Monday, April 04, 2011

Congressman Darrell Issa Demands Answers on ‘Operation Gun Runner’

On March 28th, I had a post on the Big Government website that highlighted the details of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) ‘Operation Gun Runner.’ This operation, sometimes called by the name ‘Fast and Furious,’ entailed selling thousands of guns to known Mexican criminals in the U.S., allowing the weapons to be carried into Mexico, and tracing the movement of the guns in hopes of catching major players in the Mexican Cartel.

The problem with this plan is that it didn’t work. Of the 2,000 to 2,500 guns that were sold, only 1,300 (approximately) have been recovered: which means that right now, as I type, 1,200 guns are passing hand to hand between cartel members and others in Mexico.

And as I pointed out on the 28th, at least one Border Agent – Brian Terry – died as a result of this nonsense, and it seems that hundreds of Mexican civilians have been killed as well.

Of course President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have no idea how this happened. Both of them deny authorizing ‘Gun Runner’ or ‘Fast and Furious,’ and seem shamefully indifferent to the crime and investigative complications that could arise from the thousands of guns the BATF allowed into Mexico.

Fortunately, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) isn’t satisfied to sit back and wait for the administration to remember what they did or didn’t authorize. On March 16th he sent a letter to Acting Director Kenneth Melson, BATF, “requesting specific documents related to Project Gunrunner, its ‘Fast and Furious’ component, and records related to the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.”

Although the requested documents were to be turned over by March 30th, the BATF didn’t comply. So Issa has now gone a step further and issued a subpoena that clearly specifies the documents the Congressman wants to see, and expects to receive by April 13, 2011.

Among the documents subpoenaed are, “documents and communications relating to individuals responsible for authorizing the decision to ‘walk’ guns [into] Mexico in order to follow them and capture a ‘bigger fish,’” and documents highlighting “complaints or objections” by BATF Agents who viewed ‘Gun Runner’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ as foolish from the start.

Won’t it be great if Congressman Issa can find out who authorized these operations and why the objections of numerous BATF Agents were suppressed, among other things?

Clearly, somebody within the administration authorized the illegal sale of those guns to individuals with known cartel ties. And perhaps the same person, or somebody else, knew those illegal guns were then being smuggled across the border. As of now, all we know is that the BATF and the Justice Department knew about the operations. But thanks to Congressman Issa, we may know much more in the days immediately following April 13th.

I just hope that when the smoke clears and the details are evident, those who were behind ‘Gun Runner’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ find themselves judged by the strictest standards of the law. And if this goes all the way to top, I hope Issa and his colleagues won’t shy away from the “I-word” (impeachment).

For whoever authorized this mess waded into the waters of criminality and must be held accountable: both for the operation itself and for the lives lost as a result of it.


OR: Medical Marijuana Users Fight For Gun Rights: "Oregon sheriffs feel giving a concealed handgun permit to medical marijuana users violates a federal law barring gun ownership to drug addicts. But Oregon courts have twice ruled that this is one situation where federal law does not trump state law. Sheriffs have appealed and the case is pending in the Oregon Supreme Court. Willis sued the Jackson County sheriff to get her concealed handgun license back after being denied for holding a medical marijuana card. She has won twice in court and is waiting for the Oregon Supreme Court to rule. Oregon is one of 16 states that allow medical use of marijuana. This cases appears to be the first to sort out whether medical marijuana users can have guns."

Canada: Harper to make stand on long-gun registry: "Stephen Harper will announce Monday that a re-elected Conservative government would reintroduce legislation to scrap the long-gun registry. The Conservatives have tried several times to kill the registry, which is unpopular in rural ridings where gun ownership is high. Harper will announce his plans in the Ontario riding of Welland, held by New Democrat Malcolm Allen, who won by only 300 votes during the 2008 campaign. Allen, who had spoken against the registry in the past, voted with his party to save it last fall."

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