As Homeland Secretary Janet "Big Sis" Napolitano faces mounting pressure to answer for DHS' large solicitations and purchases of ammunition over the past year, the second of two reports looking at who is to blame in the gunrunning scheme known as Operation Fast and Furious is painting DHS operations in Arizona as inept, ignorant and mismanaged. Of course, top officials in DHS are exonerated, not that we're surprised, but one has to question that if the Arizona office is all of those things, how much more are the top officials who have been exonerated?
Richard Serrano writes, "Even as they lost scores of illegal firearms in their Fast and Furious operation, federal ATF agents asked their Border Patrol counterparts not to pursue criminal leads or track gun smuggling in southern Arizona so they could follow the firearms themselves, and senior Homeland Security agents 'complied and the leads were not investigated,' according to a new Department of Homeland Security inspector general's report."
"The report,… also said that a Homeland Security special agent on the border was collaborating with the ATF in Fast and Furious," Serrano continued, " but his 'senior leaders' in Arizona never read his updates about fundamental flaws with the failed gun tracking operation. Had they done so, Homeland Security officials could have tried to close down the operation before one of their Border Patrol agents, Brian Terry, was killed not far from Tucson."
The report also claims that top DHS officials didn't learn about Fast and Furious until after Terry was shot and killed in December of 2010 and two of the nearly 2,500 firearms were found at the scene of his murder. So understand something here. Operation Fast and Furious began in October 2009. The IG in this matter calls the Arizona DHS office inept, ignorant and mismanaged, but those in the Washington DHS office, the top officials that have been exonerated, claim they didn't know about an operation taking place for over a year? What exactly does that make them?
According to Charles K. Edwards, the deputy Homeland Security inspector general, said that DHS special agents only learned about Fast and Furious while they were conducting their own investigation into a Mexican gun smuggling ring. However BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) told these agents that the firearms were "related" to Fast and Furious and asked them to "refrain from further efforts to identify the smuggling ring's transportation cell." Top DHS agents in Phoenix then "agreed to the request."
Edwards then added that DHS officials attempted to get ATF to change their tactics in allowing guns to be illegally smuggled across the U.S./Mexico Border, but "ATF did not revise their strategy."
This is in complete opposition to what the ATF agents who blew the whistle on this entire thing have stated. In fact, those ATF agents on the ground knew something was out of place and constantly were appealing to the chain of command to correct the obvious problems with the operation, but all that followed were threats and terminations.
Fox News adds,
Further, the report said word of the gun-smuggling operation within DHS never traveled beyond Arizona -- and claimed Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were never informed of the role ICE played.
According to the report, on numerous occasions ICE and Border Patrol agents stopped vehicles smuggling guns to Mexico, but were instructed by the ATF and U.S. attorney's office to back off. Even after "suspects admitted to having transported weapons across the border five or six times," they were not arrested, and ATF did not "try to flip the suspects to get them to cooperate, which was a mistake," the report said.
The report was especially critical of senior management in Arizona, who oversaw the Fast and Furious case and assigned a full-time agent to the task force running the operation. That agent conducted surveillance, wrote and received reports, and was aware "gun-walking" -- or allowing the guns to go into Mexico -- "was against policy." But "senior leaders did not read (his) reports nor instruct him to change his methodology or activities."
The report did not name names. However, the Phoenix agent in charge then and now is Matt Allen, a highly regarded and long-time ICE agent who transferred to Arizona in 2008. It criticized Allen's use of the word "tangential" when describing ICE's role in Fast and Furious and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
"We question (Allen's) use of the word 'tangential'," the report reads. "Just a few weeks earlier, (the department described HSI agents as) fully involved. ... (Allen) should have provided ICE headquarters officials with a more thorough and clear account of the role his office had in the operation."
So the report won't name names or deal with the real players in Fast and Furious in any meaningful way, but will criticize an ICE agent for his use of a word?
"Senior DHS officials in Washington DC had no awareness of the methodology used by the task force to investigate Operation Fast and Furious until media reports were published in March 2011," the report read.
Robert Heyer, a spokesman for the Terry family, said that not only did the Office of the Inspector General not contact the family, but they have failed to hold anyone accountable.
"We are very disappointed with the quality and depth of the investigation," Heyer said. "The report says that Homeland Security personnel in Arizona all knew on December 15th that the weapons found at the murder scene were from (Fast and Furious). That information was passed to (headquarters), yet was never passed on to Secretary Napolitano," he said. "(Allen) had the opportunity to shut down the operation because of public safety concerns but he chose not to. How about holding DHS executives accountable for that decision."
This is exactly what I was thinking. Anyone remember the old phrase, "The Buck Stops Here"? Shouldn't that apply? There is no shame in this administration at all. One would think that those who are heading these agencies are either complete morons and incapable of managing their agents or they are liars. Quite possibly the issue is that they are both as has been evidenced throughout the first term of Barack Obama. In the end, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata will get no justice from this administration. Their families will only get a pat on the head, without so much as an apology. Those ultimately responsible will not so much as lose their jobs. It is utterly despicable and disgusting.