Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jim Bagwell: ATF lets guns go to Mexican cartels

  “Fast and Furious” may not mean anything to you, but it should. If I told you that this was and is a program intended to deceive the public into believing something that is absolutely not true and is the product of the United States Justice Department would you believe me? You might think it was possible and maybe existed during the days of President Richard Nixon.

Well, it is current and is the product of our present President and his Justice Department. Code named “Fast and Furious” it was designed and is a program intended to allow thousands of firearms to be bought in the U.S. and illegally shipped across the southern border into Mexico. Why, you might ask? My question exactly since it looks like several of the weapons were used to murder a Justice Department employee working for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico.

At present the Justice Department is refusing to present documents subpoenaed by Congress. The secret plan is out and the Justice Department is scurrying to hide the information, diffuse the political fallout, and cover a few backsides that might be vulnerable criminally.

Supposedly this was done to see how the Drug Cartels smuggled weapons and provide information on their internal structure. A secondary goal by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wing of the Justice Department was to bring serious discredit on the legal firearms dealers in the United States to meet the goal of new and much more restrictive firearms regulations.

It does not matter which side of the firearms and Second Amendment issue you fall on, we should all be absolutely angry and metaphorically “up in arms” that any agency of our government would be clandestinely part and parcel to the illegal export of weapons to another country that has the problems with crime and crime cartels like Mexico. These firearms were meant to go directly to these crime families. I would surmise that most of these weapons have already been used to murder many Mexican nationals.

The second issue of blaming a legal business community of firearms dealers in order to control and influence U.S. domestic policy is even more reprehensible. If you think back, it was only a few short months ago that President Obama released information that showed some 90 percent of all firearms used in the commission of crimes by these drug cartels was illegally coming from the U.S. Unfortunately those weapons he was referring to were bought and shipped by his employees. Whether he knew this program existed or not doesn't matter, he gave false information to the media and public that was a fabrication.

The biggest problem I see is that we have a Justice Department that is guilty of serious bad judgment and in this case is out of control. There is no way that a program as big as this and involving so many members of the Justice Department that the heads of the ATF and DEA and the Attorney General did not know of and give approval for the program. The cost of the guns alone had to be in the millions. I will surmise that some low level employee is being primed as you read this to throw himself on the sword to protect these influential bureaucrats.

Do you expect the “Justice” Department to act in a way that represents the values of our country? If you do, you have to be appalled at this program and the ramifications of what they have done. This is a major violation of Mexico's sovereignty and a grave disservice to the citizens of the United States.

• Jim Bagwell of Carson City is a Vietnam veteran and graduate of the FBI National Academy who worked 31 years in law enforcement. He and his wife Lori own Charley's Grilled Subs. 

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