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Fast and Furious Was Not Botched

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated.” –Special Agent John Dodson ATF Phoenix Field Division.

As allegations surrounding Operation Fast and Furious continue to heat up, many major media outlets continue to call the fatal program “botched,” which is a factually incorrect characterization.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines botched as: to foul up hopelessly, to put together in a makeshift way.

The only thing botched about Operation Fast and Furious is that the American public found out about it. Fast and Furious was carried out exactly as planned: allow straw purchasers to transfer guns to cartels, let those guns get trafficked back to Mexico and see where they end up. There was no plan to trace these guns and no plan to inform the Mexican Government of the operation, either.

Tactics used during Fast and Furious seem like mistakes, but in fact were just part of the strategy and process of Fast and Furious. Calling the program botched implies the Obama Justice Department didn’t intentionally allow 2000 high powered guns, including AK-47s and .50-caliber sniper rifles, to walk into the hands of ruthless drug cartels without proper tracing mechanisms. The opposite is true. This was the intention of the program, not an operational mistake in the process.

To prove the operation wasn’t “botched,” let’s take a look at some testimony from ATF whistleblowers about the operation.

On June 15, 2011 ATF Field Agent John Dodson, one of the first whistleblowers to go public about the scandal, testified under oath before the House Oversight Committee about Fast and Furious.

“I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and .50 caliber rifles almost daily. Rather than contradict any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing,” Dodson said. “Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated.”

On July 26, 2011 ATF Senior Special Agent Jose Wall, who is based in Tijuana, Mexico also verified Fast and Furious was intended from the beginning to provide guns to cartels.

“I could not believe that someone in ATF would so callously let firearms wind up in the hands of criminals. And that this activity has seemingly been approved by our own Justice Department and ATF management in the misguided hope of catching the “big fish,” Wall said. “These firearms that are now in the hands of people who have no regard for human life pose a threat to all of us, a threat to which none of us is immune.”

ATF field agents knew Fast and Furious had the potential to get people killed, including federal agents. Vince Cefalu was one of those concerned agents and, although he knew he would face retaliation for exposing Fast and Furious to the public, he did it anyway. When Cefalu started speaking out against his superiors within ATF about the way Operation Fast and Furious was being conducted, 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. 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.“

In September, Cefalu explained his concerns during a Fast and Furious town hall meeting in Tucson.

“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,” Cefalu said.

Cefalu also described the skyrocketing murder rate in Mexico as “people getting killed wholesale,” and the federal government gave cartels the guns they need to do it.

To further prove Fast and Furious wasn’t botched in its implementation, ATF Phoenix Field Division Supervisor at the time, William Newell, described in emails that guns showing up at crime scenes in Mexico was proof the operation was working.

The only people who have been trustworthy and credible throughout the investigation into Fast and Furious have been ATF whistleblowers. ATF management officials and Department of Justice officials have done nothing but lie, stonewall and cover-up the lethal program.

The Obama Administration botched the cover-up of Fast and Furious. Lies perpetuated by the Holder Justice Department continue to be shredded by a handful of media outlets, Sen. Charles Grassley, Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Darrell Issa and members of the House Oversight Committee, but in no way was allowing Mexican cartels to get their hands on high powered weapons a "mistake."

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