Death in the Desert: Project Gunwalker and the ATF Cover-Up
- I've been following this investigation for about 6 months now. It is very
depressing that Congress is still being stonewalled.
Death in the Desert: Project Gunwalker and the ATF Cover-Up
By T.L. Davis
On December 14, 2010, a firefight erupted in the Arizona desert. When the
smoke had cleared, Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry was dead,
and the seeds of a scandal had been sown. Some of the rank and file of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), often
referred to as the ATF, began to grow concerned that a new development in Project
Gunrunner probably had resulted in the death of Agent Terry.
First word of the incident began to appear on CleanUpATF.org, a
whistle-blower website dedicated to "returning the integrity, accountability and
decency to the ATF." Two Second Amendment advocates, Mike Vanderboegh of the
blog Sipsey Street Irregulars and David Codrea, a writer at Gun Rights
Examiner.com, became immediately aware of the posts, and their interest pushed
them to collaborate and use their own sources within the ATF to confirm the
allegations being made.
The pair independently corroborated the existence of a deviation from
Project Gunrunner which they began to sardonically refer to as Project
Gunwalker. Sources told them of the unstated policy to provide assault weapons to
straw buyers, who would walk the guns over the border and sell them to
members of the Mexican drug cartels for the purpose of manufacturing evidence.
One source of resistance to this development came from Darren Gil, then ATF
attaché to Mexico, who felt strongly that the Mexican authorities should
be made aware of the change in tactics. Gil brought his concerns to Special
Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Office William D. Newell. Despite Gil's
insistence, Newell refused to inform Mexico of the Bureau's intent. Frustrated
and considering Newell's refusal to be a significant international policy
error, Gil went to Newell's superiors in Washington. One can only speculate
as to the conversations that took place, but Gil has since retired from the
With no further objections, the cynical plan allegedly was put into effect,
and a string of subsequent events were unleashed. If played right,
however, the Obama administration would get their "evidence," and the ATF could
count on increased resources to pursue the very problem they were
facilitating. That did not take into account the events that unfolded on the night of
December 14 -- events which resulted in the death of Agent Terry.
Vanderboegh and Codrea relentlessly pursued the facts as presented to them
by numerous and separate sources. They recognized that if true, the
allegations would spell a serious breach of the public trust and the prospect of
criminal activity within the ATF.
Finally, with facts in hand, they sought protection for their sources
before going public. They approached several staff members on the Senate
Judiciary Committee. They were directed from one person to the next. It was a
struggle to ensure the safety of the agents putting their lives and careers on
the line to expose the actions of the ATF. Eventually, Vanderboegh and
Codrea obtained assurances that their informants would come under the
whistle-blower protections offered by Senator Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of
the Judiciary Committee. What follows is an excerpt of a letter from Grassley
to Acting Director of the ATF Melson:
***Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations
that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected
straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout
the southwestern border area and into Mexico. According to the allegations,
one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in
Glendale, Arizona on January 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly
used in a firefight on December 14, 2010 against Customs and Border Protection
(CBP) agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry.***
On January 30, 2011, there came word that the ATF in Phoenix, instead of
helping Senator Grassley get to the bottom of the allegations, had begun to
exert retaliatory pressure against agents suspected of blowing the whistle
on the operation. The following is an excerpt from the subsequent letter
sent from Grassley to Acting Director Melson upon hearing of the retaliation:
***As you know, I wrote you on Thursday, January 27, regarding serious
allegations associated with Project Gunrunner and the death of Customs and
Protection Agent Brian Terry. Although the staff briefing I requested has not
been scheduled, it appears that the ATF is reacting in less productive ways
to my request. I understand that Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC)
George Gillette of the ATF's Phoenix office questioned one of the individual
agents who answered my staff's questions about Project Gunrunner.***
Mike Vanderboegh is now reporting that the answer to this letter from
Senator Grassley has been the January 31 promotion of William D. Newell to
Darren Gil's previous position of Mexican attaché to the ATF. Theoretically,
this would leave Gillette -- a person already alleged by the whistle-blowers
to be deeply involved in coercion of the informants -- in charge of the
ERIC HOLDER'S GUNRUNNER SCANDAL FUNDED WITH $10 MILLION OF OBAMA'S
ERIC HOLDER'S POORLY EXECUTED ATTEMPT TO DEMOLISH THE SECOND AMENDMENT
There is a new little wrinkle in Attorney General Eric Holder's claims of
ignorance regarding the Gunrunner Scandal – Holder's Department of Justice
requested and received $10 million in funding specifically for "Project
Gunrunner" as part of Obama's 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka
the Stimulus Bill.
The damning evidence can be found on page 16 of the Act, under the heading
"Department of Justice" and subheading "Office of Justice Programs"!
According to the Library of Congress the section reads as follows:
"For an additional amount for 'State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance',
$40,000,000, for competitive grants to provide assistance and equipment to
local law enforcement along the Southern border and in High-Intensity Drug
Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the
Southern border, of which $10,000,000 shall be transferred to 'Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Salaries and Expenses' for the ATF
Eric Holder not only knew about Gunrunner, he requested $10 million to fund
it. The only question now is, how much did Barack Obama know and when did
he know it?
