Gunwalker: The Third Gun

A war within a war appears to have broken out regarding allegations of a third weapon at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder.

The Department of Justice claims that only two semi-automatic AK-pattern rifles were recovered at the scene of the shootout between a Border Patrol tactical team and armed Mexican criminals that night in the Arizona desert. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) ruffled feathers within the DOJ and with Democrats on his committee by repeating allegations of a third weapon at the scene, and by announcing plans to question the FBI about the investigation of Agent Terry's death.

Border Patrol agents had mentioned a third weapon to Agent Terry's family. CBS News obtained audiotape of a conversation between an ATF agent who was part of Operation Fast and Furious and the dealer who sold weapons under ATF direction to cartel smugglers. The blunt conversation is very hard to spin:

Agent: Well there was two.

Dealer: There’s three weapons.

Agent: There’s three weapons.

Dealer: I know that.

Agent: And yes, there’s serial numbers for all three.

Dealer: That’s correct.

Agent: Two of them came from this store.

Dealer: I understand that.

Agent: There’s an SKS that I don’t think came from ... Dallas or Texas or something like that.

Dealer: I know. talking about the AK’s --

Agent: The two AK’s came from this store.

Dealer: I know that.

Agent: OK.

Dealer: I did the godd***ed trace --

Agent: Third weapon is the SKS has nothing to do with it.

Dealer: That didn’t come from me.

Agent: No and there is -- that’s my knowledge. And I spoke to someone who would know those are the only ones they have. So this is the agent who’s working the case, all I can go by is what she told me.

Dallas has long been alleged to be the site of another major gunwalking operation running weapons to the cartel, one of 10 claimed gunwalking operations in five states. The FBI's statement on the allegation released Monday seems definitive:

The FBI has made clear that reports of a third gun recovered from the perpetrators at the scene of Agent Terry's murder are false.

The FBI is very careful with their words: they declare there was not a third gun recovered a) "from the perpetrators," b) "at the scene of Agent Terry's murder."

An inference one could make from the careful phrasing:  if there was a third weapon, it was not recovered in direct proximity to one of the Mexican criminals involved in the crime, and it was more than likely dropped as the suspects fled the scene -- which is also what allegedly happened with both of the AK-pattern rifles used in the shootout. They were recovered a short distance away.