With Attorney General Eric Holder being cited for contempt by a Congressional committee, and with President Obama asserting executive privilege to prevent disclosure of key documents, leading to speculation of a cover up, Operation Fast and Furious is again in the public eye.
Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration's "gun-walking program," was an operation run out of the State of Arizona through which the federal government purposefully allowed about 2,000 guns to be "walked" into Mexico and placed into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The alleged purpose was to track the weapons' movement and dismantle the cartels through criminal prosecutions, which never happened. Instead, the guns have been connected with many crimes and murders.
Most of the Fast and Furious guns have been used in Mexico, but some have been used by criminals in this country. At least eleven crimes in our country have been connected to guns that were provided through the Administration's Fast and Furious program, including the murder of Agent Brian Terry of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Agent Brian Terry Killed In Arizona
Forty-year old Brian Terry was a Michigan native. Before becoming a Border Patrol Agent, he had been a United States Marine and had served as a police officer in Michigan. In the Border Patrol, he was a member of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit. He proudly served and protected our country.
Terry died on December 15, 2010, near Peck Canyon in Arizona, about twenty miles north of the Mexican border. This part of Arizona is used by Mexican drug cartels for their smuggling operations. Terry and other agents were attempting to arrest a group of armed suspects. A gun fight occurred. Terry was shot and killed. Weapons the federal government had provided through Fast and Furious were found at the scene.
Brian Terry's family still suffers his loss. Adding to their suffering is the lack of information about the facts surrounding his death. The lack of information stems from the Obama Administration's persistent refusal to cooperate fully with Congress's Fast and Furious investigation, which should provide answers about Terry's death.
After the House Committee cited Holder with contempt on June 20, 2012, Brian Terry's family issued the following statement:
Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama's assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth. Our son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation. For more than 18 months, we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability. The documents sought by the House Oversight Committee and associated with Operation Fast and Furious should be produced and turned over to the Committee. Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious.
Fast and Furious began in the Fall of 2009 and ended soon after Brian Terry's murder in December 2010.
Once guns were knowingly allowed to "walk" into Mexico from Arizona, the crime rate in Mexico began to skyrocket. For example, in March 2010, the Obama Administration allowed 359 guns to get into the hands of Mexican criminals. That same month, there were 958 killings in Mexico, the most since 2005. Fast and Furious guns were found at several of those crime scenes.
The Mexican Attorney General has confirmed that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with Fast and Furious weapons. How many more people have been, or will be, killed because of Fast and Furious is unknown. The Obama Administration cannot account for hundreds of the guns it allowed to "walk" into Mexico. Those guns will be used for years to come by criminals here and in Mexico.
Fast and Furious may not be the only "gun walking" program run by the Obama Administration. There may have been others, including one run out of the State of Texas, which led to the death of another law enforcement agent.
Special Agent Jaime Zapata Killed In Mexico
Special Agent Jaime Zapata of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was a thirty-two year old native of Brownsville, Texas. He had been an ICE Agent for four years. Prior to that, he had been a U.S. Border Patrol Agent for one year. He proudly served and protected this country.
In 2011, he was on assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. On February 15, 2011, he and a fellow agent were driving a vehicle with diplomatic plates in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. They were forced off the road by members of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel. The agents, still in the vehicle, identified themselves as diplomats. The drug cartel members opened fire, killing Zapata and seriously wounding his partner.
Zapata and his partner were shot with weapons that appear to be part of another federal government "gun walking" operation, similar to Fast and Furious, but run out of Texas. More information is needed about whether there was a separate gun walking operation and about Zapata's murder, but the Obama Administration continues to stonewall concerning that investigation as well. As with the Terry family, the Zapata family is waiting for answers about the facts surrounding the death of their loved one.
In the meantime, the Zapata family has decided to take legal action. On the same day that Holder was cited for contempt and President Obama asserted executive privilege, it was reported that the Zapata family has filed a $25 million wrongful death claim, which is the precursor to a lawsuit, against the federal government for negligence leading to Zapata's death.
Many questions still remain about the Obama Administration's gun-walking operation(s) and about the deaths of Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata. Fortunately, there are those in Congress and in some media outlets working to get answers (the liberal, entrenched media has largely ignored the scandal) despite resistance from the Obama Administration.
Fast and Furious appears to be turning into President Obama's Watergate, especially now that a cover up is suspected. But, unlike the actual Watergate scandal, there are countless murders associated with this scandal.
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