The Corner at National Review Online posted a story yesterday about some recent information that has come to light about Operation Fast and Furious. It seems that a lot of the testimony given to Congress disagrees with the documents given to Congress. National Review commented on the latest example.
The following email shows from ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait in July 2010 to Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:
“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”
This email and other information was posted at CBS News yesterday.
The article at The Corner shows that Mark Chait attended a meeting about Operation Fast and Furious in January 2010 and was probably briefed on the Operation before that. So what is the point of all this?
The Corner reports:
According to an August 2011 press release from Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee, in testimony Chait “stated that [he] did not learn about the tactics used in [Fast and Furious] or about the specific concerns of the line agents until earlier this year.”
Mr. Chait’s memory (at least according to the information given) is off by a year.
The CBS News article concludes:
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. “There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”
On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.” So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.
“In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Issa told CBS News.
Has anyone really thought through what limits on who can own guns would accomplish? Has it occurred to the government bureaucrats that even if guns were totally illegal criminals would still find a way to get them. That would leave criminals armed and innocent people unarmed. Do we really want to do that?
The guns that were sold in Operation Fast and Furious were sold because of the intervention of the ATF. The article at CBS News cites gun dealers who were uncomfortable with being asked to sell the guns, but were told by the ATF to continue to sell them. Frankly, I think the gun dealers were more conscientious than the government in attempting to protect American citizens.