In early 2011, Congress became aware of a program sponsored by the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire Arms and Explosives) that put illegally purchased weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. It was commonly called Fast and Furious, or Gunwalking, and actually began in 2009. This was all to be done on the sly in order to lull the drug cartels into a sense of complacency and confidence that they were getting away with something. Supposedly, this program was actually designed to allow United States and Mexican law enforcement officials to “follow” their criminal activities and become knowledgeable of the whereabouts and the actions of the weapons dealers and cartels on both sides of the border.
The program became public knowledge in late 2011 when a U.S. Border Guard, Brian Terry, was murdered in Arizona during a firefight on the Mexico/Arizona border on December 14, 2010. Weapons recovered after the fight were eventually traced to an arms dealer in Phoenix and was one of the Gunwalking weapons that the ATF had allowed to be purchased by a Mexican drug cartel.
Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-Iowa) jumped on this revelation and began demanding answers. Several congressional hearings were held with only limited success. In January 2012, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General issued a more than 450 page report on the subject. The report agrees that egregious errors were committed by ATF and DOJ (Department of Justice) high ranking officers. They did, however, completely exonerate Attorney General Eric Holder, blaming his junior associates for not “highlighting” daily reports of the program and the errors that were happening. Holder, it seems, was kept out of loop by several of his important subordinates, many of whom have since resigned. The investigations seem to be dying a natural death, as so frequently happens with many Congressional investigations.
But here we go again. Fast and Furious has been resuscitated and a new episode has begun. Instead of being called “Gunwalking” this one is being called “Grenade Walking.” In the Mexican state of Jalisco, several Mexican police have been murdered by grenades. Incidentally, several cartel members also died. According to a “Significant Information Report” issued by Special Agent (ATF) Jonathan Ortiz, at least one of the grenades was identified as “Kingery” grenade. They have been traced to a U.S. citizen and alleged weapons dealer in Phoenix, Jean Baptiste Kingery. According to Sharyl Attkisson, a CBS news person reporting on October 13 of this year, the ATF did not arrest him, even though they began watching him in 2004. For many years, they allowed him rather free rein to sell weapons to the Mexican druggies. He evidently not only supplied the cartel with weapons, including grenades, but also taught them how to arm and use the grenades and to convert semi-automatic weapons to automatic. Kingery’s operation in Mexico was raided in 2011 and he was arrested by Mexican authorities.
Are the people who are supposed to protect us out of control, naive, or just incompetent? It’s time to clean house.
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