The House Oversight And Government Reform Committee, headed by Rep. Darrell Issa (D-CA), launched an investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' poorly-thought-out and monstrously mismanaged Operation Fast And Furious after it was revealed that an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle which was allowed to "walk" under the operation's guidelines was used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona in December of 2010. On Wednesday morning, the investigation released its findings, and what they found will make everyone blessed with the gift of common sense scream WTF at the skies. Read the entire congressional report here (PDF) and observe the quackery after the break.
-- Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.” Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.-- ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.-- Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.-- Operation Fast and Furious contributed to the increasing violence and deaths in Mexico. This result was regarded with giddy optimism by ATF supervisors hoping that guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico would provide the nexus to straw purchasers in Phoenix. [AUTHOR'S NOTE: Emphasis mine.]
The committee also started hearings from ATF agents and the family of Brian Terry against the operation, and the supervisors who allowed the firearms to walk. If you suffer from a weak constitution, or have the irrepressible urge to throw things, do not read the following excerpt.
Agents say the man in charge of the operation in Phoenix, "was jovial, if not giddy" when Fast and Furious guns were found in Mexico. One agent described in detail his disgust at the self-satisfaction of ATF leadership for sending guns into what they knew to be a war zone, saying, "I cannot see anyone who has one iota of concern for human life being OK with this."In a question-and-answer session with congressional investigators, he was asked, "So is it a fair, predictable outcome of the policy that there would be essentially collateral damage in terms of human lives?""Sure," the agent replied, "That's correct."The report also clarifies that the ATF did not "lose track" of guns. Rather it intentionally allowed guns to "fall into the hands of criminals and bandits on both sides of the border."
Now, here is my opinion piece. I have to warn you: the subject I'm about to touch on is very near and dear to me, so I have quite a lot to say about it. Here's my two cents on the matter.
THE ATF NEEDS TO BE ABOLISHED, AND QUICKLY. This organization has done absolutely zilch to make America safer from the illegal trafficking of firearms, alcohol, tobacco, or explosives, especially firearms. I have read dozens of stories about gun shops being manipulated and forced to close their doors over simple clerical errors in their licenses (FFLs), that these thugs are only too happy to enforce. There is no recourse, there is no due process, there is no "whoops, we found a few mistakes in your paperwork, clear them up as soon as you can and get back to us when you're done." They find out you make just one little boo-boo that most likely can be corrected in a week or two, and they would just as soon assume you supplied al-Qaeda single-handedly and throw your ass in federal prison for 25 to life.
The effrontery of these thugs just amazes me, and what's more, they have the full blessing of the Department of Justice to keep doing it. The laws they put on the books are a whole other story. Several years ago, you could buy a sack of parts to build your own semi-automatic AK rifle from surplus that was imported into the States, but the receiver had to be cut in such a way that you couldn't use it to make the original automatic weapon, which is a separate can of worms we will touch upon later. However, using the "sporting purpose" clause of their importation guidelines, ATF demanded the importers start mangling up the barrels as well. What do the barrels have to do with not living up to the sporting purpose claim? Because they were manufactured for a battle rifle and not for plinking, the rifling makes the bullets deathier?
That's not all: Russia's Izhevsk firearms manufacturing company, long the main place to build the storied rifle, makes a citizen-legal semi-auto version called the Saiga, differing in design only by having a traditional rifle stock and the trigger group moved back to the rear of the receiver. They made them for export and we bought them here in the States, they are beautifully made and they have the same toughness the AK is famous for: they just work. However, the ATF comes in again with their "sporting purpose" spiel and banned their importation as well!
Exhibit C: South Korea allowed hundreds of thousands of M1 Garand rifles and M1 Carbines, used in the Korean War 61 years ago, to be sold to American gun collectors to help fund their military. Well, they WERE being imported, until ATF, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder banned their importation, citing "protecting the American people." They flat-out said "Fuck You" to the upstanding, honest, law-abiding gun owners like yours truly to being able to own 60-year-old, AMERICAN-MADE, semi-automatic battle rifles, rifles which General George S. Patton once called "the finest battle implement ever devised," rifles which are getting increasingly scarce because of their being squirreled away in gun safes and collections, thus driving up the price of the remaining ones on the market. All because someone high up in the executive branch got it in their heads that because the rifles were being offered for sale to Americans who would pass the background checks in place and had clean records, the rifles were, in essence, being sold to members of the criminal underworld who would use them to rob banks and shoot kittens and kick children in the face with steel-toed boots.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives needs to be defunded and disbanded. Eric Holder and the Department of Justice has consistently and continuously allowed these subversive measures to take place to systematically place the blame on American gun owners for the rising crime in Mexico, to allow tougher gun control legislation, to allow more government control over every aspect of American lives and turn the world's last remaining superpower into a nation of defeated, gray shells of people shuffling along to the will of its despotic leader, under the thumb of George Soros, the United Nations, and the Islamic Caliphate.