Scandal: Democrats who condemned our support of Nicaraguan freedom fighters in the '80s now ignore administration gun-running that may have put American weapons in the hands of the Central American MS-13 gang.
ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata. AP View Enlarged Image
As if "Project Gunrunner" and "Operation Fast and Furious" weren't bad enough, we now learn of "Operation Castaway," run out of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Tampa field division. It's another operation that allowed guns to "walk" south of the border, this time to Honduras, using similar techniques and tactics.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., sent two letters a week ago to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melsom inquiring about the program. He shouldn't expect much. As commentator Brit Hume noted on "Fox News Sunday": "The stench of cover-up on this gun-running operation is very strong indeed."
"Two weapons found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were traced back to the ATF's 'Operation Fast and Furious,' and reports now indicate that ATF's Tampa field division trafficked as many as 1,000 firearms to the dangerous MS-13 gang in Honduras through a similar program known as 'Operation Castaway,' " Bilirakis states on his website.
If these programs bring back memories of the Iran-Contra scandal, we are not surprised. If you're wondering why this isn't as big a scandal, so do we. Iran-Contra wasn't funded in a stimulus package to create jobs. Nor did it occur with the full knowledge and approval of both the attorney general and the White House, as these "gun-walking" fiascos did.
Iran-Contra is the umbrella name for a series of actions that at least had the worthy goal of keeping a still-ambitious Soviet Union from establishing a second permanent Communist beachhead in the America, this time in Nicaragua.
Project Gunrunner, of which Operation Fast and Furious was a part, and now Operation Castaway, are without noble purpose. The cover story is that they were part of a plan to trick and track gunrunners. In fact, these schemes made it easy for criminals, drug cartels and gangs to acquire weapons.
The real purpose, we have stated and still suspect, was to advance the administration's push for gun control and the stripping of law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights through "common sense" restrictions on private gun ownership by creating chaos and fomenting violence with the guns provided.
Indeed, it did not take long for ATF to announce a new gun-control mandate — the requirement that gun store owners in the border states of Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico make a special ATF report for multiple long-gun sales, the same type of weapons the ATF was freely providing to the worst of the worst.