Obama Scandal Checklist: Operation Fast And Furious

Ah, the final entry in my series on scandals plaguing the Obama administration. I saved Operation Fast And Furious for last for several reasons. For one, it’s the most complicated, and I was lazy. For another, it’s probably the biggest. For a third, it kept getting stranger and stranger.


Here’s where it’s a wee bit odd: yes, it’s the most complicated. But it’s actually very simple — the basic facts are very clear and, by and large, undisputed. It’s when you get past the surface elements and actually try to understand what the hell the whole thing was about — even to the nature of the “cover story” — that it goes right off into Cloud Cuckoo Land.


It all started as a program that, officially, was to help fight the Mexican drug cartels. The drug cartels like guns, and we try to make getting them inconvenient for the cartel. This doesn’t slow them down much, but it’s something. So someone got the bright idea of making it easier for the cartels to get their guns from otherwise law-abiding American gun dealers through “straw buyers.”

Everyone knows the concept. It’s like a group of youngsters pooling their money and sending the one kid with the best fake ID to buy the booze — except in this case, the convenience store clerk has been specifically told by the cops to take the ID at face value, and the beer is actually high-powered weapons.


Anyway, the cartels found some people who were willing to buy the guns from the gun shops, then deliver them to the cartels — who would then smuggle them across the border into Mexico, for their own use in attempting to destroy the government of Mexico. And the gun stores, who normally look very suspiciously at these “innocent” buyers, were specifically “asked” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (what we used to call the ATF, and I still will here ‘cuz it’s fewer letters to type) to turn off their normal suspicions and let the buys go through.


Now, note the quote marks around “ask.” To a gun dealer, the ATF is God. And it is not a kind and merciful God. If the ATF decides they don’t like you and your business, you might as well hang it up and start a green energy company, ‘cuz they will kill your business dead. So when they ask you to turn a blind eye to certain illegal practices, and are willing to put it in writing as a favor to them, you do it. And you don’t ask questions.


Anyway, the straw buyers — several of whom had lengthy criminal records that should have stopped the purchase on the spot — bought themselves a bunch of guns, and then turned them over to the Mexican drug cartels (who, in most cases, had fronted the money for the buys in the first place). And the cartels smuggled them across the border into Mexico, all under the discreet eyes of the ATF, who tracked the guns at every single stage from shop to the border.


Where they stopped following them.


Quite a few of the guns have since turned up — at crime scenes. Authorities in Mexico say they have linked 200 crimes to Fast and Furious guns, and three guns have turned up at murder scenes here in the US — including the killing of US Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry. And it must be noted that these are all cases where the guns were recovered at the crime scene — a very rare occurrence. Most criminals don’t just leave their guns behind; they either keep them or dispose of them in some way that would make it difficult to link it to either the criminal or the crime. So for the guns to be simply left behind at a crime scene is extremely rare — and, to me, indicative that quite a few more guns were involved in crimes, but not left behind.


Just a few more facts about the case, that no one is disputing: the ATF never even tried to follow the guns past the Mexican border, and no one in Mexico — not ATF agents or even the Mexican government — were told that the US was supplying the Mexican drug cartels with guns and helping them smuggle them into Mexico.


OK, that’s the bare bones of things. Like I said, nice and simple. Things don’t start turning into spaghetti until you ask the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question: Why?


There are numerous theories being floated about just what the big idea behind this whole mess was. What was the overarching plan at work, in which this actually seemed to make any kind of sense?


The official story, and that pushed by the Obama apologists, is that this was a rogue operation by one office of the ATF and was intended to “sting” the Mexican drug cartels by tracing the weapons right into the hands of the bigwigs, and once that was done they’d swoop in, arrest them, and convict them on weapons charges. But that simply doesn’t make any sense on so many fronts. First up, helping the cartels smuggle weapons into Mexico is a gross violation of international law and, technically, an act of war against Mexico — there’s no way in hell even the roguest of rogue agents would dare so much without getting the approval of some serious bigwigs upstairs. Further, there was never even the slightest attempt to track the weapons once they crossed the border — which means there would never be any evidence at all against the cartel higher-ups, even if it actually worked. As noted, not a single ATF agent in Mexico nor anyone in the Mexican government was even aware of the operation, let alone asked to help in carrying it out. The whole thing violates Rule 12 of the Official, Copyrighted Evil Overlord List“One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.”


So the official explanation simply makes no sense.


OK, so much for the official explanation. How about some of those crazy, crackpot, nutjob conspiracy theories?