"You've got people who are dead. You have weapons that are missing and you
have an administration that doesn't seem to want to take any accountability
for it," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
Like something out of a bad conspiracy movie, it is beginning to appear
that Holder agreed to the now infamous "Gunrunner/Gun Walking/Fast & Furious"
program in part to help Second Amendment hating Leftists who sought to
impose gun control by "proving" that law abiding American gun shops were
responsible for Mexican gang violence.
The plan might have worked brilliantly were it not for one murdered U.S.
border patrol agent and a handful of dedicated ATF agents brave and honorable
enough to blow the whistle on their own organization's shameful sellout of
the U.S. Constitution.
Even now, as the true cost and body count resulting from Holder's betrayal
become evident, the Left just isn't ready to give up. Rep. Elijah Cummings
(D-MD) said in a statement that "no legitimate examination of this issue
will be complete without analyzing our nation's gun laws, which allow tens of
thousands of assault weapons to flood into Mexico from the United States
every year, including fifty caliber sniper rifles, multiple AK variants, and
scores of others." Rep. Cummings apparently does not care that it was the
U.S. Government, not its citizens, who sent these guns – in violation of
standing U.S. law – to Mexico in the first place. Anything to kill the Second
Amendment – even killing our own brave border patrol field agents!
As the damning evidence and criminal implications mount, Eric Holder's
Department of Justice seems intent upon stonewalling – adding contempt of
Congress to the possible list of charges levied against the ATF and DOJ.
ATF supervisors, acting as Holder's "yes men" and co-conspirators have
already been caught red handed in a web of lies poured upon a suspicious
Congress and a shocked nation. While supervisors told the House Oversight
Committee that no guns were ever allowed across the border, whistle blowing ATF
field agents have provided ample evidence to the contrary. For every document
the ATF powerbrokers have refused to turn over, brave agents-on-the-ground
have turned over their own records, including emails from the very
supervisors denying "Project Gun Walker" (now being called "Project Gunrunner" by
the mainstream media) which, in the higher-ups' own words and directives,
confirms the entire gun walking operation.
ATF supervisors, surprised that their lies had been exposed, are now
refusing to turn documents over to House Oversight Chairman Chairman Darrell
Issa's investigators, claiming the need for redaction of sensitive and
classified information. Chairman Issa has made it clear that he wants these
documents unmolested. But given the current state of our criminal government, it
is doubtful he will receive the evidence any time soon, if at all.
We must stand up for our rights before a corrupt Eric Holder and tyrannical
Barack Obama seize our guns and our liberty without any hope of
restoration or renewal.
BACKGROUND: ERIC HOLDER'S LONG EXPERIENCE WITH GUN RUNNERS: Holder has been
defending a Columbian gun running scam since 2007
The DOJ/ATF "Gun Walker" scandal isn't the first time Eric Holder's name
has come up in association with gun runners and terrorist organizations. Just
a few years ago Holder acted as defense attorney for one of the largest
gun running scandals in recent history.
In 2007, then private attorney Eric Holder defended the group that funneled
$1.7 million into the Columbian group AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de
Colombia) – a U.S. designated terrorist organization. In addition to funding,
Chiquita International Brands (CIB) helped the group illegally import over 3,000
AK-47s and 5 million rounds of ammunition into a country ripped apart by
drug wars. And Eric Holder not only defended CIB, he initially argued to
the court that CIB had done nothing wrong. When that did not work, he helped
CIB negotiate a relatively small fine and eliminate legal penalties for
the CIB employees who facilitated the illicit weapons transactions.
Now it comes to light that Eric Holder's own U.S. Department of Justice,
through its reporting agency the ATF, instituted a policy of assisting in the
illegal export of guns to Mexican drug cartels. ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms) agents reportedly not only turned a blind eye toward illegal gun
sales, field agents were forced by superiors to actively facilitate the
transfers. And in at least one case, that of Border Patrol Agent Brian
Terry, the cartels used those "gun walked" weapons to murder U.S. officers.
In his recent testimony before Congress, Eric Holder claimed absolutely no
knowledge of the "Gun Walker" program. But given his previous work with
gun runners, it is not far-fetched to imagine that Holder not only knew, but
had a large hand in the program.
Frankly, the ongoing DOJ/ATF "Gun Walker" scandal represents only the
latest in a long line of disgraces associated with Attorney General Eric Holder,
including numerous instances of his refusal to enforce or even abide by
the law, such as the New Black Panthers voter intimidation case, the ACORN
Voter corruption and funding scandals, federal court orders regarding
"ObamaCare" and Congressional subpoenas, and his shocking dereliction of duty
regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. Rather than stand as the "top cop" and
ultimate sentinel and protector of our nation's rule of law, Holder seems
to be far more interested in traducing the law to suit his own cronies,
radical friends, colleagues, business associates – plus random "clients" and
high bidders. How much longer will we tolerate corruption and outright
trampling of the Constitution from America's highest law enforcement office?
Our current Attorney General is not fit to lead the Department of Justice.
ERIC HOLDER MUST GO!
Congressional hearings into the "Gun Walker" case are happening now, so we
must act quickly to ensure the Department of Justice can be cleansed of the
cancer destroying it from within. Please fax or email Congress now!
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