Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We're all wrong on Fast and Furious

That's right ladies and gentlemen, after a year and a half of investigating we finally learned the truth about Fast and Furious. Turns out, there was nothing evil there, it was just ATF agents that were hamstrung by gun fanatical prosecutors that refused to prosecute straw purchasers. Why? Because the penalties weren't harsh enough and it wasn't worth the time.

In a story in Fortune Magazine today they come out and tell us why we are all wrong. There was no ingrained sense of stupidity at the ATF and DOJ, nope, it was all the whistle blowers idea. He did it while the leader of the Phoenix office was on leave. Well now that we have that settled we can move on I guess. Someone call Issa and let him know that he's been wrong for 18 months and there is no need to continue with Obama Slap-Down Day™ tomorrow.

Fortune magazine did a six month investigation interviewing many of the people implicated in Fast and Furious and managed to read 2000 pages of Confidential ATF correspondence. Not sure if those same 2000 pages have been made available to Congress. No where in the story does it mention that.

Any way let me break down the entire story for you. It turns out that John Dodson, you know one of the whistle blowers, was behind the whole thing. He was an "asshole" according to the ATF and rebuked procedures and protocols required by the ATF according to the story. Of course all of this is according to David Voth, you know the guy who was in charge of the Phoenix Office of the ATF, you know where Fast and Furious was run out of.

How is it possible to deduce that? Because Dodson then proceeded to walk guns intentionally, with Casa and Alt's help. On April 13, 2010, one month after Voth wrote his schism e-mail, Dodson opened a case into a suspected gun trafficker named Isaiah Fernandez. He had gotten Casa to approve the case when Voth was on leave. Dodson had directed a cooperating straw purchaser to give three guns to Fernandez and had taped their conversations without a prosecutor's approval.

It wasn't that Voth couldn't do his job or that he allowed guns to walk it was that the job was too.. overwhelming?

Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.

Voth, 39, was a good choice for a Sisyphean task. Strapping and sandy-haired, the former Marine is cool-headed and punctilious to a fault. In 2009 the ATF named him outstanding law-enforcement employee of the year for dismantling two violent street gangs in Minneapolis. He was the "hardest working federal agent I've come across," says John Biederman, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. But as Voth left to become the group supervisor of Phoenix Group VII, a friend warned him: "You're destined to fail."

According to Voth he was a by the book kind of guy, while Dodson and his counteparts enjoyed "mocking Voth and "would wear flip-flops in to work".

Dodson's faction grew antagonistic to Voth. They regularly fired off snide e-mails and seemed to delight in mocking Voth and his methodical nature. They were scornful of protocol, according to ATF agents. Dodson would show up to work in flip-flops. He came unprepared for operations—without safety equipment or back-up plans—and was pulled off at least one surveillance for his own safety, say two colleagues. He earned the nickname "Renegade," and soon Voth's group effectively divided into two clashing factions: the Sunshine Bears and the Renegades.

To be honest I could believe the story if it had come out say I don't know, maybe a year ago or so. I just find it a little odd that this story manages to hit the wires the day before Holder is voted in Contempt of Congress. The story also goes on to say that multiple parts of Voth's emails were misconstrued with many segements taken out of context.

So according to him and the other agents that were interviewed, guns were never intentionally allowed to walk. The story also says that the ATF had its hands tied because the big bad NRA keeps fighting against an electronic reporting system of people who legally buy guns. Because of this the ATF had to do manual searches and build their own database to find people who were illegally buying guns.

Here's an idea. Watch for the guy that shows up in a car that barely runs and drops 20 grand on guns. Follow that person. When they hand the guns over, follow that person, seems pretty simple to me. But even when they figured a guy buying a 10 grand .50 cal sniper rifle who was on food stamps probably was a gun runner they still let him leave.

Prosecutors repeatedly rebuffed Voth's requests. After examining one suspect's garbage, agents learned he was on food stamps yet had plunked down more than $300,000 for 476 firearms in six months. Voth asked if the ATF could arrest him for fraudulently accepting public assistance when he was spending such huge sums. Prosecutor Hurley said no. In another instance, a young jobless suspect paid more than $10,000 for a 50-caliber tripod-mounted sniper rifle. According to Voth, Hurley told the agents they lacked proof that he hadn't bought the gun for himself.

Some how the fact that I found the link to this article from MSNBC pretty much told me what I was going to be reading. I'm sure I didn't cover everything but I'd like for you to make some of your own decisions here. What am I, your mother?

No comments:

Post a Comment