Gunwalker: Issa Reveals Drug Enforcement Administration Involvement
"It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF."
October 11, 2011 - 12:01 am
It was a brutal weekend for the Obama administration: Gunwalker continued unraveling at a faster pace, with new developments suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder may not be the only Obama appointee destined for a political fall and possible criminal charges.
In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa revealed for the first time that the Drug Enforcement Administration was far more involved in running the operation than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
It wasn’t an ATF operation. They were part of that. It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF.
This directly conflicts with prior statements by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart — she claimed that the DEA only played a supporting role and that her DEA agents in El Paso and Phoenix were only “indirectly involved in the ATF operation through DEA-associated investigative activity.” She further absolved her agency by claiming that “DEA personnel had no decision-making role in ATF operations” associated with Fast and Furious.
The DEA’s higher-profile role will not absolve ATF personnel for their roles in carrying out the plot politically, but it could potentially make a difference in future criminal proceedings if ATF agents on the front lines of the operation thought they were participating in a legitimate law enforcement operation.
Unfortunately for the Department of Justice, the higher level of collusion between different federal law enforcement agencies that report to the attorney general make it even more unlikely that Eric Holder and other senior DOJ personnel were unaware of the real goal of the operation.
Issa’s committee is in the process of preparing subpoenas for members of the Obama administration to try to find out who authorized the operation, and to ask why they have not been forthcoming if they believed the operations to be legal:
Why are they denying knowing about something that they were briefed on? … Exactly when, the American people want to know, how did it happen?
Issa also revealed for the first time the magnitude of the largest individual gunwalking incidents, noting that one effort involved the shipment of 700 guns to the Sinaloa cartel.
This is about Justice Department knowing, and this is where the American people have a right to know more, knowing that these guns were deliberately intended to end up in the hands of the drug cartels without any kind of traceability, except if you find a gun in the scene of the crime. That is the reason that it is felony and stupid — and I use the word “felony” deliberately — program.
A massive stockpile containing dozens of Operation Fast and Furious weapons was recovered in Mexico at an arsenal hidden in the Ciudad Juarez home of Sinaloa cartel enforcer Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo. The raid occurred on April 30; the revelation that 40 of the guns were from the gunwalking plot constitutes breaking news — and confirmation that the plot worked as designed.