More quotations from administration and ATF officials tying Gunwalker to the administration’s domestic gun-control agenda have surfaced:
There is no evidence the administration initially considered using the operation to justify stronger gun laws. But as the investigation dragged on, and Washington saw more and more weapons from U.S. gun stores show up at Mexican crime scenes, at least some officials saw a political argument developing to support their legislative agenda.
In March 2010, Holder’s Chief of Staff Gary Grindler attended a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious in Washington. In handwritten notes, Grindler wrote the words “long rifle,” “multiple sale” and “need regulation” in the margin of a briefing paper.
On July 14, 2010, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Assistant Director Mark Chait asked then-ATF Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell “if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long-gun multiple sales.”
On Jan. 4, 2011, Newell apparently saw the opportunity to publicly push for the new gun regulation. The Fast and Furious news conference provides “another time to address multiple sale on long guns issue,” he wrote Chait.
A day after that news conference, Chait replied in an email: “Bill — well done yesterday … in light of our request for demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”
The “demand letter” would require border-state gun stores to report buyers who try to purchase multiple rifles or long guns in a one-week period.
Two months earlier, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke had an email exchange with his counterpart in Washington state, Jenny Durkan. Burke informed her of the Fast and Furious case and its use of straw buyers to deliver guns to Mexico that “have been directly traced to murders of elected officials in Mexico City by the cartels.”
Durkan wrote back: “Let me know when you have time to talk. I want to discuss our approach in enforcing gun sale laws at (gun stores) and gun shows.”
Some of these quotes are new; some we knew already.
As the article points out, this doesn’t mean that Fast and Furious was conceived as a scheme to promote domestic gun control (although the administration has yet to offer any alternative explanation consistent with the facts), but at the very least they did decide to exploit it that way after the fact.