Conceived by the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — a Justice Department agency — Fast and Furious began in November 2009 after calls by Justice officials to focus resources on Mexican drug cartel leaders rather than low-level straw buyers. At its core, the operation was intended to allow straw buyers to supply drug cartels with firearms in the hope that ATF could identify cartel members after the guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico were traced to their original place of purchase.
This program, which Holder has finally acknowledged was “fundamentally flawed,” occurred with the knowledge and approval of Justice. Tragically, however, the program’s guns have been linked to numerous murders in Mexico. The operation was only halted after the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry a year ago in the Arizona desert. The two guns recovered at the murder scene both traced back to Fast and Furious.
So the plan was for the BATFE to sell guns to cartel members, who would use them to kill people. Then the cartel guys would hopefully leave the guns at the crime scenes, so the cops could trace the guns back to the cartel members and arrest them. That’s how it was supposed to, and did, work.
How then does Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., preface the program working exactly as expected with “Tragically, however?” This isn’t the normal case of government programs having unintended consequences, unless you count people getting pissed off when your program works exactly as expected as an unintended consequence.