Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Fast and Furious Scandal Continues
By Heritage Foundation @ 1:09 PM :: 4577 Views :: National News, Ethics, World News, Family

www.Heritage.org

A U.S. government gun-trafficking investigation gone horribly wrong has resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol officer, some 2,000 firearms in the hands of criminals, and the dismissal of a 24-year veteran law enforcement official. This is the story of Fast and Furious, and yesterday the latest chapter unfolded when two top officials associated with the operation were removed from their positions, while a third individual resigned.

The story begins in the fall of 2009, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) office in Phoenix, Arizona, began selling weapons to small-time gun buyers in the hopes of tracing them to major weapons traffickers along the southwestern border and into Mexico. Their efforts failed, the number of arms unaccounted for numbers around 1,500 as of late July, and about two-thirds of those guns ended up in Mexico, according to congressional testimony.

Tragically, the botched operation has had serious consequences. On the night of December 15, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed during an effort to catch several bandits targeting illegal immigrants in Arizona near the border. When law enforcement rushed to the scene, they discovered two of the killers' assault rifles that were among those sold as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Additionally, 57 Fast and Furious weapons have been connected to at least an additional 11 violent crimes in the U.S.

In December 2010, ATF agent Vince Cefalu spoke out about the operation before the first reports on the story appeared in February. FoxNews.com reports that Cefalu said at the time, "Simply put, we knowingly let hundreds of guns and dozens of identified bad guys go across the border." Other agents later came forward, congressional hearings have been held, and President Barack Obama called the operation "a serious mistake." Cefalu, though, was forced to resign.

Yesterday, more Fast and Furious–related personnel changes came about when the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Kenneth Melson, the acting head of the ATF who presided over the operation, is being replaced and transferred to the Office of Legal Policy where he will serve as a senior advisor on forensic science. Heritage's Lachlan Markay reports that "Melson bucked his superiors at DOJ in July by revealing details about the operation to congressional investigators in a closed door meeting with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who have been investigating the operation in their respective roles."

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke, announced his resignation. The Hill reports that "Burke oversaw the legal aspects of the Fast and Furious operation, providing advice to agents involved." And The Arizona Republic reports that the lead prosecutor for Operation Fast and Furious cases in Burke's office was also reassigned Tuesday. Issa, who has led the congressional investigation into the case, said that even with yesterday's news, he will continue looking for answers:

While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn’t offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, the White House has said little about Fast and Furious. In June, President Obama said in a press conference: "My Attorney General has made clear that he wouldn’t have ordered gun running into Mexico. . . That would not be an appropriate step by the ATF." He then deflected further questions by citing an "ongoing investigation." And press secretary Jay Carney previously said that the President "did not know about or authorize this operation." But as Heritage's Rory Cooper wrote, "If that’s the case, how could neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder not know about an operation that everyone else at the Department of Justice seemed to be actively involved in, including the Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Attorney and head of the ATF?"

And if the White House has been silent, so has the media. It has been 57 days since the press has questioned the White House on the matter, when ABC's Jake Tapper peppered press secretary Jay Carney on the issue, asking why the public knows so little about the story, what the Administration is doing to get to the bottom of it, whether the acting head of ATF would go to Capitol Hill to testify on the subject, whether it is something the White House is worried about, and if the President upset about it. Carney's reply: He referred Tapper to the Department of Justice and remarked, "I think you could assume that the President takes this very seriously."

The President should take it seriously. And so should the American people. The ATF sold guns to criminals in Mexico, a life has been taken, and crimes have been committed with the weapons that were trafficked by the federal government. And yet, shockingly, questions remain under the Administration that called itself "the most transparent in history." It's time for more answers.

---30---

FEATURED POSTS

QUICK HITS

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT