Skip to comments.Documents: ATF used "Fast and Furious" to make the case for gun regulations
Posted on 12/07/2011 1:11:53 PM PST by Hunton Peck
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales. PICTURES: ATF "Gunwalking" scandal timeline
In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the "big fish." But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called "gunwalking," and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF's Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:
"Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."
On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as "(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue." And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: "Bill--well done yesterday... (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case."
This revelation angers gun rights advocates. Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 "disappointing and ironic." Keane says it's "deeply troubling" if sales made by gun dealers "voluntarily cooperating with ATF's flawed 'Operation Fast & Furious' were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles."
The Gun Dealers' Quandary
Several gun dealers who cooperated with ATF told CBS News and Congressional investigators they only went through with suspicious sales because ATF asked them to.
Sometimes it was against the gun dealer's own best judgment.
Read the email
In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. "We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys," writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, "(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items."
Read the email
ATF's group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there's nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."
Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.
"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands...I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country."
"It's like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back," says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. "It's a circular way of thinking."
The Justice Department and ATF declined to comment. ATF officials mentioned in this report did not respond to requests from CBS News to speak with them.
The "Demand Letter 3" Debate
The two sides in the gun debate have long clashed over whether gun dealers should have to report multiple rifle sales. On one side, ATF officials argue that a large number of semi-automatic, high-caliber rifles from the U.S. are being used by violent cartels in Mexico. They believe more reporting requirements would help ATF crack down. On the other side, gun rights advocates say that's unconstitutional, and would not make a difference in Mexican cartel crimes.
Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they "have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico." The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.
On April 25, 2011, ATF announced plans to implement Demand Letter 3. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is suing the ATF to stop the new rules. It calls the regulation an illegal attempt to enforce a law Congress never passed. ATF counters that it has reasonably targeted guns used most often to "commit violent crimes in Mexico, especially by drug gangs."
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. "There's plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we've learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It's pretty clear that the problem isn't lack of burdensome reporting requirements."
On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how "Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities." So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.
"In light of the evidence, the Justice Department's refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable," Rep. Issa told CBS News.
CBS is reporting this?
Then they lied to Congress about it.
Those involved in developing, overseeing, and covering up this Fast and Furious Operation should all go to jail, up to and including Holder and Obama.
Their reporter Sharyl Attkisson has been on it from the start. I hope she has good insurance.
ATF messed up big time. We are not going to stop until a huge number of anti-gun laws are taken off the books for this crap. Yes, it’s punitive. Yes, it’s meant to ensure you, the BATFE and our Government lose some of the grip on firearms you now hold. Why? Because you crossed the line and abused your positions and authority in an attempt to expand your powers.
You violated the Constitution, infringed on peoples Civil Rights, engaged in acts of war against a neighboring nation, and committed Treason. Jail for the people involved is not enough. WE WILL HAVE REPEALS OF GUN LAWS one way or another.
Every single person involved in F&F needs to stand before the family of Brian Terry and explain and apologize for what they have done. They need to get on their hands and knees and beg forgiveness and if the family beats them to death, accept the punishment for what it is.
F&F was the last straw. We’re done with this. You have a choice Congress, you repeal the laws or we’re going to do it for you. If we do it, we’re taking it all. Every last bit of it. We’re not going to stop until ALL the gun laws are gone. We’re gonna jam it so far up your arse that you’ll be puking from it.
It’s time for the American People to send DEMAND LETTER 1!!
1. DEMAND that all involved in “fast and furious” be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
1. DEMAND the immediate defunding and disbanding of the the BATFE.
1. DEMAND we start the process of amending the constitution to clarify the 2nd amendment to be exactly what it is and that’s and ABSOLUTE right.
1. DEMAND the immediate repeal and nullification of all federal gun laws.
Now is the Time. Write your congressman and be polite but don’t ask, DEMAND!!
Maybe she slipped it in there before her bosses noticed...
Even the damn gun store owners realized what was going on!
Wow, big surprise, huh? Like 99% of FReepers didn't have that figured out right from the git go.
Obama working under the radar.
Obama working under the radar.
Obama working under the radar.
Obama working under the radar.
Obama working under the radar.
This goes to the top and Obama should be impeached
The pattern of deceit here is so pronounced it is impossible to doubt that this is murder and cover-up.
The Obama Adminstration's blame of American gun laws for the violence in Mexico was being made by multipe members of the cabinet.
'Fast and Furious' had to have originated above that level.
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
I believe this was one of the first, if not the first explanation, that was offered when the story was first revealed on FR.
Ruh-roh ping -— hard evidence for motive?
a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”...
Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
Sharyl Attkisson is a reporter who works for C,BS in L.A. I think.
She has dogged this story since it first was discovered.
Her company has fought against her getting on air with lots she’s found so she puts it on line or elsewhere.
Good lady, good work.
They didn’t just break laws, Jeff. They violated several Arms Control Treaties while they were at it. Every single person involved in this needs to do very long prison sentences.
There’s a case to be made that the higher ups be subject to Capital Punishment under 18USC242 as well.
Well said, sir.
Ironically, “Fast and Furious” makes a strong case for the 2nd Amendment.
They violated their oaths to the constitution and did so specifically to further erode the constitution. That makes them traitors to the constitution and the Republic it defines.
“’Fast and Furious’ makes a strong case for the 2nd Amendment.”
You mean in terms of making clear against whom we most need arms to defend ourselves? It certainly does.
Sharyl Attkisson Ping
In my opinion, everything about this Regime reeks of Nazi Germany and the Fuhrer.
Talk about "high crimes and misdemeanors" - that threaten the very survival of our constitution and nation.
Methinks we should revisit the past and ressurrect a few olde traditions.
"That makes them traitors to the constitution and the Republic it defines."
This is nothing short of a concerted effort by our government to undermine the Constitution which they are sworn to defend.
Dems attacking Gun laws.
Agreed. I wish I had certain skills to help here. You know how sometimes Rush will put together audio clips of the left’s talking points being parroted all over the media at the same time? The “held hostage” talking point is one that I specifically remember from back during the debt ceiling debate.
I wish I could find the timeline that I remember in my head and compile all the audio clips of Hillary, Holder, Obama, and Big Sis spouting the American guns causing violence in Mexico meme. I remember it so clearly because EVERYONE with any knowledge of firearms could so clearly see that it was a really bad lie. I remember yelling “liars” at my TV screen.
In case you’re not aware - Eric Holder is in front of the House Judiciary Committee this morning regarding Fast and Furious - C-Span 3, and I believe it’s also on the House Judiciary website. John Conyers has been throwing softballs. Sennsenbrenner is doing his thing now - it’s a thing of beauty.
They were the first to realize it. It is, after all, affecting their livelihood. THey were trying to balance being co-operative with the agents of the state with the possibility of them being made fall guys in this, and when it became apparent that they were in store for the second possibility, started talking...
I've stated this before, and I'll re-iterate... This *IS* "Waging war against the United States", inasmuch as the CONSTITUTION, the basic contract between governing, and governed, IS the nation. This, by definition of said contract, is TREASON...
What is this attack against the “Bill of Rights” and The Constitution, treason, sedition or something else?
It's one thing to know, just because its extrememly obvious, and another to have actual proof in the form of specific letters stating intent.
The right politician in the next presidential election could hammer the living crap out of Obama on this. Now, who is the right politician?
I'm sure it's not mittens.
On one side, ATF officials argue that a large number of semi-automatic, high-caliber rifles from the U.S. are being used by violent cartels in Mexico.
A Bald-Faced Lie!
Spot on, and very well said.
Thanks Hunton Peck for the topic and neverdem for the link.