The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) program “Operation Fast and Furious” allowed gun stores near the Mexican border to sell thousands of semiautomatic weapons in bulk to “straw purchasers” and then track their journey. Many of the guns were linked to crimes, including the murder of a Border Patrol agent.
Attorney General Eric Holder reached notoriety when he secured a presidential pardon for his client, Israeli fugitive Marc Rich who had evaded $100 million in US income taxes.
Mexico’s drug cartels make an estimated $50 billion bringing narcotics into the U.S.
With all that money, they can bribe just about anybody. Certainly, Eric Holder’s fees to Marc Rich were substantial, but nothing like the Mexican drug cartels could afford to pay him.
No one seems to know just how many thousands of guns Eric Holder has sent to the Mexican drug cartels, but according to James Lankford (R-OK) the ATF stopped tracking the weapons once they traveled too far from the border. Apparently, the ATF lost track of 1500 – 1800 weapons.
The idea (Eric Holder’s pretext) was to trace the guns to the cartels—without going too far south of the border. Of course, the plan netted nothing, which is no surprise.
Rep. Darrell Issa has released emails that show ATF Director Kenneth Melson, who is overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder, not only knew about “Operation Fast and Furious,” but was being briefed on a weekly basis about the progress and was watching cartels suppliers purchase weapons used to kill innocent people on closed circuit television from his cozy office in Washington D.C.
-The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” “Operation Fast and Furious.” The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
-A second – and more damaging – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was so very interested in “Operation Fast and Furious,” that he enjoyed sitting at his desk in Washington, while watching live TV feeds of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants for the cartels.
Rep. Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a report on “Operation Fast and Furious,” which says border patrol and ATF agents were told only to “watch” weapons and never stop them.
ATF Agents were warned of devastating consequences, including criminal activity, should they investigate why guns were being freely shipped from the U.S. to the Mexican drug cartels. At a House hearing on the program, ATF Agent John Dodson said, “Every time we questioned that order, there was punitive action.”
Issa said the administration (Eric Holder’s Department of Justice) blocked committee requests for documents on “Operation Fast and Furious.”
Issa issued a subpoena on March 31, 2011 to the acting Director of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) Agency Kenneth Melson to determine what he knew and if he signed off on the program—well, obviously, since he was watching it on closed circuit TV.
According to Issa, his hearings will examine the “reckless decisions” and “tragic outcome” of “Fast and Furious.”
The committee is calling a new set of witnesses, including the family of a slain border security agent, ATF Agents and Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich who reports directly to Obama’s buddy, and man at arms (no pun intended) Eric Holder.