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September 21, 2011

Gunwalker: Leaked Tapes Features ATF Agent Saying "The FBI's Got Their Own Problems"

Update: More tapes have been released, including one in which the Ks> ATF agent gun dealer refers to Bryan Terry as "collateral damage." (Corrected: The gun dealer made this statement; but the ATF agent adds an mm-hmm.)

To be honest, I don't see a huge advance of the story here, but it is interesting:

These recordings are important because MacAllister has never spoken publicly about her involvement in the operation and its fallout and Howard's role as a gun dealer cooperating with the ATF placed him in position to see "Fast and Furious" firsthand . The audio recordings contain new revelations about the guns involved, and ATF's efforts to respond to the breaking scandal. The tapes were turned over to Congressional investigators and the Inspector General in connection with their probe into "Fast and Furious."

The most important thing here is the general subject matter, which is "how do we make this go away?," rather than "How do we get the story out to show how perfectly we behaved?"

EXCERPT 2

Dealer: But you have got to put the word out there to all the departments tell the f------g FBI shut the f--- up. (whispering)

Agent: FBI'S got their own problems, trust me.

Dealer: I know I hear.

Agent: They've got their own problems.

Dealer: Hypothetically.

Agent: If anybody's gonna get sued it's gonna be the FBI in my opinion.

EXCERPT 3

Dealer: What is it with the FBI they just have a h--- on for you guys or what?

Agent: The FBI's got their own problems. Like I said they're focusing on our problems they should probably turn it inward, cause they got their own problems right now.

Dealer: That ain't no lie.

Agent: So.. so hahaha.

Darrell Issa did a conference call with bloggers on Monday, and he said he expects the matter to be taken over by a Special Prosecutor at some point.

Issa wants to "wrap this up by the end of the year" but doesn't believe the administration stonewalling will allow him to meet that deadline. He told one blogger, "I would very much like to have a true special prosecutor on this," but pointed out that he did not want one just yet for that would cause his investigation to shut down for intents and purposes and he wanted to know a lot more before that happened so that he could make sure that the prosecutor was doing his/her job.

...

I asked: about FBI complicity in Gunwalker. "Given that we now know about FBI paid informants further up the cartel chain and a third gun that 'disappeared' from the Terry murder scene indicating the FBI is covering up the true circumstances of his death, when will we see Robert Mueller and his apparently-complicit minions under oath?" Issa indicated that he thought the third weapon disappeared because "people were panicking." He added later, "The smoking gun is the gun that killed Brian Terry."

A little more on that from Bob Owens:

Issa also revealed that the reason a special prosecutor has not yet been brought in to investigate the plot is that once a special prosecutor begins to investigate, the Oversight Committee has to stop its own inquiry. The committee wants to be certain that they have explored every avenue and leave no source or witness uninvestigated before turning over the case. He also pointed out that a special prosecutor will be a Department of Justice employee investigating his own employer. Thus, Issa wants to be certain that they have enough knowledge to hold the prosecutor accountable.

Issa suspects an Obama-controlled Special Prosecutor might cover it up? How absurd!

Owens continues:

I had the unique opportunity to ask Chairman Issa a point-blank question that seems to trouble so many people following this scandal.

After reiterating that every law enforcement agent that has been asked about Operation Fast and Furious has said that there is no way that it could have been a viable law enforcement operation, I asked Chairman Issa if there was any evidence of another reason for the implementation of Operation Fast and Furious and the other alleged gun-walking operations.

“This was dumb, it was useless, and it was lethal,” was the soundbite most of us will take away from the call in answer to that question, but his longer answer — which I regret I do not have a transcript of — is far more telling.

Nothing in his response could be construed to mean that Rep. Issa thought Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation. And if it does not appear to have been implemented as a legitimate law enforcement operation, then we are left with the possible alternative that the goal of the operation was both illegitimate and unlawful.

Issa put it rather bluntly: “The administration wanted to show that guns found in Mexico came from the United States.”

That's not the same as the "Reichstag Fire" scenario being floated, but it certainly does suggest a political motive rather than a law enforcement one. The "experiment" here might have never been intended to result in deaths; nevertheless, according to Issa, it was still performed to settle a political dispute, not lock up criminals (except as an incidental benefit).

And the death toll from Fast as Furious? At least 150 murders (including high-profile victims, such as a Mexican Attorney General), maybe 200, and maybe... three hundred.

Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general and a longtime favorite of American law enforcement agents in Mexico, told The Times that she first learned about Fast and Furious from news reports. And to this day, she said, U.S. officials have not briefed her on the operation gone awry, nor have they apologized.

“At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted,” Morales, Mexico’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, said in a recent interview. “In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.”…

In March 2010, with a growing number of guns lost or showing up at crime scenes in Mexico, ATF officials convened an “emergency briefing” to figure out a way to shut down Fast and Furious. Instead, they decided to keep it going and continue to leave Mexico out of the loop…

Mexican Congressman Humberto Benitez Trevino, who heads the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, said the number of people killed or wounded by the weapons had probably doubled to 300 since March, when he said confidential information held by Mexican security authorities put the figure at 150. The higher number, he said, was his own estimate.

You know, a rather large segment of the public got very upset over their suspicions that George Bush deliberately permitted (or even executed) a plan to kill almost 3000 people for political benefit.

We seem to have here a much stronger case that the Obama Administration's action killed up to 300. Except for Brian Terry, they weren't Americans (but we'll probably discover more). But still: 300.

Is this really a middle-of-the-newspaper story?

200-300 murders facilitated by a regime in a "rogue" (maybe!) covert operation, and the media continues to shrug?

How many murders, exactly, would it take to get their attention?

What if the death toll hits 400? Is that enough for the nightly news? Do we need 500?

Would an even thousand do it?






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