“Project Gunrunner” Was a project of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireworks In late 2009, the ATF was alerted to suspicious buys at seven gun shops in the Phoenix area. Suspicious because the buyers paid cash, sometimes brought in paper bags. And they purchased classic “weapons of choice” used by Mexican drug traffickers – semi-automatic versions of military type rifles and pistols. According to news reports several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but Bureau encouraged them to continue.
ATF managers allegedly made a controversial decision: allow most of the weapons on the streets. The idea, they said, was to gather intelligence and see where the guns ended up. Insiders say it’s a dangerous tactic called letting the guns, “walk.” Yes, that’s right, the US government decided, in order to fight the Mexican Drug Cartels, someone high up in the government decided to sell them guns.
The President said that neither he nor AG holder knew about the program which was initiated during his tenure in the White House.
“Well first of all I did not authorize it. Eric Holder the Attorney General did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gun runners and put ’em into jail,” Mr. Obama said of the controversial ATF operation .”
“You were not even informed about it?” asked Univision reporter Jorge Ramos.
“Absolutely not,” said Mr. Obama. “There may be a situation here which a serious mistake was made and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and well hold somebody accountable.”
He went on to say that a Justice Department Inspector General will investigate who was behind the project. Unfortunately, if it is the same inspector general who investigated the dropping of the New Black Panther case it will be nothing but a cover-up.
I am not saying that the President is lying, but I am saying that anything that stupid had to come from a higher up. Sometimes the best, most incredibly creative ideas come from senior management, but even more often the worst and most stupid ideas come from, or approved by senior management.
Allow me to explain, my last job was for a small publishing company that published newspaper distributed magazines such as American Profile and Relish. The top guy was a genius at coming up with ideas. Because he was so creative in one meeting he could spin off 100 ideas, five of them would be incredibly wonderful, the other 95 were unworkable, not because of any lack of judgment but because like most good senior executives, he was locked in on the “big picture” and not the details. What made Dick so great was that he didn’t have an ego, he would let us throw away the 95 bad ideas and concentrate on the five great ideas. An egotistical manager in the same situation would say all of his ideas are sacred and would push for the “not so good” ideas to be implemented also.
Someone who is “close to the street” would never approve of giving guns to the drug lords unless they were ordered from above. Even a middle manager would not take the risk of approving such a program, it would be career suicide. Only someone higher up in the Obama food chain would have the ego to believe that this was a good program.
The lead ATF official in Mexico at the time Darren Gil says somebody in the Justice Department did know about the case. Gil says his supervisor at ATF’s Washington D.C. headquarters told him point-blank the operation was approved even higher than ATF Director Kenneth Melson.
“Is the director aware of this,” Gil asked the supervisor. Gil says his supervisor answered “Yes, the director’s aware of it. Not only is the director aware of it, D.O.J.’s aware of it… Department of Justice was aware of it.”
Gil went on to say senior Justice official Lanny Breuer and several of his deputies visited Mexico amid the controversy last summer, and spoke to ATF staff generally about a big trafficking case that they claimed was “getting good results.” Gil says Melson, ATF’s Acting Director, also visited Mexico City. Gil’s Deputy Attache and his Analyst questioned Melson about the case that surrounding all the weapons showing up in Mexico. “His response was ‘it’s a good case, it’s still going on,'” recalls Gil, “and we’ll close it down as soon as we possibly can.”
The investigation into ATF’s “Project Gunrunner” should be at the Congressional level, not by the Justice Department based on the Holder-led DOJ’s record of self investigation. Only then will we know which Senior official approved such as dumb idea.