Shout This from the Mountaintops

by Mark Wilson

Remember the Fast and Furious Scandal? Remember how the ATF bought guns for Mexican cartels with the intent to track them, and then lost a bunch of them, resulting in the death of a Border Patrol agent at the hand of one of those guns?

Remember how that last sentence is a lie?

In a lengthy investigative piece that, for some reason, has not reached the front page of every magazine and newspaper in this country, Fortune magazine has discovered that most of the public “knowledge” about the Fast and Furious program is partially true at best and an outright lie at worst. Another thing the public doesn’t know: most of this information came from a single, disgruntled ATF agent. The most astounding thing you don’t know? The gun that the Border Patrol agent was killed with was lost on that disgruntled agent’s watch.

The Forbes article clears up a lot of questions about Fast and Furious and thoroughly puts to bed misconceptions about it:

  • The agents involved in the program didn’t purchase guns for members of Mexican gangs; rather, they were aware that Mexican gang-members were paying others to purchase the guns and then smuggle the guns to them (the gang-members)
  • Why didn’t the agents arrest these people? A couple of reasons:
    • The law in Arizona, where the program was headquartered, is fairly liberal (in the sense of breadth, not politics) with its gun laws. In Arizona, all you need to buy a gun is an ID and a background check. No waiting period, no permit required, and no limitation on how many guns a single person can buy.
    • What about suspect activity? “Voth and his agents began investigating a group of buyers, some not even old enough to buy beer, whose members were plunking down as much as $20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others,” the article notes. Shouldn’t this be suspicious? Yes, it should be. Which is why the ATF contacted the U.S. Attorney in Arizona. The U.S. Attorney’s office, however, declined to investigate. Why is that?
    • The criminal statute in question requires the United States to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the purchaser of the guns intends for the guns to be used to commit a crime.
  • What about the allegations that ATF agents were “walking” guns (giving them to informants and then tracking them in the hope of finding their ultimate destination)?
    • Actually, that happened only once. John Dodson, an ATF agent who leaked the Fast and Furious information to the press, took charge of this single instance of gun-walking and royally screwed it up. Not only did he not follow proper procedure (he should have gotten approval from at least an Assistant U.S. Attorney), but he failed to follow up correctly. Standard procedure was to stay with the guns until they were found. Dodson lost track of six pistols and, instead of finding them, he went on vacation.
  • The emails that purport to show a schism in the ATF unit in Arizona over gun walking have been mischaracterized. There was never an argument over whether the unit should engage in gun walking; except for the one time Dodson screwed up, they never did gun walking. The arguments were over management of the unit. Voth, the agent in charge of the unit, received nothing but resentment from other members of the unit over his administrative policies, including rotating who would be on call over the weekends.
  • ATF agents themselves, some of whom were personal enemies of Voth and others of whom fundamentally disagree with federal gun control procedures, leaked information about Voth, putting his family in danger.

This article is a must-read for anyone interested in the Fast and Furious saga. The only question is why no one else is picking up on this. The negative coverage of Fast and Furious has been a boon for conservatives, who have always hated gun controls laws, and have been looking for an embarrassing Obama administration gaffe.