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Fast and Furious update: And now…Project Grenadewalker?!; Plus: The Indiana story

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 6, 2011 12:02 PM

The truth is still seeping out, despite Team Obama’s best efforts to cover up and shut up the Fast and Furious whistle-blowers.

Last week, we noted the latest evidence that the scandal went straight to the top and chronicled the desperate dance of the lemons. In discussing the quiet resignation of U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke in Phoenix, I talked with NRA News’s Cam Edwards about Burke’s transparent attempt at liability avoidance.

Today, the WSJ spotlights the Phoenix USAO’s botched handling of an Arizona man accused of supplying grenades to a Mexican drug cartel. Business Insider provides a closer look (h/t William Amos):

The WSJ reports today that federal authorities are now investigating why the U.S. Attorney’s office in Phoenix — the same office that oversaw Fast and Furious — released Jean Baptiste Kingery after he confessed to providing military-style weapons to the now-defunct La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.

Kingery, who was arrested and released in June 2010, confessed to manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using grenade components from the U.S. He also admitted to helping the cartel convert semi-automatic rifles into machine guns. Mexican criminal organizations are increasingly using these military-style weapons as the cartels’ escalate their wars against the government and one another.

Despite Kingery’s confession, and over loud protestations from the arresting ATF officers, the U.S. Attorney’s office let Kingery go within hours of his arrest.

Kingery’s release is now the subject of an internal probe by the DOJ inspector general. The findings in the DOJ probe were a major catalyst in the recent staff shakeup that ousted Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennie Burke and Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson from their posts.

The Phoenix U.S. Attorney’s office denies that it declined to prosecute the case, saying that it wanted to continue surveillance. The office alternatively told investigators that ATF agents wanted to make Kingery an informant, but lost contact with him within weeks of his release.

…The Congressional Oversight Committee has also expanded its Fast and Furious investigation to include the Kingery case. The Committee is investigating who in the Obama administration knew about the gunrunning program, under which ATF agents allowed more than 2,000 guns to “walk” across the border.

On a related note, Kathleen Millar focuses on the State Department and poses provocative questions about F&F and the Arms Export Control act, which brought down the architects of Iran-Contra during the Reagan years:

The Arms Export Control Act prohibits US arms merchants and defense manufacturers from selling lethal weapons and sensitive or dual-use technology to people who may want to use those weapons and technology to fire back at US citizens—at the military, law enforcement agents, and more and more often, a lot of just plain Americans who routinely miss those signs 80 miles inland on the US side of the Mexico-Arizona border warning tourists to go no further–Mexican gunmen on the prowl.

US weapons cannot be sold and shipped to countries that support terrorism, or nations, states, groups, or other entities deemed unfriendly to the United States.

I’d say Mexican cartels, especially the violent assassination squads that comprise Los Zetas, fall into that category, wouldn’t you?

Even more importantly, the Arms Export Control Act is, in fact, a servant to Article Three of the United States Constitution, which defines the act of selling weapons to those who would ‘levy war against the United States’ or ‘giving aid and comfort to our enemies’ as treason. No kidding. Treason.

If a US law enforcement agency wants to involve itself in the sale of weapons purchased from US gun dealers for export purposes–sales that may be part of an legitimate enforcement or military operation–that agency, let’s say ATF, must apply to the State Department for an exemption from the licensing requirements normally imposed on the commercial sale and export of such weapons. If an enforcement agency or military entity intent on running a covert op involving the export of lethal weapons does not obtain the necessary exemptions from State, for–listen carefully–each weapon or bundle of weapons purchased, that agency or military purchaser has committed a crime. Consider. ATF sent more than 1700 weapons across the border into Mexico–that could translate into 1700+ violations of the Arms Export Control Act.

…Forced resignations, diversionary political rationales, debates about the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law—none of this speaks to the central question. Did ATF, under advisement of its political administrators, break the laws of the United States of America?

***

Update: F&F vanguard blogger David Codrea has another investigative scoop with extensive documents on how ATF/FBI directed Indiana crime gun sales to U.S. street gangs.

Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars wants to know what Chicago ATF head Andrew Traver knows. (My background column on Traver is here.)

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Categories: Barack Obama, Corruption, Democrats, Eric Holder, Feature Story, Public Officials

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