Free Markets, Free People

“Fast and Furious”: the other shoe drops (update)

Remember early on when the controversial and failed ATF/DoJ operation “Fast and Furious” came to light where the ATF bought guns and allowed them to be smuggled into Mexico, there was conjecture this was to be used as a means to demand more gun control?


CBS has uncovered some emails where it become pretty clear what the ATF’s intent was during the operation:

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

"Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."

Followed by:

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as "(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue." And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: "Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case."

But here’s the problem for the ATF – those multiple purchases demonstrated nothing but cooperation with them as requested by them.  The gun dealers involved only did what they did at the request of the ATF and even then they were (as it turns out, properly) even  concerned about that:

In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. "We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys," writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, "(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items."

ATF’s group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there’s nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country."

Obviously the gun dealer had more concern for the life of the agents than did the ATF.  But this was all an apparent ploy to advance more sweeping gun control in the area:

Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they "have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico." The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.

On April 25, 2011, ATF announced plans to implement Demand Letter 3. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is suing the ATF to stop the new rules. It calls the regulation an illegal attempt to enforce a law Congress never passed. ATF counters that it has reasonably targeted guns used most often to "commit violent crimes in Mexico, especially by drug gangs."

It’s one thing to want to “reasonably target guns” used to commit crimes in Mexico legitimately, and another to use the results of cooperation with an ATF operation, not matter how ill begotten, as a basis for targeting gun sales:

Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 "disappointing and ironic." Keane says it’s "deeply troubling" if sales made by gun dealers "voluntarily cooperating with ATF’s flawed ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles."

Just another version of government creating a problem and then rushing in to fix it with more government control.  A sort of “create a crisis and then don’t let it go to waste” if you will.  The dishonesty and cynicism is appalling.    Rep. Darrell Issa, whose Congressional committed has been investigating this operation said very pointedly about this evidence:

"In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable," Rep. Issa told CBS News.

This sort of behavior is, as noted, unacceptable, but, unfortunately, more and more frequent.  Government becomes less and less of a servant of the people and more and more their master.   Operations like this remind one of the legal veneer authoritarian governments use to gradually oppress their people.

Eric Holder and all those who planned and executed this travesty should be given their walking papers.  It would be a welcome change to see them actually held accountable for their unacceptable behavior.

Yeah, that’s going to happen.  We’re talking government here.

UPDATE: The Committee on Oversight and Reform has launched a website to cover the Fast and Furious investigation.


Twitter: @McQandO

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20 Responses to “Fast and Furious”: the other shoe drops (update)

  • “Eric Holder and all those who planned and executed this travesty should be given their walking papers.”

    If by “walking papers” you mean their Federal penitentiary file…then, yeah. I suspect Obama needs “papering”, too.

  • Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea saw the gun control angle in Gunwalker a/k/a Fast & Furious as far out as a year ago, before anyone in Congress was willing to assist the ATF whistle blowers, and well before CBS and any other news organization wrote about the scandal.

    Meanwhile, Rachel Maddow and her ilk have been scoffing at the crazy “conspiracy theories” and dredging up Mike’s “Window War” ( ) to try to discredit any reporting on Fast & Furious when he appeared on FNC and testified to Congress. Somehow the “conspiracy nut” angle doesn’t explain CBS reporting on the story or the leaked communications demonstrating that Vanderboegh had it right from the outset.

    Back in June, I had a discussion with Rodrigo Camarena, an American reporting from Mexico for the British newspaper “The Guardian” ( which includes responses from Camarena to me in the comment section ). His argument was that Fast & Furious, coupled with the lunatic who shot up Rep. GIffords in Tucson, was a reason to increase gun control. So while the feds were doing their thing behind closed doors, plotting to use F&F to advance a gun control agenda, many in the media were busy running the propaganda angle for them, acting as a fifth column.

    So, don’t be surprised when most major networks ignore this or spin it to be what it isn’t.

  • Much like the recognition of a cancer, we must recognize our government has turned an inflection point; they are more of a threat and a hinderance to freedom, than not.

  • (Dem leader) Let’s see, what we need is a distraction. (checks list)

    Damn, we already launched OWS, already broken up
    Libya is over, crap
    Egypt, no, too confusing, too far away
    Europe, no, too big, it might get out of hand
    Hillary entering the run for President? GEEEZE, nO wHat WAS I THINKING
    Herman Cain, dammit, already given up
    Iran? Risky, probably going to need that later to get everyone behind us
    Have we got anything on Issa?

    Cripes, don’t we have anything handy?
    Don’t we have a small war somewhere, or Justice department investigation?
    You know, something that will make ‘the rich’ or Republicans look bad?
    No? crap,
    Get a conference call with the Journolist gang. What? Yeah, I know it broke up (laughs) but the new one is the same thing, just get them all on the bridge.

    • @looker There was the Iranian plot to set off bombs in the US to kill the Saudi ambassador. When released as a breaking story, it was already old, and somehow nothing has come of it. That might have been a red herring.

      Perhaps some TLA is busy using an undercovers to stimulate more plots to bust open.

  • Holder needs to be jailed, Obama needs to be impeached.

    But for any of that to happen, the palace guard need to actually pay slightly more attention to this.

  • Saul Alinsky said “The end justifies the means.” I’m sure he wasn’t the first but his followers are willing to go the distance.

  • Holder picks up other shoe, claims he’s never seen it before, it’s not his, he doesn’t know who’s it is, but boy, it sure is a dirty shoe, and we must never allow shoes to become this dirty again.

    Holder said such a program “must never happen again,” but effectively urged lawmakers to move on — and tackle the broader issue of the flow of firearms into Mexico.

    “We cannot afford to allow the tragic mistakes of ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ to become a political sideshow or a series of media opportunities,” he said. “Instead, we must move forward and recommit ourselves to our shared public safety obligations.”

    Read more:

    • @looker Like what? Racial justice justice? Environmental racial justice? Racial justice voter fraud? I’m confused…

  • After listening to Holder testify, I wonder why they’re bothering to ask questions. He fills half his response time, when the bothers to respond, with filler phrases. It’s like watching a sports game where the defense runs down the clock (and in fact, it’s exactly what they’re doing).

  • After listening to Holder testify, I wonder why they’re bothering to ask questions. He fills half his response time, when he bothers to respond, with filler phrases. It’s like watching a sports game where the defense runs down the clock (and in fact, it’s exactly what they’re doing).

    • @looker That is actually a well-known technique. Bwarny Fwank was a MASTER at it. You can find several videos of him talking for five or ten minutes…leaving the listener hunting for that loaded pistol in the desk drawer…and saying NUTIN.

  • Hey, and now, clever lawyer that he is, telling people that Issa is channeling McCarthy.

    Does little Eric think he’s done over at those hearings? I guess.

    • @looker Mike Vanderboegh, who is in chambers at these hearings, gives details how Charlie Savage of the NYT lied about the McCarthy quip: .

      The Fifth Column to the rescue (steps on cape).

      • @myweeklycrime @looker Hundreds are dead as a direct result of actions undertaken by your subordinates and you wish to shame Congress?

        Mr. Attorney General, if you had any integrity. If you had any honor, you would fire those most responsible for this travesty and then resign yourself.

        The only person in this committee room who should be feeling shame is you and what you allowed—either by design or by neglect—to happen in Operation Fast and Furious.

        …and there is more…

        • @Ragspierre @myweeklycrime Brilliant – thanks for the link Rags.

          What they need to do is double or triple team the little weasel to make sure they can keep hammering on the same points that he keeps evading by the jaw-jaw in running out the clock.