First up: that this was actually a covert attempt to toughen gun control laws in the US. This one is a little convoluted, but bear with me. It starts with two statements by President Obama: the first, that he told the Brady gun-control nuts that he was actually working under the table to help gun control, but couldn’t give them the details because it was a secret. Second, President Obama fudging some numbers and saying that a majority of guns seized from the Mexican drug cartels were from the US. (The truth is that Mexico only identified a small fraction of guns they captured as likely being from the US, and the vast majority of those were actually from the US — I want to say it was 95% of 10%, or about 9.5% of the total guns.) (Correction: here’s the full story and explanation.)


Those two factors came together in a truly diabolical scheme: if Obama’s statement were somehow “helped” to be more accurate — that most of the guns the Mexican cartels used were from the US (and not stolen/bought from the Mexican military, or brought in from other countries less interested in a stable Mexico and more interested in making some quick bucks), then that could be used as an argument in favor of tightening gun control — after all, we need to keep our guns from getting into Mexico, don’t we?


This one also fails the aforementioned five-year-old test. It hinges on a large number of people actually buying into the argument that “drug cartels are killing a lot of innocent people south of the border, so we need to do all we can disarm innocent people on this side of it.” It also depends on a whole lot of people knowing details of the plan, and never ever ever letting that slip. And that should have been obviously a bad bet from the outset, as numerous ATF agents went on the record as telling their superiors that it was a very, very, very bad idea. All it would take would be a single one of all these people to have an attack of conscience (or a need for attention and to be perceived as the heroic whistle-blower) to keep some key documents and let it all out later. And we already know that this mess reached pretty far — already it’s entangled most of the ATF leadership, the FBI, the Justice Department overall, and the State Department. Plus there are all those otherwise law-abiding gun dealers who made all those sales to straw buyers over their own objections and better judgment — gotta keep them quiet, too. That just ain’t possible.


Then there’s another, even bigger theory — that the whole operation was part of a grand scheme to benefit the Left politically. In that theory, here’s how it works out:


1) As the cartels get better armed, more Mexicans flee Mexico to escape the terror — and come to the US, where they would be far more likely to support Democrats.


2) As the gun violence ramps up and more and more guns are traced back to the US, support for tighter gun control laws — “to keep them out of the hands of the Mexican drug cartels” — increases and truly draconian laws are passed — and another goal of the Left is realized.


3) As that fails to do anything to stop the violence, finally someone pushes a law to decriminalize many drugs in the US (another favorite of the left) to strip the cartels of their prime source of income. If the drugs become legal, then most of the profit in smuggling and selling them goes away.


Now, I happen to think both those theories are thoroughly crackpot. But I can’t help but notice — they’re actually less crazy than the official story.


I’ve put my own imagination to the task of explaining what the idea behind Operation Fast And Furious was — from both sides, defending and attacking it. And I consider myself a moderately imaginative fellow, especially when it comes to cooking up rationalizations and excuses. But here, I have to admit defeat. I simply can’t come up with an explanation that I can’t immediately tear to shreds.


But you know what? I don’t really care. Just going on the indisputable facts, officials in several branches of the Obama administration were complicit in a scheme that broke American laws, Mexican laws, international laws and treaties, and constituted an actual, honest-to-God act of war against a sovereign and allied nation. At this point, I’m completely fine with unleashing the legal hounds of Hell against all those we already know were in on the whole mess, and sweating them until we find out just who was the highest-ranking official who was involved.


Then — and only then — do we ask them, nicely, if they’d like to explain just what the big idea was. And it would be purely in the context of mitigating circumstances for their trial on charges of espionage, treason, and accessory to the murders of hundreds of innocent Mexicans.


And — most importantly — United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.


At this point, I would like to say that “someone needs to hang” or “someone needs to burn” for this whole mess. But we don’t use nooses or electric chairs for federal executions any more; we use lethal injections.


I’ll cheerfully provide the needle.


Bob Owens’ coverage at this whole mess — both at Pajamas Media and his own blog — has been nothing short of legendary. If ever a blogger deserved a Pulitzer, it’s Bob.

Archbishop Dolan: Obama policies leading to a conflict between Church and State
It's only going to get worse
  • Anonymous

    Just an honest heartfelt redistribution of guns and ammo for the cartels.. Why should Americano’s be the only one’s loaded to the gills in Cheney-shot..

  • jim_m

    You left out the newest part:   The administration has yet to explain itself to Mexico.  Mexico wants an explanation and is starting to sound angry.

    “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been
    arms trafficking permitted,” Morales, Mexico’s highest-ranking law
    enforcement official, said in a recent interview. “In no way would we
    have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”


    It’s nice that Mexico’s Atty Gen stops short of calling it an act of war.  For now.

    • Anonymous

      Yes it is actually an act of war isn’t it. Against the Mexican government and the american people and next  government. 

      Most ethical thoughtful administration evah!  Gallows anyone?  C’mon 2012!! Although my official platform calls for their scalps much sooner..

