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Tappy
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1 - 03-07-2011, 01:58 PM
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Outraged yet?

Quote:
...CBS News reported Sunday March 6th that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico is questioning ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program under Project Gunrunner…where US agents let hundreds of guns “walk” into Mexico which are being found next to the ded bodies of Mexican citizens...
Mexico questions ATF’s Gunrunner program - View From Baja Arizona

Quote:
Now, we learn that after our Feb. 22 report, ATF's Chief Public Affairs officer sent an all-call internal memo to ATF Public Information Officers in an effort to "lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF."

The memo asks ATF PIO's to "Please make every effort in the next two weeks to maximize coverage of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level" in hopes it would drown out the "negative coverage by CBS News."

At the time, the memo noted "Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled."

However, last night, CBS News continued reporting on this issue and will be staying on the story.

Read the full ATF internal memo below:

-----------------------------

Public Information Officers:

Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize coverage of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled.

It was shoddy reporting , as CBS failed to air on-the-record interviews by former ATF officials and HQ statements for attribution that expressed opposing views and explained the law and difficulties of firearm trafficking investigations. The CBS producer for the story made only a feigned effort at the 11th hour to reach ATF HQ for comment.

This week (To 3/1/2011), Attorney General Holder testifies on the Hill and likely will get questions about the allegations in the story. Also (The 3/3/2011), Mexico President Calderon will visit the White House and likely will testify on the Hill. He will probably draw attention to the lack of political support for demand letter 3 and Project Gunrunner.

ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF. The more time we spend highlighting the great work of the agents through press releases and various media outreaches in the coming days and weeks, the better off we will be.

Thanks for your cooperation in this matter. If you have any significant operations that should get national media coverage, please reach out to the Public Affairs Division for support, coordination and clearance.

Thank you,

Scot

Scot L. Thomasson

Chief ATF Public Affairs Division

Washington, DC

Desk 202-648-XXXX

Cell 206-XXX-XXXX
ATF memo after CBS report: We need positive press - CBS News Investigates - CBS News

Here's the letter Senator Grassley sent to Attorney General Holder and ATF Director Melson:

2011-03-03 CEG to DOJ-ATF

Quote:
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Kenneth E. Melson
Acting Director
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Dear Attorney General Holder and Acting Director Melson:

It is has been over a month since I first contacted Acting Director Melson about
serious whistleblower allegations related to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and
Explosives (ATF) operation called “Fast and Furious”—part of the broader “Project
Gunrunner” initiative. Several agents alleged that ATF leadership encouraged
cooperating gun dealers to engage in sales of multiple assault weapons to individuals
suspected of illegally purchasing for resale to Mexican cartels. These agents were
motivated to come forward after federal authorities recovered two of the Operation Fast
and Furious guns at the scene where a Customs and Border Patrol Agent named Brian
Terry was killed.

In response to my letter, the Department of Justice (DOJ) denied that ATF would
ever knowingly allow weapons to fall into the hands of criminals, or let firearms “walk”
in an operation.
On February 9, I wrote to DOJ and attached documents that supported
the whistleblower allegations about the guns found at the scene of Agent Terry***8223;s death.

My office continues to receive mounting evidence in support of the whistleblower
allegations. For example, attached are detailed accounts of three specific instances where ATF allowed firearms to “walk.” In all three instances, the suspect asks a cooperating defendant to purchase firearms at a gun dealer who was also cooperating with the ATF.

So, two of the three participants in the transactions were acting in concert with the ATF.
Yet, the ATF allowed the suspect to take possession of the firearms in each instance. In
one case the suspect said that he “assumed the only real risk in their trafficking
arrangement when he [REDACTED] "erase(d) the (serial) numbers***8223; from the firearms
and "take (transports) them…***8223;”

The whistleblowers did not wait until a federal agent was killed before voicing
their concerns internally. Several agents in the Phoenix Gun Trafficking Group (Group
VII) voiced their opposition to the ATF***8223;s handling of the case internally first. Group
Supervisor David Voth sent an email on March 12, 2010 about the “schism developing
amongst our group.” His response to dissent within the group was to invite those who
disagreed with the strategy to find another job:

Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying
close attention to this case and they also believe we (Phoenix Group VII)
are doing what they envisioned the Southwest Border Groups doing. It
may sound cheesy, but we are “The tip of the ATF spear” [sic] when it
comes to the Southwest Border Firearms Trafficking.
We need to resolve our issues at this meeting. I will be damned if this
case is going to suffer due to petty arguing, rumors, or other adolescent
behavior.
… If you don’t think this is fun, you’re in the wrong line of work—
period!
This is the pinnacle of domestic U.S. law enforcement
techniques. After this the toolbox is empty. Maybe the Maricopa County
Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of
$100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day.

