Sunday, November 27, 2011

Well whaddaya know. Somebody figured it out. "Behind the fall of Operation Fast and Furious -- Motives, allegiances add to saga intrigue."

The Arizona Republic tries to understand the improbable tale of the Coalition of Willing Lilliputians.

If this story follows previous ones, this will also appear in tomorrow's USA Today. Perhaps they'll find a consistent spelling of my name by then.

The initial story line of Fast and Furious was about outrage -- anger that guns, let out of sight, had been used in crimes. But the backstory of the investigation is one of hidden motives, curious contradictions and strange allegiances, both among those who organized the effort and those who exposed it. . .


A growing number of ATF employees wanted to expose Fast and Furious. The question: How?

Dobyns and Cefalu began networking with two of the most prominent and prolific Second Amendment bloggers in America.

David Codrea, an Ohio-based writer, is field editor for GUNS Magazine and an author on a website known as "The War on Guns: Notes From the Resistance."

Mike Vanderboegh runs a website, Sipsey Street Irregulars, which he identifies as a gathering place for the 3 percent of Americans willing to fight for the right to bear arms.

Vanderboegh and Codrea, longtime friends, this year received Soldier of Fortune Magazine's Second Amendment Freedom Award and the David and Goliath Award from Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

Dobyns says he turned to the bloggers because of a shared animus toward ATF administrators. "Do they have an agenda? Of course they do," he said. "But it's my experience that they're not anti-ATF; they're anti-bad ATF."

Codrea and Vanderboegh began churning out essays on Fast and Furious, even giving the operation its sardonic nickname, "Project Gunwalker." They joined forces with other bloggers, government employees and gun dealers in what Vanderboegh calls "a coalition of willing Lilliputians."

Their reports, frequently quoting anonymous sources, exposed the dubious investigative strategy but went much further, speculating that the White House was involved. A typical posting by Vanderboegh carried the headline, "... Obama's Gunwalker Was a Deliberate Conspiracy Vs. the 2nd Amendment."

That hypothesis has gone viral in the gun-rights blogosphere. Proponents, noting that Obama was endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence during the 2008 campaign, claim that high-placed officials in Washington, D.C., devised a plan to flood Mexico with firearms as justification for a crackdown on gun ownership. . .

At a news conference in late January 2011, federal authorities announced indictments against 20 gun-trafficking suspects, including the man who bought weapons found at Agent Terry's death scene.

Newell, then the special agent in charge for Arizona, said those who arm the cartels "have as much blood on their hands as the criminals that use them."

Asked if the ATF knowingly let guns "walk," Newell answered, "Hell, no."

Codrea, the anti-ATF blogger, says outrage swelled because of that response, plus a growing sense of urgency: People were getting killed on both sides of the border, and ATF whistle-blowers were risking their careers by criticizing an agency that has a reputation for retaliation. But mainstream media -- lacking on-the-record sources -- resisted publication of undocumented claims about Fast and Furious.

Bloggers turned to politicians, making calls and e-mailing members of Congress.

Codrea wrote an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, begging for an inquiry. "We had to bang pots and pans because we were small fry," he says.

Vanderboegh sent e-mails to politicians for two weeks, with no success. Finally, he says, he wrote to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., threatening to publish an accusation that the senator was "complicit in the cover-up." Within hours, Vanderboegh says, he heard from Sessions' staff and was channeled to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

A congressional investigation was under way.

"We were the midwives of this scandal because nobody else would touch it and the agents were out there, twisting in the wind, willing to tell the truth at great risk to themselves," Vanderboegh boasted in a subsequent Internet post.

In interviews, Vanderbeogh and Codrea chuckle at the irony of government agents relying on their critics to find a congressional audience.

"It's so improbable that ATF guys would come to us, the Second Amendment advocates," Vanderbeogh says. "But we realized we did have common enemies in the ATF hierarchy."

Vanderbeogh says politicians were hesitant, unable to believe whistle-blowers, afraid to go after the Obama administration with such a bizarre tale.

"They were hunting some very, very dangerous game," he says of congressional investigators. "This was something that could turn on them and eat them."

