I’ve been reluctant to believe that our government, even under this current administration, would deliberately traffic guns to Mexican drug cartels in order to promote a gun-control agenda in the United States, but it’s getting very hard to deny now.
We already know that the ATF stopped tracking the guns once they were in criminal hands, which undercuts any legitimate law-enforcement purpose. Now an email has surfaced that makes an explicit political connection.
Mark Chait (the ATF’s assistant director for field operations) wrote (via Instapundit) to William Newell (director of the Tucson ATF) on July 14, 2010 to ask for anecdotal evidence to support a new proposed ATF policy restricting gun sales in border states:
Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FfL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks Mark R. Chait Assistant Director Field Operations.
As I understand it, Fast and Furious was already underway on July 14, 2010, so this email doesn’t explain how the operation got started. However, it does prove that the Tucson office was involved in promoting an anti-gun agenda, and it could explain why Newell never reeled the program in, despite numerous pleas from rank-and-file ATF agents. (ASIDE: The ATF got its wish, despite its malfeasance becoming public. Shameless.)
There’s more. It now appears that Gunwalker was not limited to the Tucson ATF, but was a nationwide strategy. In addition to the Tampa ATF, there may have been similar operations in Texas and Oklahoma.
That’s not all. Rep. Issa and Senator Grassley, who are heading the Congressional investigation, have written to the Department of Justice naming 12 people they know for a fact were aware of Gunwalker. The list includes Gary Grindler, Eric Holder’s chief of staff. Is it plausible that Holder’s office knew but Holder himself was never informed?
Plus, the Department of Justice is actively obstructing the Congressional investigation. In addition to ordering its employees to remain silent, the DOJ is engaging in witness tampering, by its own definition.
The ATF and Department of Justice might still turn out to be innocent, somehow, but they are certainly acting guilty.
UPDATE: This story casts doubt on whether the Tampa operation was so similar to Gunwalker. One certainly hopes not. But if this was above board, why did they conceal it from Congressional investigators? (Via the Corner.)