Demand Gunwalker Accountability

by Jeff Knox

Most of the larger national media outlets are doing their best to ignore the Gunwalker scandal, but the word is dribbling out despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration and their lackeys in the mainstream press. Those who know about the outrageous project should be demanding answers and accountability.

The recent hearings in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), showed clearly that agents of the ATF and other agencies, working with the approval from the highest levels of the Department of Justice – no more than one desk below Attorney General Eric Holder, if not Holder himself – actively conspired and facilitated the sale of some 2000 or more rifles to suspected illegal firearms traffickers and then intentionally allowed those guns to continue in illicit channels with no attempt to track, interdict, or disable them. ATF field agents who objected to the program were threatened and even fired. On one occasion an agent pointed out that people were being killed with guns supplied by the ATF and his manager responded with the callous cliché that if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.

Mexican authorities report that some 300 Mexican nationals have been killed with these guns along with at least one and possibly two US law enforcement officers. Those are some pretty costly eggs.

The President of the United States has told a Mexican journalist that he did not authorize the program and that Eric Holder didn't either.

ATF and DOJ have claimed that the objective was to track guns up to Mexican "drug lords" and possibly topple a Mexican drug cartel, but the whole program was kept a secret from Mexican authorities and agents were ordered to make no effort to track the guns beyond the original purchaser. Agents watched as suspected firearms traffickers purchased dozens of AK-style firearms. They trailed the suspects, and guns, to a rendezvous where the guns were transferred to another vehicle, and then, in accordance with strict orders, they allowed the other vehicle, and the guns, to drive away without even an effort to identify the person or track or interdict the guns.

Meanwhile the ATF and DOJ have continued to promulgate inaccurate and deceptive statistics regarding firearms trafficking and the involvement of illegally trafficked firearms in crime in Mexico – statistics that are falsely inflated by the Gunwalker project itself. They have also continued with attempts to change congressionally mandated regulations to include the reporting and tracking of purchasers of more than one rifle in a given week.

While such reporting and tracking might seem reasonable on the surface, even including some firearm owners, the actual utility of the reporting program is questionable, and is a major usurpation of power by ATF. The Bureau is specifically forbidden in the same statute which authorizes such reporting for multiple handguns. What's more, ATF is notorious for failing to delete information gathered in this manner as required by law, thus building a de facto registration system.

The evidence does not support the existence of any large-scale gun trafficking rings. The largest and most successful gun trafficking rings uncovered so far were those endorsed and supported by the ATF in Project Gunwalker, aka "Operation Fast and Furious." Without ATF assistance forcing gun dealers to cooperate, these dealers would never have taken the chance of repeatedly selling large quantities of guns to suspicious-looking cash customers. And even then, ATF ignored the structure of these organizations. They were only interested in the straw buyers, not any of their immediate associates, and, as I mentioned above, ATF specifically forbade any disclosure of the Gunwalker program to anyone within the government of Mexico.

All that ATF seemed interested in was who bought the guns, how many they bought, and where the guns turned up in crimes. The fact that the guns did turn up at crime scenes – murders, maimings, and massacres, including of Mexican police officers or government officials – seems to have been of little concern to ATF and DOJ officials.

This limited interest suggests only two possible motivations: to build stronger, more incriminating cases against straw purchasers – the guys ATF has consistently insisted are the bottom of the food chain – or to generate statistical and emotional support for their requested increases in authority. Perhaps one was just a "happy side effect" of the other. In either case, the strategy was seriously flawed and hundreds of people lost their lives.

This administration intentionally allowed arms to flow into the hands of criminals and the policy factored in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and at least one US Border Patrol Agent. They have also intentionally blocked congressional and media inquiries into the matter and retaliated against ATF whistleblowers.

Compare the scope and reach of Gunwalker to Watergate. Watergate began with a handful of overzealous political supporters incompetently trying to bug their opponent's offices and the administration working to protect those loyal supporters. Gunwalker, from its inception, was a criminal enterprise directed from the cabinet level.

Where is the outrage and indignation – at the administration, at DOJ and ATF, at politicians for defending the guilty and intentionally obfuscating the issues, and at the media for virtually ignoring the story?

Don't allow this story to fizzle out on the back pages, and don't allow the ATF and this administration to be rewarded for this very bad behavior. Tell them that you want to see the administration held accountable. Write your local paper and television outlets. Tell them that you want to see better coverage of this scandal.

Your senators and congressmen will be home for the summer recess. Tell them that you want funding and authority to ATF curtailed until more safeguards against usurpation of rights can be established. This is your government. It's up to you to hold them accountable.

Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit and link is included. Text is available at

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