Fast and Furious is the most inexplicable scandal of the Obama era, and one that is still being covered up. Politically motivated officials who wanted to find an excuse to crack down on Second Amendment rights joined with inept bureaucrats to create a toxic brew.
In Fast and Furious, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents directed people known as “straw purchasers” — low-level illicit weapons purchasers who work for the Mexican drug cartels’ smugglers inside the United States — to buy guns at Phoenix-area federally licensed firearms dealers. Those guns were then smuggled into Mexico by cartel operatives, after agents let the weapons get into the hands of those cartel operatives by not tracking them.
This week the scandal took on a new dimension with the revelation that Nadir Soofi, one of two Muslim terrorists killed attempting to murder attendees of a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest held in Texas in May, had acquired one of the guns he owned as a result of the Fast and Furious operation. This meant that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was in the position of indirectly selling Islamic terrorists one of the weapons they may have used in an attack on Americans on American soil.
Soofi, who had a record of drug and assault charges, had no way of knowing that the Lone Wolf Trading Company in Phoenix, which he shopped at in 2010, was one of the stores allowed by ATF to sell illegal weapons to criminals as part of an effort to track them back to Mexican drug-smuggling rings. But Lone Wolf’s participation in the program was a great boon for Soofi. His purchase was originally flagged by the authorities, who put a seven-day hold on the purchase. “Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi was able to take home the 9-millimeter pistol,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Soofi had fudged some facts on the federal form he was required to fill out when he bought the gun, but his sale was still put on hold and then mysteriously lifted. Both Soofi and his accomplice, Elton Simpson, were killed by police outside the Garland event, managing only to injure a local security guard.
The FBI has so far refused to provide any information on the guns used by Soofi and Simpson in Garland. The Los Angeles Times reports that “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.”
The entire premise of Fast and Furious boggles the mind.
Imagine if a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) official let a kilo of cocaine onto the streets to try to figure out where it was going, but did not make any efforts to follow it after a drug dealer got his hands on it. When dealing with known criminals, federal law-enforcement agents know they are never going to see those drugs again—and those drugs could put someone’s life in danger from overdose or other issues that may arise.
The same concept applies to guns. If federal law enforcement agents allow guns to get into the hands of known criminals, and then don’t follow them, they will probably end up being used in the commission of crimes — including murders. As such, federal law enforcement frowns upon and rarely ever lets even a smidgeon of drugs or just one gun walk, never mind a couple thousand, which happened in Fast and Furious.
The cycle of gun walking continued despite protests from street agents for more than a year after it began in late 2009, until U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered on December 15, 2010, in Peck Canyon, Arizona, by Mexican cartel operatives.
Two Fast and Furious guns were found at Terry’s murder scene, after they had been previously trafficked into Mexico.
The revelation sparked what became one of President Obama’s first major congressional scandals, a scandal with deadly repercussions that continue to this day. Perhaps even more shocking is that with Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative organizations, and a whole consortium of other scandals that the Obama administration is responsible for, Fast and Furious remains the only one in which President Barack Obama has asserted an official executive-privilege claim to withhold documents that were subpoenaed by House Republicans. The battle over access to those documents is still being fought out in court.
The true number of people killed with Fast and Furious weapons will never be known. Hundreds of the guns remain out in public. In fact, even the Obama administration admits more people are going to die. In a statement to CNN in response to the revelation that Fast and Furious weapons were used in a December 2013 shootout, ATF said it “has accepted responsibility for the mistakes made in the Fast and Furious investigation and at the attorney general’s direction we have taken appropriate and decisive action to ensure that these errors will not be repeated. And we acknowledge that, regrettably, firearms related to the Fast and Furious investigation will likely continue to be recovered at future crime scenes.”