The goal of the now-notorious scheme known as Fast and Furious was to actually have the Mexican drug cartels use the weapons in the commission of crimes, NRA President David Keene claimed on Monday.
Writing in an Op-Ed in the Washington Times
, he said that was the only possible rationale for the plan to allow powerful weapons to fall into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels.
“The media continually refer to Fast and Furious as a botched operation, but the law enforcement purpose of the scheme never made much sense,” Keene wrote. “It was never designed to enable anyone on either side of the border to trace firearms.
"Guns simply were handed over to criminal gangs so U.S. officials later could see how many of them turned up at crime scenes. For this to happen, they had to hope the guns would actually be used by the cartels. Gang members don't throw away their guns for no reason, but when they use them in a crime, they discard them so authorities can't tie them to the crime.
“The American guns began showing up all over Mexico as civilians and criminals alike were gunned down. When one was found at the site of a fatal gunbattle that left U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry dead, the agent running the show reportedly dismissed his colleague's horror at what had happened by observing, ‘You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.’"
Keene also noted that among “the inquiries congressional investigators have spent 18 months conducting is whether administration officials attempted to use the fact that the guns were showing up at crime scenes as a means of building support for new gun-control laws.”
Keene wrote that who dreamed up Fast and Furious is less important than what happened when top officials in the White House and Justice Department learned about it. He noted that the administration tried to deny the charges, discredit those who first brought them, laid the blame on bureaucrats and gun dealers, and finally on Obama’s predecessor.
“Obama administration officials must remind each other daily that they will never have to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong on their watch as long as they can find some way to blame their troubles on George W. Bush,” Keene wrote, referring to a short-lived Bush program known as Operation Wide Receiver.
“The Bush-era program involved a few hundred guns and was designed and run by U.S. and Mexican agents who planted electronic tracking devices in the guns so the agents could follow the guns on both sides of the border,” he added. “The idea was to compile evidence that could be used to prosecute gang kingpins.
“A few of the guns vanished, however, as some of the batteries powering the implanted tracking devices failed, and in a few cases, gang members discovered and destroyed the devices. As soon as this was reported to Washington, the whole operation was canceled to prevent more guns from falling into the wrong hands. A vast majority of the guns involved were traced and retrieved; no one was killed; and the project was shelved as a bad idea.”
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