  • The stonewalling of congressional investigations by the Administration and DOJ in particular tend to indicate there is more there.  If there were not, why not just supply the requested information and be done with it?

    • Anonymous

      Because that would require coming up with a long-form.  And we all know how tough that is these days.

  • Gregg Weber

    Who got the money?
    The buyers paid for the weapons at the gun shops with federal money.
    Did they give them to a drug cartel or did they sell them or get a fee for buying them?
    That money that they got from the drug cartel went somewhere and the question is who got that drug cartel money? Did it go into the General Fund, Department Operating Fund, some corrupt cop, or politician? Considering how hard the higher up’s are hiding things, I suspect the politicians.

    • jim_m

      Ummm.  The gun shop got the money because the gun shop had stocked the merchandise.  The gun shop sold those guns to illegal straw purchasers against their judgement at the specific direction of the ATF.  The gun stores are not at fault. 

      This isn’t about money.  It’s about an insane plan to sell guns illegally for a political purpose.  It’s about this corrupt administration undermining the security and stability of Mexico and other nations (ie Honduras in operation Castaway).  This was an ideological program run for an ideological payoff.

      • Gregg Weber

        When they gave the weapons to the drug cartel, were they paid for those weapons? I hope federal funds were buying weapons for the cartels. I suspect that some cartel money was transfered for the weapons. Who got that money? Again I suspect corrupt politicians (in Washington DC?) who are currently trying to hide all this.
        Is it work for your agenda when you are being paid for it? No. That is frosting on the cake.

        • jim_m

          You really need to read up on this one. 

          The law prevents the purchase of guns by felons.  In order to get around this law drug cartels use buyers without records to buy the guns.  These are referred to as straw purchasers.  The ATF is charged with ensuring that gun sales are legal. In operation Fast & Furious the ATF OK’d the illegal purchase of guns by straw purchasers.  Over 2000 guns were sold in this manner to the sinaloa cartel in Mexico.  The money came from the drug cartel.  The government allowed the sale of the guns to go through(in fact in some cases ordered the sales to go through over the objection of field agents and gun store owners).

          The government wasn’t making money on this deal (not unless the drug cartel was paying them off for approving the sales, but that has not yet been alleged).  Besides the amount of money made in these transactions was not on the scale of government corruption, not when you have Solyndra scamming a quick half billion off the taxpayers.

          • Gregg Weber

            I think I see what you are writing. You are saying that there was no connection between the ATF and the straw buyers. When a straw buyer just happened to buy weapons then the ATF would allow or order the gun shop owner to sell the weapons for drug cartel money. No organization at all. It was then that the ATF would rush around and getting everything ready to track, trail, follow, or otherwise always know where the weapons are so that none of them would get “lost”.
            I was thinking, incorrectly according to you, that ATF people were acting undercover with or as the straw dealers and used federal money to buy the weapons and then sell them at a profit to the drug cartel someplace near the border. In that way the ATF can have some time to get everything ready to follow the weapons.
            But you say there was no federal money involved at all.

          • jim_m

            Now you have it.  ATF were just observers, but ended up facilitating illegal gun purchases.  The guns were shipped into Mexico for use by the drug cartels.  The problem comes that the guns weren’t really tracked, we have congressional testimony that AFT officials were “delighted” when these guns started showing up at crime scenes, and there is no legitimate law enforcement reason for this operation to have existed.

            No federal money but plenty of malfeasance.  Feds allowed illegal gun sales.  Feds allowed the importation of several tons of cocaine by the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for “information”.  Feds have covered up the connection of these guns with the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.  The DOJ has obstructed a congressional investigation and the coverup apparently includes the ATF, DEA and FBI now.  We also have testimony that WH aides were briefed on Fast & Furious more than once.

            You don’t need money to have a scandal.

          • Gregg Weber

            So they are going to kick some low level into jail for malpeasance, and others will be kicked upstairs to keep quiet with their promotions, problem solved and you can now go somewhere else for a story before you get too far up in the chain.
            Have you ever seen the foreign movie “Z”? It is a propaganda movie but you can see something how investigations can be stopped. Hope it doesn’t happen here.

  • Anonymous

    Couple of points JT:

    1)  Guns used in crimes are dropped at the scene.  The cartels aren’t stupid and they’ve been burned in the past.  You use a gun and you know you killed someone with it, the last thing you want to do is get caught later and have ballistics tie you to a previous crime scene.  And they can always get another gun.

    2) The White House story is BULLSHIT!  Was some Drug Lord going to sign a receipt for the weapons?  Hell, some underling would handle the whole thing.  And no one would sign a damned thing.

