered with duct tape lie by the side of the road as police secure the area in the city of Veracruz, Mexico, on December 6, 2011. A total of 4 men were found killed in separate incidents in the Gulf port city, which has recently suffered growing violence as drug gangs battle for control of the region.
Police stand next to the body of a dead colleague in Ixtapaluca, on the outskirts of Mexico City, on January 23, 2012. Municipal police were transferring two detainees when they were ambushed by gunmen, who shot dead all five police officers and one of the detainees
Medical workers stand next to the bodies of 10 men and one woman, discovered in a pile near a well in Valle de Chalco, Mexico, on July 8, 2011.
Obama in secret used Holder to arm Mexican drug cartels that killed 50,000 Mexicans
August, 2012 — U.S. officials thought they would catch Mexican criminals in a bold gun-running sting called 'Fast and Furious.'
According to Patrik Jonsson,
of the CS Monitor, a congressional report found as the operation spiraled out of control, the U.S. Department of Justice using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives commonly referred to as "the ATF," a law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice, armed Mexican drug cartels that killed more than 50,000Mexicanssince Mexico's President Felipe Calderón began an all-out assault on drug cartels in 2006.
The ATF's ill-fated gun-running sting did nothing to halt the flow of drugs into the United States but rather provided guns including .50 Caliber Machine Guns that ignited a hemorrhage of violence killing more than 50,000 Mexicans through out Mexico infuriating Mexico lawmakers livid over U.S. 'Operation Fast and Furious' that provided drug cartels with .50 Caliber Machine Guns into Mexico.
The most hideous aftermath arming Mexican drugs cartels responsible for killing more than 50,000 Mexicans is to compare the number of Mexicans killed to the U.S. military personnel killed in South Vietnam —55,629.
The newly elected president of Mexico taking office on December 1st stated he is not in favor of legalizing drugs. Enrique Peña Nieto, has made multiple statements about reforming the way the drug war is being conducted.
In an interview, Peña Nieto said, "Yes, I do believe we should open up a new debate regarding how to wage war on drug trafficking. Personally, I'm not in favor of legalizing drugs. I'm not persuaded by that as an argument. However, let's open up a new debate, a review, in which the U.S. plays a fundamental role in conducting this review."
Peña Nieto and his party are expected to focus on peace in Mexico, not taking down high level criminals or stopping drugs from flowing to the United States.
WASHINGTON & SANTA FE, NM (By Jon Garrido)July 11, 2012 — U.S. officials thought they would catch Mexican drug cartel criminals in a bold gun-running sting called 'Fast and Furious;' instead, a congressional report finds as the operation spiraled out of control, the U.S. Department of Justice using its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives commonly referred to as "the ATF," a law enforcement agency, armed Mexican drug cartels by approving the purchase of guns in the USA and allowing the guns to be smuggled into Mexico to be used to kill Mexicans.
The ATF's ill-fated gun-running sting did nothing to halt the flow of drugs into the United States but rather ignited a fury of violence throughout Mexico infuriating Mexico lawmakers livid over U.S.DOJs 'Operation Fast and Furious' that provided drug cartels with .50 caliber machine guns used to kill Mexicans.
The hideous fiasco arming Mexican drugs cartels to kill more than 50,000 Mexicans can be understood by remembering the hardship endured by American families with the loss of human life of U.S. military personnel killed in the Vietnam
War — 55,629. We all have family and friends who served in the U.S. military who were killed in Vietnam defending America but for Mexicans, there is no justification for any Mexican young or old killed by a Mexican drug cartel member using a machine gun approved for sale by the U.S. Department of Justice.
This is identical to arming African tyrants who then use the weapons to kill innocent Africans. Idi Amin Dada was president of Uganda from 1971-1979 and killed more than 500,000 Ugandans. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is the tyrant of genocide in Darfur. Mobutu Sese Seko president of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1965 to 1997 killed an uncounted number of people. Charles Taylor president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003 was the cause of the deaths of untold number of innocent persons in Liberia. Robert Mugabe in office for more than 3 decades killed an uncounted number of Zimbabweans.
I am a 5th generation Mexican American born and raised in Arizona who served in the US Army during Vietnam. I am disgusted with those in the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security and the White House who place no value on safeguarding human lives particularly when persons have a brown face like mine and are probably distant relatives.
President Harry S. Truman said it best, "The buck stops here." Obama is not a Truman. The truth will eventually be told Obama knows more than he admits to. Obama is l
acking in strength of character or purpose; he is ineffective; weak in willpower. He is simply too wishy washy and needs to be held accountable for killing innocent Mexicans.
The truth be told, Obama has no empathy for Hispanic/Latinos, American or Mexican.
Within the next 10 days additional articles plus videos will be added to this series and the series will be updated as events unfold in Washington.
How much damage did ATF's ill-fated gun-running sting do to war on drugs?
On May 29, Mexican federal police in four helicopters attacked a drug cartel in a mountain hideout but were rebuffed by heavy fire from a massive .50 caliber rifle.