Two weeks later, on April 2, 2010, Voth sent an email to Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory
Hurley and Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) George Gillett with the subject,
“No pressure but perhaps an increased sense of urgency.”6 In the email, he reiterated
support for the strategy, but cited increasing levels of violence as a reason to move more
quickly. Voth wrote:

Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to
include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles.
I believe we are righteous in
our plan to dismantle this entire organization and to rush in to arrest any
one person without taking in to [sic] account the entire scope of the
conspiracy would be ill advised to the overall good of the mission. I acknowledge that we are all in agreement that to do so properly requires patience and planning. In the event, however, that there is anything we can do to facilitate a timely response or turnaround by others, we should communicate our sense of urgency with regard to this matter. Voth also acknowledged in a May 3, 2010 email to his group that “April was the second most violent month during the Calderon administration with 1,231 executions.” ATF personnel in Mexico reportedly noted the increased violence and contacted ATF Headquarters to express concern over the Operation Fast and Furious strategy of allowing the weapons sales to proceed.

ATF Headquarters was fully aware of the strategy. A copy the Operation Fast
and Furious case summary sent to ATF Headquarters states:
This OCDETF [Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force] case is a
large scale firearms trafficking case with the firearms being recovered in
the Republic of Mexico or on/near the US/Mexico border (El Paso, TX,
Nogales, AZ, Douglas, AZ, etc.) To date over 1,500 firearms have been
purchased since October 2009 for over one million ($1,000,000.00) cash
in over-the-counter transactions at various Phoenix area FFLs.

[REDACTION] There are many facets to this investigation but ATF is
attempting to not only secure a straw purchase/dealing in firearms without
a license case against various individuals but more specifically to make
the bigger connection to the Mexican Cartel/Drug Trafficking
Organization (DTO) obtaining these firearms for the best possible case
and the most severe charges when it is time to Indict [sic] this case.9
Dismantling the Mexican drug cartels is a worthy goal. However, asking cooperating
gun dealers to arm cartels and bandits without control of the weapons or knowledge of
their whereabouts is an extremely risky strategy. ATF leadership did not allow agents to
interdict the weapons in this case. Instead, agents simply monitored the purchases of
“suspect guns” and entered them into a database of firearms “suspected to eventually be
used in criminal activity.”

Over the course of this investigation, weapons allowed to
walk were ending up in Mexico and along the Southwestern border. The ATF was well
aware that this was happening. For example, in November 2009, four 7.62 caliber
weapons were recovered in Naco, Mexico just two weeks after being purchased by one of
the ATF***8223;s suspects in Glendale, Arizona.11 Also, in July 2010 a Romanian AK-47
variant—the same model found at the scene of Agent Terry***8223;s death—was recovered in
Navojoa, Mexico.

In light of this evidence, the Justice Department***8223;s denials simply don***8223;t hold
water. On February 4, 2011, the Department claimed that the ATF did not “knowingly”
allow the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers and that “ATF makes every effort
to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation
into Mexico.” Clearly those statements are not accurate. These documents establish
that ATF allowed illegal firearm purchases by suspected traffickers in hopes of making a
larger case against the cartels. ATF was not alone. The U.S. Attorney***8223;s office appears to
have been fully aware and engaged in endorsing the same strategy.
Congress needs to get to the bottom of this.

After close of business last night, I received a one-page response to my letters of
February 9 and 16. The response asks that I direct to the Inspector General any
individuals who believe they have knowledge of misconduct by Department employees.
You should know that just after Agent Terry died in December, at least one
whistleblower contacted the Office of Inspector General before contacting my office.
Despite reporting the allegations multiple times by phone, Internet, and fax, no one
contacted the whistleblower until after my staff contacted the Acting Inspector General
directly on February 1.

I have received no documents in response to my February 16, 2011, request. Last
night***8223;s DOJ reply cites the Justice Department***8223;s “longstanding policy regarding pending
matters” as a reason for withholding documents “relating to any ongoing investigation.”
However, as you know, that policy is merely a policy. It is not mandated by any binding
legal authority.

There are many instances where the Justice Department and its components
choose to provide information about pending investigations to Congress. These examples
are not always officially documented, but often occur when there are particularly
egregious allegations of government misconduct or there is an extremely high level of
public interest in an investigation. Getting to the truth of the ATF whistleblower
allegations in this case is extremely important to the family of Brian Terry and should be
important to all Americans. There is no reason to wait the unknown number of years it
might take for all of the trials and all of the appeals to be exhausted. The time for truth is
now.

In addition to providing the documents I previously requested, please explain how
the denials in the Justice Department***8223;s February 4, 2011 letter to me can be squared with
the evidence.

Sincerely,
Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
Cliffs:
ATF agents encourage gun dealers to knowingly, illegally sell firearms to individuals known to supply Mexican cartels.

ATF agents allow these individuals to transport these weapons into Mexico, only recording their serial numbers so they can be tracked once they show up in Mexican murder scenes, including the slaying of US Border Control Agents.

