View Full Version : What we know about Project Gunrunner

04-21-2011, 07:02 AM
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican is threatening to begin contempt proceedings if the Justice Department doesn’t start providing documents about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious. But what’s the controversy about? And what could the documents show?

In Project Gunrunner, ATF allowed American guns – including AK-47 assault rifles and military-grade, .50 caliber sniper rifles – to be smuggled into Mexico and sold to drug cartels, with the goal of tracking the weapons after they’ve been used.

The project began during the Bush administration in Laredo, Texas, in 2005 as a trial, morphing into a national program in 2006. The guns were sold and tracked electronically, giving law enforcement agents valuable intelligence on where the weapons went and who had them.

During the Bush years, no guns were allowed to cross the border into Mexico. When President Obama took office in 2009, things changed. Obama’s ATF continued Project Gunrunner, but made a crucial decision to allow guns to be “walked” into Mexico, eventually ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The results, in at least one instance, were tragic. Two AK-47s ATF officials were tracking were found at the scene of U.S. border agent Brian Terry’s murder.

Suspected firearms trafficker Jaime Avila, who bought the two Project Gunrunner AK-47s found at the scene of the murder, was arrested shortly afterwards on gun crimes. But no one has been charged with Terry’s murder.

Controversy erupted after a CBS News investigation unveiled Project Gunrunner publicly, and two GOP lawmakers, Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, began investigating.

Documents released Wednesday by Issa show people involved in Project Gunrunner, including the gun stores who participated, were fearful about the impact of allowing such powerful weapons into the hands of criminals, even if they were being tracked.

One key figure is ATF agent David Voth. Voth helped coax reluctant U.S. gun dealers to continue selling thousands of powerful guns as part of Project Gunrunner, assuring them the program would eventually help stop gun trafficking.

But even Voth expressed alarm to superiors. An April 2, 2010 email from Voth to two other ATF officials listed the number of murders over the past several months in Mexico, highlighting the rampant drug violence there.

“Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles,” Voth wrote, “we have a sense of urgency with regards to this investigation.”

The subpoenaed documents could show who made the fateful decisions to allow assault weapons and military-grade sniper rifles to be “walked” into Mexico.

Issa says given the structure of the Justice Department, the decisions were likely made by top-ranking officials, potentially even Attorney General Eric Holder himself.

Rest of Story (http://dailycaller.com/2011/04/21/what-we-know-about-project-gunrunner/#ixzz1K9HgOcIz)

This story is important, as it holds the keys to breaking down Holder's justice department. This scandal is two-fold. First, Obama and his media allies have been telling the public that the Mexican Cartels were gaining military might through Americans smuggling powerful small arms to cartels south of the border for profit. If Issa's record-keeping demands are met, the evidence will show what many White House insiders have already admitted; Most of the cartel's hardware comes from Central and South America. (Why buy a semi-automatic, ATF restricted AK-47 from an American FFL dealer with an eye for profit margin, when the Cubans, Venezuelans or Colombians will sell full-auto, military grade hardware for less?)

To ensure that Americans weren't exacerbating the problem, the ATF setup project Gun Runner to track illegal small arms trade with the Mexican cartels. Since a significant portion of these guns weren't actually coming from America, and the "blame America" rhetoric of the Obama meda was in full swing, the Obama ATF needed to make good on it's lies. I'm sure the intent of Obama's "extension" of the Project Gunrunner program was to sell a few weapons to Mexican Cartels, track them, intercept these few weapons amidst a boatload of weapons acquired elsewhere, and blame the whole stockpile on American FFL dealers. That would shut his 2nd Amendment critics up, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, the ATF was as inept as the ATF has always been, and Obama's foreign policy with Mexican authorities was just as capable as his foreign policy has been elsewhere. They lost the guns they were supposed to track, the Mexican authorities couldn't help Obama's ATF, and these guns were used in the murder of at least one border patrol agent, and one civilian.

If Issa's requests pan out, and the media [i]actually does their job on this story, there is an upside. Obama will have to throw Holder under the bus. I, for one, hope that Holder doesn't go quietly into the night, and instead makes a big mess of trying to prove he was acting on Obama's orders while carrying out this fiasco.

04-21-2011, 08:20 AM
Michelle Malkin has done a couple of stories on this as well.

It's goten so bad and so out of control that ATF agents have been giving inside info on their attempts to alert people to what's going on at a website called CleanUpATF.org

The latest operation was called "Fast and Furious". And the Mexican gov't is pissed they weren't told ahead of time.

04-21-2011, 08:22 AM
Any idea how these guns were set up to be tracked?

Are they saying kind of like a Lo-Jack device?

04-21-2011, 08:23 AM
The following is a summary and time line of articles appearing on the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog and Gun Rights Examiner, reflecting original reporting on the developing Project Gunwalker story by Mike Vanderboegh and myself. That's the purposely ironic name I assigned it, a parody of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Project Gunrunner, and it refers to allegations by whistleblowing ATF insiders that:

* ATF management was allowing potentially hundreds of semiautomatic firearms to be walked across the Mexican border in order to pad statistics used to further budget and power objectives.
* Mexican authorities were kept in the dark, and protests that they should be informed were overridden, first by the Phoenix ATF office, and ultimately by higher-ups in Washington, DC.
* A gun used in this operation was involved in a December 2010 incident in which a Border Patrol agent was killed.

The original allegations were posted on CleanUpATF.org. Vanderboegh and I, who have a history going back years of documenting allegations posted there, and pressing for congressional hearings to investigate the claims, were both contacted independently by various ATF insiders claiming to have corroborating information and documentation. Mike vetted his sources and I used my contacts to help validate that my informant was who he represented himself to be. Mike and I did what we could throughout our separate and coordinated investigations to test and corroborate what was being told. We also had a small circle of behind-the-scenes consultants, including firearms designer Len Savage, and a few other knowledgeable advisors, all with contacts and informed insights of their own, and all of whom have earned our trust over the years.

Our primary goal was to help arrange for protection for our sources, and quickly, as retaliation was feared. Because the allegations involved higher ups within the Justice Department, the added protection afforded by separation of powers was sought. Through various contacts and machinations that are documented in the following timeline, the whistleblowers came under the protective umbrella of Sen. Charles Grassley, a senior member of the Committee of the Judiciary.

Our secondary goal was to push this story outside our limited spheres of influence and into the mainstream press, so that it would be problematic to ignore or bury things. Again, making this happen has been an ongoing struggle, but we've seen the first cracks in the dam. The following time line will bring journalists just getting involved with this story up to speed by walking them though it, from its genesis to where we are today as major media outlets finally begin to take notice and get involved.


04-21-2011, 08:28 AM
Any idea how these guns were set up to be tracked?

Are they saying kind of like a Lo-Jack device?

If I had to make a guess probably some kind of RF chip hidden in the stock or the pistol grip.

04-21-2011, 08:30 AM
Obama denied any knowledge of Project Gunrunner on Spanish-language Univision TV. He blithely allowed that “there may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made. If that’s the case, then we’ll find out and we’ll hold someone accountable.”