I’m From the Government, and I’m Here to Help

by Chuck on April 8, 2011 · 0 comments

Yeah, like we haven’t heard that before.

Back in 2005, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) initiated a program called Project Gunrunner.  Project Gunrunner is also part of the Department’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, which seeks to reduce cross-border drug and firearms trafficking and the high level of violence associated with these activities on both sides of the border.  ATF has determined that the Mexican cartels have become the leading gun trafficking organizations operating in the southwest U.S. (DUH) and is working in collaboration with other agencies and the Government of Mexico to expand the eTrace

firearm tracing software system. eTrace is supposed to provide web based access to ATF’s Firearms Tracing System to allow law enforcement both domestically and internationally the ability to trace firearms encountered in connection with a criminal investigation to the first recorded purchaser – who may have innocently sold the gun years ago.  eTrace supposedly allows law enforcement to access their trace results directly (name and address of first purchaser) and offers the ability to generate statistical reports to analyze their trace data to estimate firearms trafficking trends or patterns.  Here’s where it gets interesting.

Project Gunrunner has a stated official objective to stop the sale and export of guns from the United States into Mexico in order to deny Mexican drug cartels the firearms considered “tools of the trade”.  However, since February 2008 under Project Gunrunner, Operations “Fast and Furious”, “Too Hot to Handle”, “Wide Receiver” and others (all together satirically dubbed “Operation Gunwalker”), have done the opposite by ATF permitting and facilitating “straw purchase” firearm sales to traffickers, and allowing the guns to “walk” and be transported to Mexico. This has resulted in considerable controversy.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) initiated an investigation with a letter to ATF on 27 January 2011, and again on 31 January 2011.  ATF responded through the Department of Justice by denying all allegations.  Senator Grassley responded with specific documentation supporting the allegations in letters to U.S. Attorney General Holder on 9 Feb 2011 and again on 16 Feb 2011.  ATF refused to answer specific questions in a formal briefing to Senator Grassley on 10 Feb 2011.

Indictments filed in federal court, documentation obtained by Senator Grassley, and statements of ATF agents obtained by Senator Grassley and CBS News, show that the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division allowed and facilitated the sale of over 2,500 firearms (AK-47 rifles, FN 5.7mm pistols, AK-47 pistols, and .50 caliber rifles) in “straw man purchases” destined for Mexico.  According to ATF agents, Mexican officials were not notified, and ATF agents operating in Mexico were instructed not to alert Mexican authorities about the operation.  Some ATF agents and supervisors strongly objected, and gun dealers (who were cooperating with ATF) protested the sales, but were asked by ATF to complete the transactions to elucidate the supply chain and gather intelligence.  However, there are accusations that ATF was attempting to boost statistics to “prove” that American guns are arming the Mexican drug cartels and to further budget and power objectives.

Many of these same guns have now been recovered throughout Mexico, which is artificially inflating ATF’s eTrace statistics of U.S. origin guns seized in Mexico.  One specific gun, recovered at the scene, is alleged to be the weapon used to murder Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010.

ATF’s negligence and their obsession with pursuing their anti-gun political agenda cost the life of an American law enforcement officer.  The details of the scandal are straight forward:

  • The ATF wanted to track the number of guns going into Mexico, to pad their anti-gun stats.
  • The ATF forced gun dealers – against the dealers’ better judgment – to sell weapons to prohibited individuals with known connections to gun-smuggling operations.
  • ATF officials then forced their agents to allow these questionable characters to walk across the border with their newly-purchased firearms without being stopped for the purposes of “tracking” these same firearms.
  • A Federal agent is then murdered by some of the same weapons that were allowed to be trafficked into Mexico.
  • ATF agents who were on the ground then came forward to testify against this disastrous project, but were blacklisted by senior ATF and Justice Department officials.

To top it off, this comes while ATF press releases continue to spread the flat-out lie that over 80% of all the guns used in Mexico’s drug war come from the United States.  And now, officials all the way up to the Obama White House are denying any knowledge of an operation that would have clearly needed high-level approval.

I don’t believe for a second that a project such as this one didn’t have to be signed off by the White House, do you?

The ATF has repeatedly ignored Congressional requests for documentation of their operation.  It has even come to the point where ATF leaders are being subpoenaed by Congressional committees.

And yet, they continue to flaunt their obvious contempt for the rule of law… unless it’s their “rules” and their distorted “laws”, of course.

Had enough yet?

I urge you to contact Speaker of the House John Boehner directly at

Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-0600
Fax: (202) 225-5117

and demand he hold ATF accountable for their actions.

Of course, this is just One Man’s View.  YMMV, and we welcome your comments.

, Constitution , Drug Cartels , gun control , Law , Politics

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: