Attorney General Eric Holder has come under fire recently over the disastrous outcome of the ATF operation dubbed “Fast and Furious.” While what he knew or didn’t know about the operation may be a concern, what is more disturbing is the seemingly new modus operandi of federal policing agencies. In 2009, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (“ATF”) ran a sting operation tracking firearms dealing across the US/Mexico border. They had detailed tracking information on more than 2,000 firearms that smugglers had transported from the states across border lines into Mexico. Instead of stopping the shipments in transit, the ATF permitted the arms to reach their destination in order to build a bigger case against top Mexican drug cartels suspected of purchasing the illegal weapons.
Unfortunately, the ATF got what they wanted. Thanks to the ridiculous operation coined “Fast & Furious,” the weapons fell in the hands of these very dangerous criminal organizations and they did, well, what dangerous criminals do. Kill. And had they not killed a federal agent last year with the very same guns the ATF basically handed them, this disastrous operation would probably not have come to light. The gun used in that murder was just one of the many guns traced in a plethora of other crimes used by the drug cartels. What’s worse is that the ATF lost track of more than 400 guns they were tracing in the operation. As a result, there is no telling what crimes the US government may vicariously be responsible for.
Yes, the US is responsible here. It is the central goal of every policing authority in the United States, from your local police department to the federal bureau of investigation, to not only stop a crime in commission but to also PREVENT it before it occurs if at all possible. Not only did the ATF have ample opportunity to prevent these weapons from crossing, they assisted in their successful transport by ordering border patrol agents to “stand down” as reports came in that a large number of guns were being smuggled.
It is not and SHOULD not be a tactic of the ATF, FBI, or CIA to entrap individuals in order to bring criminal charges. They sure as hell shouldn’t be helping criminals achieve their objective. I hope the committee hearings now undergoing on capitol hill will bring light on the flawed practices of our policing agencies. One agent testified, “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”
I couldn’t agree more.