    Whatever the Grand Scheme, just put it in perspective.  In 2009 Democrats reigned supreme.  They would rule for the next generation.  Conservatism was DOA.  They could do whatever they wanted because they were in the majority in both Houses of Congress.  You could have a case signed, sealed and delivered to the House for investigative oversight.  And all it would take would be someone like Waxman or Rangel to shove it in a drawer and FORGET ABOUT IT.  No one was going to be looking over their shoulder.

    The MSM?  HAhahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!  How many of them have reported on F&F?

  • Anonymous

      “How many of them have reported on F&F?”

    Too many to count… So lets just say Zero

    “In 2009 Democrats reigned supreme.  They would rule for the next generation.”

    They may have meant ”  There’s a pool on every plantation?  Either way, that was then, this is now. Situational awareness is Barry’s forte!  He’s become a master at taking one mulligan for every trap shot. 

  • Anonymous

    Barry likes to quote Truman and “The Buck Stops Here”.  So maybe the AG of Mexico should go to the World Court and ask for an indictment of the President because HIS administration has been providing weapons to criminal gangs in Mexico.

    • I don’t think Obama quite grasps what the Truman saying means.

  • Anonymous

    As far as I can tell, both theories depend on the liberal left being batshit crazy in the first place – so either theory has a pretty good chance.

  • You have to recall Hillary Clinton’s role in all this. It is about rationalizing more gun control. Not crackpot at all.

    Does the behavior of the Justice department give you any reason to suspect that the Obama administration is above such dirty pool? Especially given the Black Panther voter intimidation case?

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  • Anonymous

    What is so unbelievable about theory number one? There are PLENTY of people in government that believe that the ends justify the means; it defined the whole clinton administration! The anti-gun crowd both in and outside the government certainly believe that guns cause crime, despite ANY evidence to the contrary; AND that drug cartels get their most or all their guns from the U.S. So manufacturing phony evidence to support banning firearms here on the premise that it would disarm the drug lords over there could give them the win they so DESPERATELY want at home. Hell, they even say so themselves! I believe them, why don’t you? 
    As for crazy theory number two; while remotely conceivable; liberals aren’t capable of thinking that far ahead…

    • jim_m

      No.  The Mexican drug cartels do not get most of their guns from the US.  obama’s claims a made up out of thin air.  If they had real data they would never have had to run Fast& Furious they would already have had a pretense to go for more gun control.

  • Patrick Louis

    That’s all you racist rebels got…   Y’all need to dig dipper…. This sounds just like the manufactured bullshit about the debt ceiling.

    • jim_m

      Wow.  What an incisive statement you made.  Spell check might help you a bit though.  Since yours is the first comment to bring race into this discussion I’d be interested to understand how the post and comments, which are all specific to substantive issues and cite Congressional testimony, are evidence of racism.

      My suggestion to you is that since race is the first thing to jump to your mind, it is you who are the racist.  No one else here is criticizing the administration for the color of their skin, we are criticizing it for what appears to be a flagrant disregard for the rule of law and the lives of people in the US as well as in Mexico.

    • Anonymous

      Is that all you got? You would never tolerate this sort of criminal activity from a republican administration and neither would I so why on earth would you tolerate it from the Obama administration? This is plain criminal someone needs to be in jail.

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  • Anonymous

    There are now allegations that the ATF directly procured weapons and gave them to the cartels.  See http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2011/09/vanderboegh-codrea-exclusive-us-govt.html

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  • Charles Ulysses Feney

    The Obama Banda don’t need no Stinkin’ Badges!

    The Obama banda pretended they didn’t know
    That ATF was buyin’ A.K.s at each gun show
    But it’s an indisputable fact
    They violated the Arms Export Control Act
    Selling guns to drogas cartell, down in ol’ Mexico.

    The arma vendedor knew things were out of sorts
    So they called up the ATF to file reports
    ATF said “Let the sales go thru”
    But in their gut, the sellers knew
    ATF would betray, and they’d take it in the shorts!

    But a couple of honest ATF agents balked
    So Holder had these desilusionados stalked
    ‘Cause he knew this EPIC FAIL
    Could put the Obama crew in jail
    If they went before the Congress and they talked!

    Now they pressure the Yankee prensa to ignore
    This pre-meditated, covert act of border war,
    But forty thousand dead a year
    Is what Americans need to hear
    So we can fill Guantanamo with Obama arma corredor! 

    It’s time for American peons to gather torch and pike
    To hang these traitors, not protest or general strike.
    One thing history doesn’t hide
    Is Disarmament Precedes Genocide
    So get the ropes before they establish their Fourth Reich!
    Charles Ulysses Feney

    Dismanteling the Second Amendment, one American at a time! 
    Disarmament preceded Genocide – ALWAYS! Ask the 300 million victims in the last century.