ATF: Lost Guns, Cigarettes, and Credibility
That year, recognizing the problem of terrorist financing from cigarettes, Congress passed the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act. The bill noted:
Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations have profited from trafficking in illegal cigarettes or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps; terrorist involvement in illicit cigarette trafficking will continue to grow because of the large profits such organizations can earn.
ATF, by its own admission, continued to run such operations for two more years until 2011 -- the same year it claims to have shut down “Fast and Furious.”
The networks, money, and operators fostered and paid for by a U.S. government agency are still out there. In 2012, Brooklyn prosecutors took down a cigarette ring valued at $4 million. In May of this year, 16 Palestinian men -- some with ties to convicted terrorists -- were arrested on charges of illegal cigarette sales that may have netted more than $51 million. At least one of the men has ties to Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheikh,” who is in prison on a conviction stemming from the first World Trade Center bombing.
So far, we know ATF has enriched criminal and terrorist organizations via guns and cigarettes. According to the acronym, perhaps stolen alcohol programs will be uncovered next, with similarly disturbing consequences.