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DOJ’s Fast and Furious head fake

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 12, 2011 09:22 AM

In the wake of swelling outrage over the Obama administration’s fatally botched Fast and Furious straw gun purchase racket, the DOJ is punishing the very whistleblowers who protested the scheme in the first place.

This is a head fake.

Instead of exercising more control over lawless bureaucrats within its own agencies, the Obama administration is tightening its grip over law-abiding gun shops:

As a backlash mounts over the government’s failed Fast and Furious gun-tracing operation, the Justice Department will begin requiring firearms dealers in California and other border states to alert officials anytime they sell more than two semiautomatic rifles to someone in a five-day period.

The new reporting requirement will help the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “detect and disrupt” border gun-smuggling operations, Deputy Atty. Gen. James Cole said Monday.

Once the ATF distributes its new reporting forms, about 7,000 dealers near the border must report multiple sales of semiautomatic weapons in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Such weapons “are highly sought after by dangerous drug-trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border,” Cole said.

Republican critics quickly denounced the measure, saying it was wrong for the Obama administration to let illegal guns get into the hands of Mexican cartels in Operation Fast and Furious, and then require more monitoring of legitimate gun owners in the U.S. Under the program, the ATF permitted illegal straw purchasers to obtain weapons as part of a plan to trace the guns as they flowed to Mexico.

“It’s the height of hypocrisy,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who is leading the House investigation into Fast and Furious, called it a “political maneuver designed to protect the careers of political appointees at the Justice Department and not public safety.”

NRA will sue over the new regs.

Sipsey Street Irregulars sums it up best:

Ironic, ain’t it? It is as if the ATF is admitting that it was incompetent (deliberately or otherwise) in the Gunwalker Scandal and was having trouble keeping track of their cartel straw buyers so now they insist that the FFLs [federal firearms licenesses] who previously tried voluntarily to help them, now must help them.

Of course this is another ratchet on the attempt at back-door arms registration…

Ignore the distraction.

Keep your eye on the corruptocrats’ ball. The latest:

Are high-profile suspects in Mexican drug cartels also paid informants for U.S. federal investigators? If so, could a brewing scandal in Washington implicate more U.S. agencies in the ongoing drug-related violence in Mexico?

Kenneth Melson, the embattled chief of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), made the earth-shaking revelation in testimony early last week, The Times reports. Melson reportedly told congressional leaders that Mexican cartel suspects tracked by his agents in a controversial gun-tracing program were also operating as paid informants for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the FBI.

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More: Here’s the latest on the brewing Tampa gunwalking allegations.

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On a side note: While I was on vacay, old news about Fast and Furious’s parent program, the stimulus-funded Project Gunrunner, somehow got recycled as new news. But if you read my column and extensive post with links back in March, you already are in the know. David Codrea and Bob Owens try to clear up confusion sown by latecomers.

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