The ATF's Project Gunrunner is developing into a scandal that reaches the highest levels of government. Like any government scandal, it's hard to follow and difficult to understand unless you have some kind of "road map". Fortunately, we have one.
Thanks to intrepid souls and gun rights advocates David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh, the two people most responsible for bringing this into the public light, we have a decent timeline. Reading the events in chronological order can really help you understand the issues.
What is Project Gunrunner?
In short, it was originally a plan to catch gun smugglers moving guns into Mexico. That's what it was doing from 2005 to 2009. However, in late 2009, under the Project Gunrunner umbrella, the ATF embarked on Operation Fast and Furious which was neither fast nor furious. Fast and Furious used the concept of allowing some guns to "walk" across the border so ATF could identify higher-level drug smugglers in the drug cartels, then nab them for prosecution. There were several problems with this strategy.
Allowing firearms to "walk" across the border meant they would end up in the hands of the notoriously violent drug cartels. That meant people would probably die. It ignored at least one treaty with Mexico which prohibited unilateral "investigations" by US agents within Mexico. Lastly, arming any criminal or insurrectionist group in another country could be considered an act of war against that country.
We might understand if the ATF allowed a shipment of 6, 12 or even 24 guns to "walk" in order to make their arrest. But this wasn't the case. The ATF allowed thousands of guns to cross the border. The exact numbers are elusive, but it's known to be at least 1,900 and possibly over 2,500. This includes several .50 caliber Barrett rifles. Worse, two U.S. Law Enforcement agents are dead and guns "walked" across the border were found at the scenes of their deaths.
Gun Control Link
Remember in early 2009 when both Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State and Attorney General Eric Holder claimed 90% of the guns seized in Mexico came from U.S. "border gun shops" and they called to re-instate the Clinton-Brady Assault Weapons Ban? That sound bite was quickly trashed by astute observers noting that the real percentage was less than 18%.
Not only that, but an ATF Inspector General's report said the number of guns traced to the U.S. was declining. This deprived the politicians of statistics to justify an even greater, more encompassing gun-ban. In late 2009, Operation Fast and Furious was born. If you can't find the evidence to support your claim, then you can plant it by allowing thousands of guns to cross the borders, get seized after Mexican gun battles or police raids, then use them to support the "need" for more gun control.
Had it not been for a few whistleblowers and two gun rights activists, by now we might be seeing "proof" that gun smuggling to Mexico is a huge issue that warrants banning "military-like" firearms altogether (except for the usual suspects - the police and military).
We've put together a time-line of the scandal so you can see why this has the potential to reach into the highest levels of government. It could result in the impeachmenet of the President (though politically, that's unlikely given certain realities). It might, at the very least, kill the careers of the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Head of the DHS and the acting head of the BATF. Certainly some U.S. Attorneys and ATF managers will be blamed. But international conspiracies aren't initiated by GS-14 employees without some major CYA taking place.
You can find the Project Gunrunner Timeline on the HCA website. It is a .PDF file so you can either read it online or download it and share it with family, friends and non-shooters. I suggest you share it with any "liberal" friends you have to get their reactions.
We'll keep you up to date as events unfold. House Oversight Committee hearings begin on Monday the 13th. Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) plans three phases of hearings, the last of which will be the main feature where Attorney General Holder has to tap dance on the head of a pin to save his behind.
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