Fast, Furious, and Useless


The Wall Street Journal reported this morning on a huge cache of firearms seized in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which lies across the border from El Paso, Texas.  Among the other goodies taken by the Mexican police were “two dozen AK-47-style rifles, three antiaircraft machine guns, dozens of grenades and more than 26,000 rounds of ammunition.”

The really interesting thing is that at least five of these guns were supplied to the Mexican drug cartels by the U.S. government.

It’s another landmark in the miserable failure of the astonishing “Project Gun Walker,” also known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” which was intended to build firearms-violations cases against big cartel figures by deliberately pressuring confidential informants to sell them tons of guns.  Another Gun Walker weapon was allegedly used to kill U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

If this isn’t the most insane federal policy ever conceived, it’s a strong contender, and House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) would like to know which Justice Department genius cooked it up.  So far, he’s encountered only stonewalls wrapped in smoke and mirrors.  Both formal requests for information and subpoenas have been ignored.  Issa described some of the documents he has seen as “so heavily redacted that you couldn’t be sure there was writing underneath.”

Attorney General Eric Holder has been backpedaling away from the operation, declaring last month that “under no circumstances should guns be allowed to be distributed in an uncontrolled manner.”  Agent Terry’s family will be thrilled to hear it.

So far, the Justice Department has said “the Fast and Furious operation was first approved by the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona and the ATF’s Phoenix field office, and later by a multiagency organized-crime task force.” 

Issa wants to go higher up the ladder, and has new hearings scheduled for June 15.  “The reckless decisions of ATF and Justice Department officials in Operation Fast and Furious have devastated lives and put fear into communities on both sides of the border,” said Issa in a statement. “By exploring this Justice Department sanctioned program, we can better understand the flawed process surrounding the genesis and implementation of an operation that put guns into the hands of criminals.”

Here’s Issa discussing the affair on Fox News last week:

If the darkest fears of “Gun Walker” critics are confirmed, and the true purpose of this operation was political – giving cartel members American guns to pump up statistics for gun crime, as part of a push for more gun control legislation – the people who engineered it need to lose more than their jobs.