Saturday, March 5, 2011


by Ben Small

There's a burgeoning scandal from the last few days that has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan. Rather, it's about corruption within the Department of Justice, ATF Division. You know, those responsible for enforcing our gun laws.

You remember the ATF, the Ruby Ridge and Waco bunglers. Partly because of those fiascoes,  the ATF got transferred from the Treasury Department -- they issue $200 tax stamps to approve machine guns and silencers -- to the Justice Department, the hope being that one of the lowest prestige law enforcement agencies would take a step up in class and effectiveness.

Sadly, it hasn't worked out. It appears the ATF has bungled again.

Remember those reports from the Border Patrol, another Homeland Security unit sharing Justice Department parenthood with the ATF, that drugs were moving north of the border and guns were moving south of the border? Surely you remember the headlines, when a few Phoenix gun dealers were accused of selling bundles of AK-47s to multiple people, which weapons were then used by Mexican cartel members in their bloody attacks south of the border.

We were appalled. There was noise in Washington for additional gun sale curbs.

Turns out, the ATF helped create the problems its masters then complained about. The dealers had called the ATF and reported the attempted sales and their suspicions that the buyers were gunrunning smugglers. ATF agents say, publicly now, that higher management ordered them to approve these sales, despite dealer fears. Higher management wanted the sales.

And all this without even notifying the Mexican government. No "Lookout below!"

And the guns, hundreds of them, spread all over Mexico. People died.

The Mexican government complained. Obama and Calderon met. Then Obama and Eric Holder, Attorney General -- responsible for the Justice Department -- went public, promising to shut down the gun runners sending automatic and semi-automatic weapons from the U.S. to Mexico.

But Mexican government complaints continued, as smuggled weapons shed more blood in cartel wars.

The ATF is on record saying they've never approved an illegal sale. Their agents say otherwise. Now, the ATF is announcing an investigation. So is Congress.

Oh, the mystery, the intrigue.

Stay tuned, folks. This may be a good one.

Articles reporting this recent news development are linked here. ATF ScandalCBS NewsAgency InvestigationUSA TodayCNNArizona Daily Star


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yes, I saw this on TV--wow! Hard to even imagine, unfortunately, I think more of that stuff goes on than we know. If you wrote it in a book no one would believe it.


Mark W. Danielson said...

This goes back to the premise that guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. Will we ever get it right?

Ben Small said...

And of course, none of these folks will receive any meaningful discipline, like being fired. The most anybody will receive is a reprimand to the file or a Personal Improvement Program (PIP). They're lifetime employees under union rules and the Civil Service Act. The President can only fire those he appointed, and he's surely not gonna fire his buddy Eric Holder, who if he's not playing gun agenda games, is still mulling what to do with the 9/11 planner Kahlid Sheik Mohammad and Gitmo. This is going to be fascinating as it plays out. A mystery writer could have a field day with the notion that they may have created a problem so they could complain about it. May not play out that way; indeed, it could just be another ATF blunder -- they're known for that -- but I, for one, will be watching it closely.

I wonder if Janet was advised. As head of Homeland Security, Napolitano's in charge of securing our border, and one of her agents was killed with two of these weapons. One would think she would have had to be warned, and if so, she must have approved.... Or was the ATF just out of reasonable control? Payoffs? It wouldn't be the first time cartel money has bought privileges.

No, no matter how this plays out, mystery and conspiracy writers are gonna have a field day. I just wish no more have to die from this travesty. Fat chance of that.

Morgan Mandel said...

So much subterfuge goes on in real life, I can't keep it all straight!

Morgan Mandel