Cefalu said the operation was never about actually arresting cartel members for arms trafficking, it was about headlines for the ATF and its upper echelons, more budget, more gun control, and more media attention for ATF:
There’s no Mister Big in Mexico, there’s no … Iron Pipeline. It doesn’t exist.
When everybody is screaming terrorism and counterterrorism no one wants to talk to anyone but the FBI. If there’s gunrunning on the border and thousands of guns flowing into Mexico it’s more headlines for ATF.
It’s fame and glory and grabbing headlines.
Cefalu said the operation was akin to the DEA deciding to track the flow of drugs in a major city by putting tons of high-quality heroin on the streets, then waiting for a rash of overdoses to see which part of the city had the most drug activity.
Meanwhile, emails have revealed that high-level officials within DOJ were aware of the operation, which Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly said he only found out about when the story broke.
According to the emails, Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Lanny Breuer, Melson, Acting Deputy Director of the ATF William Hoover, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, and Director of the FBI Robert Mueller were all aware of the operation.
It defies belief that Holder was unaware of the operation, and it is highly unlikely that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano were unaware of an operation that had both national security and international relations implications. It seems increasingly likely there will be multiple resignations as a result of this investigation and possibly criminal prosecutions.