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First on the political side:

Here is some more analysis on Operation Fast & Furious, from Forbes

“Fast And Furious” Just Might Be President Obama’s Watergate

Why a gunrunning scandal codenamed “Fast and Furious,” a program run secretly by the U.S. government that sent thousands of firearms over an international border and directly into the hands of criminals, hasn’t been pursued by an army of reporters all trying to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein is a story in itself.

For political context we now need to step back to April 16, 2009 — four or five months before we think Fast and Furious began. On this day President Barack Obama was visiting Mexico. While there he said, “This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States … more than 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border.” This 90% statistic was, to be kind, math so shoddy a third grader should know better.

The figure was based only on guns the Mexican government sent to the ATF for tracing. On April 2, 2009, Fox News reported that, according to statistics from the Mexican government, only about a third of the guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico are submitted to the ATF. The Mexicans, as it turns out, only send guns to the ATF they think came from the U.S. Also, many guns submitted to the ATF by the Mexicans cannot be traced. As a result, the reporters determined that only 17% of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced by the ATF to the U.S.

Now, because President Obama used the made-up 90% figure to push political positions — he was using the statistic to argue that the U.S. needs more gun-control laws — it’s difficult not to sniff politics in what happened next.

Later in 2009 the ATF started the Fast and Furious program by allowing firearms to be smuggled from U.S. gun stores into the arsenals of Mexican criminal gangs. As these guns wouldn’t be seen again until they resurfaced in crimes (there were no tracking devices installed or other means to trace these guns), the only purpose for letting these guns “walk” seems to be to back up the president’s position that guns used in Mexican crimes mostly come from the U.S. (Though the Obama administration insists the gun sales were a part of a new crime-fighting technique.) Also, given the cover up that has ensued since Fast and Furious broke, it doesn’t seem like a conspiratorial leap to conclude that politics mixed with policy to create this crazy program. (But again, administration officials insist this wasn’t about politics.) Sometime around September 2009, ATF agents began pressuring gun storeowners in Arizona to sell firearms to people the ATF thought would sell the guns to Mexican cartels and gangs. As gun-storeowners can’t do business without federal licenses, and because the ATF has the authority to shut down a gun store if the establishment’s paperwork isn’t in order, these requests were likely taken as orders. This put the gun storeowners in a catch-22: the law requires them to report suspicious activity and not to sell to people they think are breaking the law, yet the ATF was telling them to sell to suspicious people who wanted to buy AK-47s by the dozen.

ATF Agents Begin Protesting

ATF field agents soon began to question the sanity of letting guns “walk.”

Evidently to quell internal dissension, on March 12, 2010 David Voth, the ATF’s Phoenix Group VII supervisor, sent an e-mail to field agents that said, “Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case and they also believe we (Phoenix Group VII) are doing what they envisioned the Southwest Border Groups doing.” Voth’s e-mail went on to say, “It may sound cheesy, but we are ‘The Tip of the ATF spear’ when it comes to Southwest Border Firearms Trafficking. We need to resolve our issues at this meeting. I will be damned if this case is going to suffer due to petty arguing, rumors or other adolescent behavior. If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work — period.”

ATF field agents were sending protests up their chain of command, because, as ATF Special Agent John Dodson told the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee on June 15, 2011, he and fellow agents were regularly ordered to abandon surveillance of suspicious gun purchases “knowing all the while that just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico.”

ATF Special Agent Olindo James Casa also said at the June hearing that “on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms.”

An American Goes Down

Just as ATF agents feared, on Dec. 14, 2010, in the dark of night in a remote canyon in Rio Rico, Ariz., some of the firearms sent over the border to arm Mexican drug runners were used in a gun battle with the U.S. Border Patrol. During the gunfight, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, 40, was killed by suspected operatives of a Mexican drug-smuggling organization. After a battle that U.S. Border Patrol officers started by shooting bean bags at smugglers armed with AK-47s, police arrested four suspects and recovered three firearms from the scene that have since been traced to Fast and Furious.

Despite growing evidence, on Feb. 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote Sen. Grassley and denied that the U.S. Justice Department “sanctioned” the sale of guns to people they believed were going to deliver them to Mexican drug cartels.

Then, on Feb. 15, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata was murdered in Mexico. The Associated Press reported (on Feb. 28), based on an unnamed source, that the weapon used to kill Zapata “was shipped through Laredo with the possible knowledge of the ATF.”

A week later, on Feb. 23, 2011, CBS Evening News ran a story on Operation Fast and Furious that included interviews with ATF whistleblowers who said they’d objected to the program. With pressure building, on March 8, 2011, the U.S. Justice Department told Sen. Grassley that the matter would be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General; however, this internal investigation seems to have become the official excuse for not giving congressional investigators everything they’re demanding.

on July 4, 2011, Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson surprised some by speaking to congressional investigators from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Melson met with investigators with his personal attorney present — not Justice Department attorneys.

The next day Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder about Melson’s testimony. The letter says Melson “claimed that ATF’s senior leadership would have preferred to be more cooperative with our inquiry much earlier in the process. However, he said that Justice Department officials directed them not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.”

Melson was pointing to a cover up at the U.S. Justice Department while refusing to be a scapegoat. However, Tracy Schmaler, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, said to us on Sept. 27, 2011 that no cover up is occurring.

Given all the politics and the cover up that even the former ATF director says has occurred, could operation Fast and Furious have been about anything other than pushing for new gun-control laws? And given all of this obfuscation from the Obama administration.

Not that morality ends at the American border. To stress this point, Rep. Issa held a conference call with journalists on September 21 in which he said Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, is reporting that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the Fast and Furious program.

This story holds a very special bitter taste in my mouth, as a person that comes from a family that has been in law enforcement for over 100yrs I am slightly more than disgusted. This whole thing was designed to attack the 2nd Amendment, and to pursue a commie political agenda hundreds have died, including at least 2 law Enforcement officers. Please go back to the beginning click the link and read the whole story. (Forbes)

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