This just in from John Solomon at Center for Public Integrity. Grassley asks for independent investigator to probe ATF.
Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded Tuesday that an independent watchdog be used to investigate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives decision to let hundreds of guns fall into the hands of straw buyers for suspected Mexican weapons traffickers in hopes of making a bigger criminal case.
Grassley took issue with Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision last week to ask the acting inspector general of the Justice Department to conduct the probe, saying the department’s internal watchdog might have a conflict of interest in reviewing the controversial program that was uncovered by the Center for Public Integrity and CBS News.
The senator cited several possible conflicts, noting the IG’s office failed to act on the allegations when they were first brought to its attention by frontline agents and that an earlier report by the IG that criticized ATF’s past approach to investigating border state gun trafficking may have provided the impetus for the new investigative strategy that allowed suspected straw buyers to walk off with weapons from gun dealers. In addition, Grassley noted, the Justice watchdog’s top job is vacant since Inspector General Glenn Fine’s retirement, leaving the office without a confirmed presidential appointee.
“Without a greater level of independence, it will be difficult for the public to have faith in the impartiality and integrity of the result. Therefore, I request that the Acting Inspector General recuse her office and that a disinterested inspector general’s office be selected to conduct the review,” Grassley wrote the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the umbrella organization that oversees the conduct of federal inspectors general.
Grassley also requested that the probe be expanded from Holder’s request to include “the circumstances surrounding false and misleading statements to Senate Judiciary Committee staff and to me in response to questions about these allegations over the past several weeks.”
When Grassley first inquired about ATF’s tactics, Justice officials reported back to him that they would never knowingly let a straw buyer walk off with a gun if they thought it was going across the border and took every action to interdict weapons headed to Mexico.
ATF officials, however, later told the Center that they let more than 1,700 guns flow to straw buyers with the expectation they might cross the border or end up in the hands of criminal while the agency tried to build a criminal case.
In addition to the probe requested by Holder, the ATF is asking an outside panel to also review its tactics in the war on Mexican gun trafficking.
Senator Grassley's own press release here.
Pdf of letter here.
Also, we have Dave Workman "Seattle Times wakes up to ‘Gunrunner’ scandal…sort of."
Then Anthony Martin observes "The official spin begins on ATF/DOJ gun smuggling scandal."
Kurt Hofmann asks the very good question "Why should any gun dealer cooperate with BATFE?"
T.L. Davis takes us "Beyond Gunwalker."
Perhaps Mr. Calderon wasn't too worried about these weapons coming across the border because most of them, the semi-automatic type, were being used by Mexican gangs in AMERICA. Now, we, us, you and me, need to come to grips with the idea that our president, Barack Obama, doesn't seem to care that these illegal weapons that have gone down to Mexico with the AID of the ATF, have done their killing on the south side of the border and have been U-turned back toward the citizens of the United States. The flood of semi-automatic weapons coming from Mexico to the US should be the concern here, at least on a level equal to that of the fact that they are going south.
Yet, what is the response from the big meeting in Washington DC over the weekend? Where is Obama on this issue?
Then David Codrea has these important items:
This NSSF blog post with the comment: "A link to Gunwalker? Nope, No Gunwalker Here... These people are worse than useless. They're collaborators."
New White House Press Secretary audition.
"White House pleads ignorance to ‘Project Gunwalker’"
Some ‘illegal’ U.S. guns being used to defend Mexican lives
“To avoid falling victim of a vicious drug war, some resort to taking up arms,” Adriana Gómez Licón reports in the El Paso Times.
Teachers, ranchers, town officials, business owners and lawyers in rural towns of northwest Chihuahua near New Mexico have armed themselves.
And here’s the noteworthy part:
Legal or not, they are ready to use their guns for protection.
Mexico is a perfect real-world laboratory for looking at what happens when the gungrabbers get their wish list fulfilled, and anti-gun policies are enacted at a societal level—the old adage that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns (aside from the military and police, that is, the “Only Ones”)—proves out. Which leaves citizens who simply wish to protect themselves the terrible consequences of breaking the law and facing life-destroying penalties:
But in Mexico, it is close to impossible to obtain a permit to carry a gun. People need a license just to own any firearm. The process is burdensome. The punishment for illegal possession is severe, including prison terms of up to seven years.
There has been speculation that some of the guns going south from the United States to Mexico end up in the hands of citizens intent on defending themselves and their families regardless of the risks. With the increasing disregard of prohibitions in favor of protection documented in Licón’s story, that hardly seems a stretch.