The ATF is holding a press conference of sorts at headquarters today. The purpose is to try to promote the organization’s gun-control political agenda, and to justify its “gunwalking” operations. At today’s event, the message will be: bad evil gun dealers are selling guns to Mexican dope gangs, so let’s round up the gun dealers. (They’ll also claim American sportsmen are the armorer to the Jamaican crime gangs, too, in support of the same message). But the ATF will be silent about one of the dominant sources of Mexican crime guns: the ATF.
Under the “gunwalking” initiative of the Holder Justice Department, ATF supplied an unknown number (over 3,000 are documented so far) of weapons directly to Mexican drug cartels, in order to push a crime wave and build support for tighter gun laws and increased ATF budgets. Most of the guns were bought with the drug dealers’ money, but at least some of them were bought with American taxpayer funds. ATF initially justified Operation Fast and Furious, Opertion Castaway, and other gunwalking efforts by using Mexican trace data to allege that 90% of Mexican crime guns came from dealers in the USA. (Closer examination showed the number was more like 17-20%).
Guns from Fast and Furious alone are implicated in the murders of two Federal agents, one sheriff’s deputy, and hundreds of Mexicans, many of whom were Mexican cops and innocent bystanders, not just rival druggies. Fast and Furious guns appear to have gone exclusively, and with ATF and DOJ approval at regional if not higher levels, to the Sinaloa cartel, suggesting US Government favoritism towards that cartel. Mexican authorities were never informed.
The story began to break in January, 2011 after Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was gunned down by four cartel gunmen — one of whom was an FBI agent or informant — using Fast & Furious-furnished guns. Two key figures in Fast and Furious, US Attorney Dennis K. Burke and ATF manager “Gunwalker Bill” Newell, in a display of legendary hypocrisy, made a grandstand show of attending Terry’s funeral but didn’t tell his grieving family they’d supplied his murder weapon. Sickened ATF Special Agents came forward to blow the whistle on the gunwalking, but apart from Burke — who has resigned and lawyered up — most of the instigators have been promoted by ATF, while the whistleblowers have been singled out for mistreatment.
Because the invitation is limited to pre-approved, pro-ATF media, and the provisions are more restrictive than a normal press conference (no cameras, no audio recorders), it’s likely to be a further propaganda release. ATF has also limited the scope of what media representatives may discuss: questions about Fast and Furious and other ATF gunrunning operations are off limits.
Bottom line: this is a dog-and-pony show, not a press conference.
The basic facts, from the ATF their own selves:
WHO: ATF Special Agent John Hageman
WHAT: Release of Government of Mexico Firearms Trace Data
WHERE: ATF Headquarters
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226
WHEN: April 26, 2012
TIME: 2:30 p.m.
The ATF says they will put their presentation slides on their website after the presentation, but not clear about whether they will release raw data (our guess is not; they’ve even stonewalled investigators’s subpoenas, used a wide variety of delay and obstruction tactics, and taken the fifth like mafiosi).
The ends of this canine and equine display? Our best guesses follow:
1. Get some ink in the friendly press in case Congress starts doing a budget in this election year.
2. Make a pre-emptive PR strike on lawsuits that are threatening to reverse a new ATF reporting requirement.
3. Create enough informational confusion about Mexican guns to justify further encroachments on Americans.
4. Try to create some “reasonable gun control” spin that may resonate with a future Romney Administration.
The ATF managers are deeply committed to their ideological partners in the Obama government, but that’s not the same thing as saying they’re loyal. Their loyalties are to self, career, and Bureau in that order. A second Obama term gives them everything they want, but they need to be prepared with Plan B. To the degree to which Obama seems threatened, they may downplay that innate brotherhood between the charismatic politician who orders omelets made and the black-suited functionary who breaks the eggs to execute the order. They don’t care who the politician is, they just want to run the camps.
UPDATE: Dave Workman, who’s also presumably not invited to SA Hageman’s political dog-n-pony show, does have what appears to be the whole text of the invitation here.