CBS exposes them; in response, the ATF encourages it's public information officers to cover up the story with a flood of pro-ATF propoganda.

DOJ lies to Senator Chuck Grassley about the operation.
 
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DocHolliday
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Old
2 - 03-07-2011, 02:11 PM
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Pretty damn disgusting if true. A lot of people need to lose their jobs and jail time is probably in order.
 
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Smiling Canadian
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3 - 03-07-2011, 02:12 PM
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The fact that a government agency is engaging in questionable practices surprises you ?
 
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DocHolliday
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4 - 03-07-2011, 02:13 PM
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Should we just accept this as normal and ignore it?
 
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Tappy
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5 - 03-07-2011, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiling Canadian View Post
The fact that a government agency is engaging in questionable practices surprises you ?
The ATF (and by extension, the DOJ) explicitly allows the illegal smuggling of firearms to known criminal organizations which have, in turn, been used to murder American citizens and Border Control Agents, and you consider this questionable?

 
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JoMo
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6 - 03-07-2011, 02:20 PM
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They flood our country with drugs, we flood theirs with guns. Thank God for free trade.
 
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Stealth
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7 - 03-07-2011, 02:24 PM
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Not reading that wall of text. Why were they allowing the weapons to go over?
 
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DocHolliday
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8 - 03-07-2011, 02:29 PM
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Data
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9 - 03-07-2011, 02:29 PM
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Gut the entire organization.
 
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JoMo
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10 - 03-07-2011, 02:32 PM
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I'm betting it has something to do with causing a war between drug lords which would result in them killing each other out.
 
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MadHatSam
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11 - 03-07-2011, 03:22 PM
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Cut the ATF and DEA, that would help balance our budget.
 
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ScottTheWise13
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12 - 03-07-2011, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth View Post
Not reading that wall of text. Why were they allowing the weapons to go over?
I think I had read that they wanted to use the guns to build a bigger case against some of the head honchos of the various Mexican cartels

Pretty ****ed up way to do that.
 
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Smiling Canadian
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13 - 03-07-2011, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tappy View Post
The ATF (and by extension, the DOJ) explicitly allows the illegal smuggling of firearms to known criminal organizations which have, in turn, been used to murder American citizens and Border Control Agents, and you consider this questionable?

I personally consider it atrocious and whomever had anything to do with it should be dismissed from their positions and prosecuted. However it seems this falls into line with what is becoming normal government behavior.

I should have added a sarcasm smiley to my original post.
 
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DocHolliday
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14 - 03-07-2011, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiling Canadian View Post
I personally consider it atrocious and whomever had anything to do with it should be dismissed from their positions and prosecuted. However it seems this falls into line with what is becoming normal government behavior.

I should have added a sarcasm smiley to my original post.
You act like this behavior is new. This is par for the course for governments the world over for the entirety of our existence. It is a never ending battle to keep them in check. Never forget that.

The founding fathers of this country built it with this in mind. Now its time for those checks and balances to work. That Rep needs to keep pushing this along with the free press. Force the executive branch and judiciary to act and correct it.

Humans and power are a bad mixture and inevitably leads to corruption/abuse. It is a never ending battle to maintain the balance.
 
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Last edited by DocHolliday; 03-07-2011 at 04:18 PM.
mstrike
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15 - 03-07-2011, 04:39 PM
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The ATF should be the name of a general store, not a government agency.

Anyway, it's time to dissolve the ATF and DEA.
 
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Skipperlipicus
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16 - 03-07-2011, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstrike View Post
Anyway, it's time to dissolve the ATF and DEA.
this
 
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SPNirology
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17 - 03-07-2011, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
You act like this behavior is new. This is par for the course for governments the world over for the entirety of our existence. It is a never ending battle to keep them in check. Never forget that.

The founding fathers of this country built it with this in mind. Now its time for those checks and balances to work. That Rep needs to keep pushing this along with the free press. Force the executive branch and judiciary to act and correct it.

Humans and power are a bad mixture and inevitably leads to corruption/abuse. It is a never ending battle to maintain the balance.
 
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DrMeithos
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18 - 03-07-2011, 04:49 PM
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"Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to
include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles
." Holy ****

Edit: What's the likelyhood that Holder arranged this thing to create gun control and amnesty propaganda? Headline: "American guns cause violence in Mexico" "Not many guns coming into America." I don't think I'd put it past Eric "We don't prosecute minorities" Holder.
 
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Last edited by DrMeithos; 03-07-2011 at 04:51 PM.
Data
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19 - 03-07-2011, 05:04 PM
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Extremely likely.
 
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DrMeithos
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20 - 03-07-2011, 05:05 PM
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I think so, too. It's all an inside yerb.
 
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Last edited by DrMeithos; 03-07-2011 at 05:07 PM.
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