Fast and Furious was the brainchild of the career bureaucrats of the BATFE; the same career bureaucrats who brought you Ruby Ridge and Waco. The career bureaucrats of the BATFE have been out of control for decades.
Think of operation Wide Receiver as a pilot run for operation Fast and Furious: Both operations were run by the same career bureaucrats of the BATFE. The career bureaucrats of the Phoenix office of the BATFE ginned up operation Fast and Furious and got it blessed by the US AG for AZ. It morphed into a monster involving other federal agencies.
Fast and Furious Conceived
The ATF Phoenix Field Division began Operation Fast and Furious in the fall of 2009 after suspicious weapons purchases led agents to the discovery of an apparent Phoenix-based arms trafficking syndicate. Having been encouraged to devise grander strategies to stop the transfers of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, the Phoenix based agents devised a strategy that went beyond simple arrests or weapons confiscations. They would allow the U.S.-based associates of
a Mexican drug cartel to continue acquiring firearms uninterrupted. In doing so, they hoped the weapons, after they were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, could be traced and linked to cartel operatives including possible high-level financiers, suppliers, and possibly even king-pins.
The operation sought to achieve its lofty goals by focusing on the ringleader of the weapons smuggling syndicate they had identified: Manuel Celis-Acosta. Celis-Acosta was using a thenunknown number of straw-purchasers, including Jamie Avila, to purchase weapons.
In January 2010, ATF partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and applied to Justice Department headquarters in Washington for funding through the Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. As senior Justice Department officials in Washington felt the operation had great promise, it won approval and additional funding. Operation Fast and Furious was reorganized as a Strike Force including agents from ATF, FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component of the Department of Homeland Security. ATF Agent John Dodson, who would later help blow the whistle on what occurred, was among the agents transferred to Phoenix to help with the operation as a result of the designation.
The Strike Force designation also meant that the U.S. Attorney’s Office – rather than ATF – would run Fast and Furious. At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona was led by Dennis Burke, a new political appointee who had previously served as Chief of Staff to then Arizona Governor and now Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Earlier in his career, Burke had worked with former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on gun control
legislation as a U.S. Senate staff member.
Does anyone else on this thread find it curious that after all the congressional noise, smoke and hoopla neither Grassley nor Issa have called for an overhaul of the BATFE?
Many years ago i had my very own experience with a career bureaucrat of the BATFE. In 1979 i was a US Army M/Sgt. in an EOD unit. The BATFE raided the home of a prominent physician and gun collector. A federal judge ordered the return of the doctors guns and ammo. Hundreds of thousands of rounds of expensive ammunition had disappeared along with some of the guns.
The scurillious SAC wanted tried to force me to write a statement for the federal judge saying the BATFE had turned that ammo over to my unit for disposal and that i had destroyed the ammo. Yeah, i was a naive Army troop but lying to federal judges was out of my league.