As more agents came forward, some with corroborating records, Republican lawmakers became attentive -- and more assertive in going after an executive branch run by Democrats. . .

Many have suggested that the ATF should be abolished.

Codrea and Vanderboegh say that last option would be a mistake because firearms enforcement might become the province of a larger, more powerful agency such as the FBI -- difficult to attack politically.

"I very much prefer the devil that I know in rehab to the devil that I don't know," Vanderbeogh says.


Ernest said...

Heh. A stellar approach.

The more info out there on this the better off we are.

Pericles said...

The NSM still have not figured out the difference between "wide Receiver" and "Fast and Furious".

The ATF stopped "Wide Receiver" when it became obvious it was not accomplishing the desired result, and the ATF actually tried to trace the chain of custody, including Mexican authorities.

"Fast and Furious" continued until it became public knowledge, and if that had not happened, we can assume it would still be an active operation today. Therefore, we can conclude that "Fast and Furious" was accomplishing its objectives until the day it stopped.

exrepia03 said...

Jim Ross Lightfoot
Member of Congress (ret)
Lifetime NRA Member

As a brief history, some of you will remember the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Tx, April 19, 1993. After the flames died down, a good and honorable man, Steve Higgins,then Director of ATF, was scapegoated by the press and the Congress. Mr. Higgins stepped down as Director. His staff had lied and mislead him regarding the actions on the ground at Waco.

Mr. Higgins took full responsibility for his less than honorable commanders. I can attest personally, to Mr. Higgins honor and reputation, as he received a phone call in my presence regarding the situation in Waco prior to the raid that went so wrong. I heard him tell the person on the other end of the phone that the raid was to be cancelled, called off, taken down if there was even the slightest hint that the element of surprise had been lost.

We all now know that his commanders lied to him and went ahead with the raid.

In the following months John Magaw, Director at the United States Secret Service (USSS) was named as the new Director of ATF. At the time I was Chairman of the Treasury, Postal and General Government Sub-committee on Appropriations (TPS). Senator Dennis DeConcini from Arizona was my counterpart in the U.S. Senate. The three of us rebuilt ATF into a clean, lean and honest law enforcement agency. That tradition was carried forward by Director Buckles upon the retirement of Director Magaw.

However, things have deteriorated to a point where Waco looks like a runny nose compared to the sickness that now envelopes the higher echelon of the agency. ATF has not had a permanent Director for over six years.

Every organization has a few bad apples in the barrel. Without strong, positive, mission oriented leadership the bad apples at ATF have tainted everyone in the organization and are taking it down a path never intended by the Congress or anyone else that has an ounce of "protect and serve" in their veins.

Add to this the growing evidence that the Obama Administration is using ATF to forward their anti-gun ownership agenda. To wit; AG Holder made a rousing speech for the need of more and stronger gun laws, siting a so-called "river of iron" flowing into Mexico. That "river of iron" did not exist, so under his Department of Justice (DOJ) the river was created through a program known as Fast and Furious. Some 2000 plus weapons were allowed to "walk" across the US border into the hands of Mexican Drug Cartels with no tracing, follow up investigations or any semblance of legitimate law enforcement procedures.

As a result US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata are dead, murdered by Mexican Cartels using Fast and Furious provided guns. Add to this terrible list, hundreds of innocent Mexican citizens gunned down in the street when caught between warring Cartel factions.

Today ATF needs a total rebuild, elimination of the bad apples and full support by the Congress of the good, dedicated law enforcement people in the organization.

You can help make this happen. Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley have been holding a series of hearings regarding Fast and Furious. Please take a moment to email, write or phone your Member of Congress and ask them to be supportive of the Issa/Grassley effort. You can find your Congressman's contact info at and your Senator at

Last week I wrote an article entitled "Indict Holder" and circulated it to the press and Congress. Even though it was Thanksgiving, to date I have received responses from over 50 Members of Congress or their staff. Yesterday, I wrote and circulated a follow on piece, "ATF and DOJ Break the Law".

If you don't hear from me check the nearest river for floating bodies.

"Indict Holder" at:

"ATF and DOJ Break the Law":