I've written on three previous occasions about allegations that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) actively condoned and permitted illegal gun purchases in the USA, and tracked the guns to Mexico, as part of an apparent attempt to build up a case for future prosecution. Unfortunately for the agency, this allegedly led to the murder of a Border Patrol officer with one of the weapons involved.
Now an ATF agent has gone public. CBS News reports:
Federal agent John Dodson says what he was asked to do was beyond belief.
He was intentionally letting guns go to Mexico?
"Yes ma'am," Dodson told CBS News. "The agency was."
An Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms senior agent assigned to the Phoenix office in 2010, Dodson's job is to stop gun trafficking across the border. Instead, he says he was ordered to sit by and watch it happen.
Investigators call the tactic letting guns "walk." In this case, walking into the hands of criminals who would use them in Mexico and the United States.
Dodson's bosses say that never happened. Now, he's risking his job to go public.
"I'm boots on the ground in Phoenix, telling you we've been doing it every day since I've been here," he said. "Here I am. Tell me I didn't do the things that I did. Tell me you didn't order me to do the things I did. Tell me it didn't happen. Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it. Here I am. Someone now, tell me it didn't happen."
Agent Dodson and other sources say the gun walking strategy was approved all the way up to the Justice Department. The idea was to see where the guns ended up, build a big case and take down a cartel. And it was all kept secret from Mexico.
. . .
Documents show the inevitable result: The guns that ATF let go began showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. And as ATF stood by watching thousands of weapons hit the streets... the Fast and Furious group supervisor noted the escalating Mexican violence.
One e-mail noted, "958 killed in March 2010 ... most violent month since 2005." The same e-mail notes: "Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during March alone," including "numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles."
Dodson feels that ATF was partly to blame for the escalating violence in Mexico and on the border. "I even asked them if they could see the correlation between the two," he said. "The more our guys buy, the more violence we're having down there."
Senior agents including Dodson told CBS News they confronted their supervisors over and over.
Their answer, according to Dodson, was, "If you're going to make an omelette, you've got to break some eggs."
. . .
On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down. Dodson got the bad news from a colleague.
According to Dodson, "They said, 'Did you hear about the border patrol agent?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And they said 'Well it was one of the Fast and Furious guns.' There's not really much you can say after that."
Two assault rifles ATF had let go nearly a year before were found at Terry's murder.
Dodson said, "I felt guilty. I mean it's crushing. I don't know how to explain it."
There's more at the link.
I wish I had words to describe to you how angry - no, how incensed I am by this news. Well . . . I do have words . . . but they're not the kind I can use in a (relatively) family-friendly blog like this one.
I was a Federal prison chaplain. I swore the same Federal law enforcement oath that Agent Terry swore, and that every ATF agent has sworn. The only difference, apparently, is that I - and Agent Terry - meant it. Clearly, these ATF clowns didn't.
I want every single ATF supervisor, manager or official who approved this program named and shamed, then prosecuted in federal court for their crimes - and they are crimes. Can you say 'misprision of felony'? How about 'color of law abuses' or 'malfeasance in office'? These are the most minor charges I can think of in this situation . . . there are plenty more serious ones that might be brought. Furthermore, I hope Agent Terry's family sues the ATF for every penny they've got, and then some. They deserve nothing less.
I'd like to ask a favor of any bloggers who read this article. Please publicize this case on your blogs, too. If you don't want to write a detailed article of your own, please feel free to link to this one and/or copy it to your own blogs. The more people who know about this case, the better. Ask your readers (as I now ask mine) to please write to their Congressional representative and Senators, demanding an official inquiry into this matter.
If our Federal law enforcement agencies have become so corrupt that they won't bring the guilty parties to trial, we'll just have to rely on the common sense and decency of the American people to note the names of those involved, and shun them in every possible way. (I trust the names will come out, somehow. If an ATF whistle-blower will provide them, I'll publish them on this blog!) Refuse to co-operate with them officially; refuse to serve them in your businesses; refuse to even speak to them about anything at all, even so much as a greeting. Deny any and all co-operation to their agency(ies) unless and until they're tried and convicted for their crimes.
May they rot in jail for the rest of their lives!
EDITED TO ADD: I've posted the CBS video report of Agent Dodson's claims in a new article. Please click the link to view it for yourself.