CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson has revealed a recent document submitted by the Department of Justice to congressional investigators. The document shows that guns linked to Operation Fast and Furious are responsible for at least three more murders in addition to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry:
Weapons linked to ATF’s controversial “Fast and Furious” operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.
According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because “ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation.”
The letter is specifically worded, tailored to answer congressional questions about a narrow range of “walked” firearms using a very specific definition of what constitutes an Operation Fast and Furious gun:
For the purposes of responding to this question, we consider a firearm to be associated with Operation Fast and Furious if it was purchased by an individual who is a target of that investigation. It is important to note that many of the purchases described below took place before ATF opened the case that became know as Operation Fast and Furious on November 16, 2009; before the purchaser had been identified as a target of the investigation; or without the ATF’s knowledge at the time that a firearm was purchased.
Some amazing caveats that the Department of Justice has chosen to ignore and not count:
- Weapons that were purchased by both targeted and untargeted straw purchasers if the ATF was not aware of the purchase in real-time as the buy occurred;
- If the straw purchaser was not on a pre-approved and narrow (roughly 20 suspects) list of acceptable targets (some of whom were FBI informants who bought weapons and armed the cartels using taxpayer dollars);
- Any suspect or weapon that was not officially part of Operation Fast and Furious before its “official” Nov. 16, 2009, launch date;
- Any suspect or weapon from other suspected gunwalking programs alleged to originate from Houston, Dallas, Tampa, or the Midwest;
- Related scandals involving some of the same co-conspirators, such as the grenade-walking debacle.
This extremely narrow — and self-serving — definition provided by the Department of Justice notably excludes the third rifle (and possible murder weapon) recovered at the scene of Agent Brian Terry’s death. That gun, while “walked” and used by the cartels in a violent crime, was purchased in an unnamed Texas gun-walking operation. Further, the DOJ — and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in particular — tried to make that SKS carbine “disappear.”
The weapons used to ambush ICE agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were also not included in the DOJ’s figure, as these guns were also “walked” from Texas.