Fast and Furious: Using Humans as Collateral Damage

Katie Pavlich

9/27/2011 2:03:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Tucson, Ariz.-The Canyon Del Oro High School auditorium in Tucson, Ariz. was packed full of at least 500 people last night as anxious tea party members waited to hear from ATF whistleblower Vince Cefalu, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar about the Obama Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious. The theme of the night? Accountability.  

“The only thing I have ever asked is to put all the cards on the table. Tell the truth,” ATF whistleblower Vince Cefalu said.

Cefalu was heavily involved in Operation Fast and Furious and has been an ATF agent for over 20 years. He has watched the bureau become a political entity rather than fulfilling its obligations as a law enforcement agency.

“We should not concern ourselves with any administration’s agenda,” Cefalu said. "It [Operation Fast and Furious] defies logic, common sense, it defies our core beliefs, our training and our experience as ATF agents.”

When Cefalu started speaking out against his superiors within ATF about the way Operation Fast and Furious was being conducted, putting high powered weapons into the hands of ruthless drug cartels and then losing track of them, he was approached within 24 hours and told to stop. He was also threatened and told if he didn’t shut his mouth, he would be relocated to North Dakota, a long way from where he had been working along the southern border with Mexico.

“To think that they could do this sort of operation knowing there could be a dead ATF agent at the ends of those guns made me nauseous,” he said.

Despite threats from his superiors, Cefalu blew the whistle about Operation Fast and Furious anyway, which has landed him under review for what he describes as “a proposal for removal for telling the truth.“

“Unchecked power corrupts,” he said, adding that there are no longer checks and balances within ATF.

In his speech, Cefalu made the larger argument that this is a major government corruption problem, not only surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, but about a runaway government that doesn't answer to the people, saying ATF agents and the Department of Justice shouldn’t be able to say no to Congress when asked for documentation surrounding operations within the Bureau. The Obama Justice Department has been stonewalling the House Oversight Committee in its investigation into Operation Fast and Furious since day one.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is fighting on the ground in Arizona against the very cartels the federal government has been arming, was appalled at the operation, saying this scandal will “totally eclipse Watergate,” and made the case that Operation Fast and Furious was used as program to restrict Second Amendment rights for law abiding citizens. He brought up the lie that 90 percent of guns in Mexico come from the United States, told over and over again by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. The 90 percent figure has been proven false by multiple fact checking organizations, intelligence sources and even ATF agents yet, Obama and Holder have tried to make the case that all the violence in Mexico comes from the United States.

“He’s [Obama] saying that to build the argument to restrict our gun rights in America,” Babeu said, and internal ATF emails prove it.

Babeu was also disgusted at the idea that the government has never apologized to the family of Brian Terry, despite guns from Operation Fast and Furious being used by a cartel member to kill him.

“He was a cop, he was a marine and was murdered on American soil,” Babeu said.

“I want nothing out of this bit for justice to be served and for Brian Terry’s mama to know that somebody cared,” Cefalu said.  “You’ve sent that message tonight, that you cared.”

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar described Operation Fast and Furious as “A Few Good Men being played out in real life,” adding that humans were used as collateral damage while the federal government armed Mexican cartel members with .50 caliber sniper rifles, a weapon strong enough to take down a helicopter, and AK-47s.

“I want to remind you, we had a couple of guys break into a hotel take down an administration, nobody died,” Gosar said. “When are we going to hold agencies and bureaucrats to task?”

Gosar, Babeu and Cefalu all called for accountability from the Obama Administration multiple times throughout the evening and questions from the audience were centered around who ultimately would be held responsible for not only the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, but also for the deaths of thousands of innocent Mexicans. 

“These people are now being killed wholesale,” Cefalu said.

In the past 18 months, 22,000 Mexicans have been killed.

“President Obama is not above the law and he and this administration will have to account for this,” Babeu said.