The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency has been linked to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
Today the family of a deceased Border Patrol Agent threatened to sue the federal government for their loss. Their attorney, Paul Charlton, told Fox News, “If the evidence shows Brian’s death was proximately caused by the negligence of the federal government, there may be a case for action.”
How might this death be the fault of the government?
In December of 2010 Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death by an illegal immigrant after he stopped and questioned five men near Rio Rico, Arizona. Two guns in possession of the immigrants, which were found at the scene, were traced back to an American Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms Agency (ATF) program called “Operation Fast and Furious.”
This was the first time the program’s name was heard by the public.
But why was the program, meant to locate and lead to the capture of drug cartel and weapons traffickers, kept hidden? Because it failed miserably.
The program’s flawed design worked like this: Straw buyers (which in this case are criminals who buy guns for other criminals who don’t have the ability to buy for themselves) were allowed to purchase illegal weapons from the ATF to give to cartel members in Mexico. The hope was that allowing these guns to “walk” over the border into Mexico would lead to the location of “major weapons traffickers,” according to ABC News.
Essentially, America was supplying Mexican criminals with the illegal guns they would use as incriminating evidence with which to arrest them. If this plan had succeeded I imagine it still would have been rendered illegal by the fact that it seems exactly like entrapment.
But “Operation Fast and Furious” didn’t succeed. Now it appears at least one Border Patrol Agent and what could be numerous other deaths in Mexico and along US borders resulted from the United States supplying guns for the Mexican drug cartels with taxpayer money—and almost no one knew about it.
According to an ABC News report on July 4, ATF Acting Director Ken Melson, faced Congressional investigators “with his own private attorney rather than lawyers from the Justice Department.” Apparently Melson had voluntarily tried approaching two Congressional oversight committees before but it was “revealed that senior Justice Department officials tried to limit his communications with Congress.”
Melson was called before Congress after three ATF members testified, following Agent Terry’s death, that “Fast and Furious” had been a “botched operation.” Melson, who was unaware of the program’s failure, might have been stifled in his attempts to speak with the two Congressional oversight committees because his later testimony “corroborated information indicating that the DEA and FBI may have had a role in the operation.”
Kristen Powers of the Daily Beast appeared on Fox News recently, where she said the White House told her they never knew about “Fast and Furious.” US Attorney General Eric Holder testified in May that he first learned about the operation in March following Agent Terry’s death. He claims it was also at this time he learned that many of the US-supplied weapons in Mexico had gone missing.
But Congressional investigators and Senator Chuck Grassley are skeptical that no one allegedly knew. “You wonder how high up in the Justice Department it went, and so that’s really the bottom line of what we are trying to find out. Who made the decision? How high up was it?” said Senator Grassley to Radio Iowa.
It’s disturbing that our government had a direct hand in supplying the Mexican cartels with weapons. It’s disturbing that this was facilitated with taxpayer money. It’s also very disturbing that the American public never knew about it, and that even now media coverage seems inadequate. It’s suspicious that everyone from President Obama to Attorney General Eric Holder to the FBI and members of the ATF are all looking at each other saying, “I don’t know.”
And it’s scary that at this moment another failed ATF program called “Operation Gunrunner” has lost 1,700 weapons in Mexico, according to Radio Iowa and that even still the ATF is trying to get guns from Tampa to Honduras to a dangerous gang called MS-13.
When it’s everyday people who are dying, why are we always the last to know?