I know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has long as a reputation as the “dumping ground” for sub-par civil servants, but I typically avoided commenting on that claim in the belief that there are more good guys in the agency than bad.
Two of the supervising agents implicated in the Operation Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal are mounting a counteroffensive, arguing they had no choice but to let criminal suspects buy guns.
Last month, lawyers for ATF supervisors Bill Newell and David Voth sent letters to two members of Congress who are leading an investigation into the Phoenix-based probe of people buying guns in Arizona for criminals in Mexico.
One of their key arguments: From the operation’s inception in September 2009 until June 2010, federal prosecutors told the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents running the investigation that they did not have probable cause to arrest the people buying the weapons or seize the guns from them. During that time, suspects bought the majority of the nearly 2,000 guns they ended up purchasing while being investigated.
“According to the prosecutor, the agents lacked sufficient evidence that the firearms were illegally purchased, and it would have been unlawful for the agents to seize them,” attorney Joshua Levy said in a letter on Voth’s behalf to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. “Under those circumstances, non-interdiction by the agents is not gunwalking.”
This version of events runs counter to what Issa and Grassley have found in their investigation of Fast and Furious, which has singled out Voth, then the group supervisor overseeing the case, and Newell, then the special agent in charge of ATF’s Phoenix division.
“Allowing guns to fall into the hands of the (drug trafficking organizations) was the operation’s central goal,” a staff report written for Issa and Grassley concluded last year.
I’ve seen blatant, bald-faced lies before, but the claim by Voth and Newell that they didn’t have “sufficient evidence” to interdict the more than two thousand weapons that walked under their supervision is a blatant and obvious lie.
All the suspects int eh gun-walking ring, from the straw purchasers to the smugglers, were know before the operation was launched. At any point, they could have been arrested for strawman purchases, which carries a penalty of up to ten years and a $250,000 fine. At any point after the first weapons transited the border, they had the addition charges of violating the Arms Export Control Act, and of RICO prosecutions. With just the first shipment of the operation, they could have closed an ironclad case and sent all of the conspirators to prison for decades.
But we all know that Fast and Furious wasn’t about interdiction. It was about gun-running in support of the Obama Administration’s “under the radar” gun control efforts.
Attorney General Eric Holder has committed perjury attempting to stonewall the investigation, and new reports indicate that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano lied under oath as well. Holder and his Department of Justice face contempt charges at any moment the Congressional Oversight Committee decides to press them for obstructing the investigation, and the White House itself is refusing to let a former White House National Security Council staffer that seems to have been the White House contact on the operation testify, even though he wants to do so.
We have a criminal enterprise in the Oval Office and the Cabinet, bearing the responsibly of arming narco-terrorist cartels who have killed tens of thousands. At least 300 deaths can be traced to the Obama Administration’s gun plot so far, and most of the guns supplied by the Obama Administration are still in cartel hands.