A bullet hole left in one helicopter's plate glass window is one exhibit in an exhaustive U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report showing the breadth of a high-stakes, unprecedented, and, ultimately, ill-advised U.S. scheme called "Operation Fast and Furious."
The .50 caliber bullet hole, the report says, likely came from a gun trafficked via Fast and Furious, an operation that allowed nearly 2,000 arms to leave U.S. gun shops via certain traffickers who the U.S. government had identified and thought it could track. The idea was to trace these "straw buyers" to key cartel figures in an attempt to score major gun busts to prove the U.S. was serious about stopping arms trafficking across the border.
Instead, the report alleges that the operation – which one U.S. official has called "a perfect storm of idiocy" – likely allowed hundreds of powerful guns to cross into Mexico, possibly changing the outcome of cartel battles with Mexican police, leading to the deaths of many Mexicans and one federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and damaging diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico.
The Fast and Furious scandal is still playing out, with hearings in the House Oversight Committee Tuesday. Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California says he is intent on finding out how high in the Obama administration knowledge of the operation went.
The report, "Fueling Cartel Violence," backs reports that leaders in the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were aware of the operation. But it also names several key Department of Justice officials, such as Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, as "clearly" being aware of the operation – a charge the Obama administration denies.
According to whistleblowers and key witnesses, however, the real lesson behind Fast and Furious, a two-year operation that ended in January 2011, is how "groupthink" clouded decision-making at the highest levels of government, causing an agency to go against its basic instincts – which is to not allow arms to be trafficked illegally – and consequently contribute, not detract, from border violence.
"These guns weren't going for a positive cause, they were going for a negative cause," ATF attaché Carlos Canino told the congressional oversight committee. "The ATF armed the Sinaloa cartel. It's disgusting."
Despite repeated pushback from some agents and the attaché office in Mexico City, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson assessed it as "a good operation," the report says. According to witnesses, Assistant Attorney General Breuer appeared to cite Fast and Furious in meetings with Mexican officials, saying the U.S. had a major gun-interdiction effort underway out of Phoenix, the report adds.
Where the guns went
The plan was to trace the guns through straw buyers to major cartels, to then build cases and make arrests. But early on, it became evident that tracking the guns had become a problem and hundreds had made their way across the border and disappeared into cartel gun caches. According to the report, Fast and Furious guns made their way to three prominent Mexican cartels: Sinaloa, El Teo and La Familia.
U.S. officials thought they would catch Mexican criminals in a bold gun-running sting called 'Fast and Furious.' Instead, they armed drug cartels as the operation spiraled out of control, a congressional report finds.
Those within ATF who raised concerns about the fundamental flaw in the strategy were rebuffed or simply kept in the dark, Daniel Kumor, the ATF's international affairs chief, told congressional investigators.
At least one witness cited in the report contended knowledge of the tactics in Fast and Furious was widespread in ATF and Justice: "It was common knowledge they were going down there to be crime guns."
The report names main Justice Department trial attorney Joe Cooley as saying the movement of vast numbers of guns to Mexico was "an acceptable practice." Mr. Cooley was Breuer's main contact with Fast and Furious, according to the report.
The Justice Department has maintained it never knowingly allowed guns to "walk" to Mexico.
In the report, at least one higher-up fought back against accusations that field officers and ATF attachés in Mexico were raising concerns about the program. Asked if his reports raised concerns about the operation, Bill McMahon, deputy field operations director for ATF, told Congress: "Not that I can remember."
So far, nobody at the Justice Department has publicly acknowledged a role in the case, and President Obama has said neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder knew anything about it until the story broke after the murder of Brian Terry in a Sonora, Ariz., gun battle in December 2010.
President Obama has ordered the Justice Department inspector general to investigate.
The Justice Department fought back against the report's characterizations of Breuer's involvement.
"The Committee’s report promotes unsubstantiated theories by selectively releasing excerpts of transcripts while ignoring testimony and other information," writes spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler in an e-mail. "For whatever reason, the leadership of the Committee chose not to release witness testimony that makes clear operational details relating to this investigation were unknown to senior Department of Justice officials."
In previous testimony, Acting Director Melson, said the strategy was not "intended to allow the guns to go to suspected straw purchasers without any good faith belief you could recover those weapons."
But he also suggested the field agents had wide latitude. The agents, not the supervisors, "do the tactical stuff," Melson said. ATF Acting Deputy Director William Hoover added in his testimony there was no reason for Justice officials to be aware of the tactics, "because I certainly didn't brief them on the techniques being employed in Fast and Furious."
The fallout from the operation has taken its toll on lives and diplomatic relations, say congressional investigators.
In October, 2010, cartel members kidnapped Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, the brother of Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez Rodriguez. A few days later, police found Mr. Rodriguez's body in a shallow grave. Shortly thereafter, police engaged cartel members in a gun fight, from which several guns were recovered. Two were traced to Operation Fast and Furious.
When Mr. Canino confronted other ATF officials about the need to inform the Mexican government about the link, he says he got "zero instructions," and "every time I mentioned it, guys started looking at their cellphones, silence in the room."
Eight months after the murder, Canino finally told Mexican Attorney General Maricela Morales about the link. "Hijole" (oh my), she said.