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To the Editor:
On Sunday, November 27 2011, the Arizona Republic newspaper published a fairly lengthy story about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) gun-running debacle code-named "Operation Fast and Furious". Reporter Dennis Wagner obviously put in a lot of leg work and research on the piece.
However, upon closer perusal, what soon became evident was that many details were left out of the article. In many ways, the article appears as though it was written by the press department of the U.S. Justice Department. The DOJ/BATFE "party line" is parroted so often in the article that it leaves me wondering about editorial bias in what is ostensibly a news piece.
1. In the time-worn liberal tactic of "Blame Bush", the article repeatedly tries to connect "Operation Fast and Furious" with the previous Bush administration’s "Operation Wide Receiver". Nowhere in the Republic’s article is it mentioned that the Mexican government was a full partner in "Wide Receiver". In contrast, the Mexicans knew nothing about the debacle known as "Fast and Furious".
2. The article repeatedly parrots the BATFE/DOJ party line assertion that "Fast and Furious" was a "rogue" scheme that originated solely in the Phoenix office of the BATFE. The Obama administration -- specifically, Eric Holder -- supposedly knew nothing about it. If it is true that Holder knew nothing about it, this bespeaks an incompetence that should cost him his job. If he in fact knew about the operation, he should be indicted.
3. There is a strange mixed message in the article regarding the death of border agent Brian Terry. From the article, it appears as if the two firearms found at the scene were NOT guns that had been allowed to "walk" in "Fast and Furious". If the guns were not BATFE connected, why was this sad event so powerful in the minds of some BATFE agents that they actually broke ranks and became whistle blowers?
4. The article makes no mention of the fact that some of the "straw purchasers" of Fast and Furious were actually undercover agents of the BATFE and FBI or that they bought the guns with U.S. taxpayer money. Also conveniently omitted was the fact that the FBI apparently interfered with the "National Criminal Instant Background Check System" (NICS) in order to ALLOW known felons to make the gun buys at Arizona gun stores! Similarly, when store owners reported what they believed to be suspicious sales of multiple rifles purchased by the same party with cash, they were explicitly told by BATFE to allow the suspicious purchases to proceed.
On the positive side, I was pleasantly surprised at how fairly the two bloggers who broke the "Fast and Furious" scandal were treated by reporter Dennis Wagner. It’s good that these two righteous Americans are getting the credit that is due them. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has already bestowed upon them our "David and Goliath Award". When the history of "Fast and Furious" is finally exposed for the travesty it was, these two gentlemen will make Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame look like first-year journalism school hacks.
Let’s not forget that "Fast and Furious" was also a blatant scheme to plant evidence that would validate outrageously dishonest claims regarding the volumes of U.S. retail sourced weapons turning up in Mexico at crime scenes. While the article debunked this "90 percent Myth", it omitted the legitimate gun trace statistic: 17 percent. And that 17 percent includes guns effectively sent across the border by Fast and Furious. How low would the number be had our government not joined in?
Also, I’d like to point out an oddity that no one seems to notice. Your article, as have others, nonchalantly mentions US guns "found" at murder scenes in Mexico. Is there some rule of honor in Mexican murders that requires dropping a gun by the victim’s body? If these guns are so precious to the cartels, why don’t the murderers take them when they leave the scene? It oddly appears as if the shooter really didn’t care about the expense of the weapon -- that it was more important that it be known which weapon was used in the murder. How convenient that up until "Fast and Furious" was halted, the killers could count on the BATFE to ship a replacement gun to Mexico for them.
Blessings of Shalom,
Rabbi Dovid Bendory
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Rabbi Bendory is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.
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