A gun used by one of the terrorists in the attack on the Garland, Texas, Draw Mohammed contest may be linked to the botched gun-walking operation known as Fast and Furious.
The gun was purchased by Nadir Soofi, who authorities believe was radicalized online by the Islamic State. Incredibly, a seven-day hold was placed on the purchase because of Soofi’s criminal record. But inexplicably, the hold was lifted 24 hours later and Soofi walked out of the gun shop with the firearm.
It appears that the 9MM handgun, bought at a Phoenix gun shop , was identified almost immediately by the Justice Department as one of the firearms associated with the gun-walking program. Ever since then, the government has been trying to cover up the connection.
A day after the attack, the Department of Justice sent an “urgent firearms disposition request” to Lone Wolf, seeking more information about Soofi and the pistol he bought in 2010, according to a June 1 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.
Though the request did not specify whether the gun was used in the Garland attack, Justice Department officials said the information was needed “to assist in a criminal investigation,” according to Johnson’s letter, also reviewed by The Times.
The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.
Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.
Asked recently for an update on the Garland shooting, FBI Director James B. Comey earlier this month declined to comment. “We’re still sorting that out,” he said.
Officials at the Justice Department and the FBI declined to answer questions about whether the 9-millimeter pistol was one of the guns used in the Garland attack or seized at Soofi’s apartment.
It remains unclear whether Soofi’s 2010 visit to Lone Wolf is a bizarre coincidence or a missed opportunity for federal agents to put Soofi on their radar years before his contacts with Islamic extremists brought him to their attention.
The explanation for the lifting of the hold on Soofi’s purchase is simple enough: authorities wanted to track the gun because they believed it was bought by a member of a drug cartel. Fast and Furious was still active at the time of Soofi’s purchase. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered later that same year, which eventually brought an end to the program.
What this attempt at covering up the provenance of Soofi’s weapon shows is that the Justice Department and associated federal agencies are still engaged in trying to hide facts about Fast and Furious from Congress. They’ve been stonewalling the investigation for more than four years — not out of concern for the safety of Americans (and Mexicans for that matter), but because they fear the political fallout that would ensue once their incompetence was exposed.