Article by Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
CBS News has uncovered that the U.S. government has actually been allowing thousands of military-style firearms to be smuggled into Mexico “to see where they would end up.” Investigators call the tactic “letting the guns walk.”
“Documents show the inevitable result,” Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News reports. “The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets … the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.”
“One email noted, ‘958 killed in March 2010 … most violent month since 2005,’ ” CBS News reports. “The same email notes: ‘Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone,’ including ‘numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.’ ”
Senior officials including federal Agent John Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors about the gun deal over and over.
Their answer, according to Dodson, was “If you’re going to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs,” CBS reports.
Agent Dodson and other sources told CBS News that the “gun walking” strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department.
Surveillance video obtained by CBS News shows suspected drug cartel suppliers carrying boxes of weapons to their cars at Phoenix gun shop. The boxes shown being loaded in the video were AK-47 type assault rifles.
So not only did ATF allow it — they videotaped it.
But there was so much opposition to the gun walking, that an ATF supervisor wrote an email [PDF] nothing a “schism” among the agents, but dismissing their concerns. “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…”
“We just knew it wasn’t going to end well,” Dodson said. “There’s just no way it could.”
“Just when you think our war on drugs can’t get any more absurd, I see truly sickening stories like this one come to light,” writes Jon Walker at Firedoglake. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that these military-style guns, sold at the border, end up with increasingly militarized cartels who used them to murder people to protect their territory from the government and other cartels.”
Most of the weapons the U.S. government allowed to be smuggled into Mexico haven’t been recovered, Walker points out, and two of these U.S.-supplied assault rifles were found at the December 14, 2010 murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Dodson got the bad news from a colleague. “They said, ‘Did you hear about the border patrol agent?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And they said “Well, it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.’
“There’s not really much you can say after that,” Dodson said.
Dodson said they never did take down a drug cartel — but thousands of Fast and Furious weapons are still out there, and will be claiming victims on both sides of the border for years to come.
“Maybe, just maybe, politicians might ask if legalization and regulation of drugs is a better alternative then actively allowing criminals to buy military weapons,” Walker writes at Firedoglake.