Operation “Fast and Furious” The California connection.


Anyone want to dare to suggest, given that all the decisions made in the Phoenix “Fast and Furious” were made in San Fransisco (can you say, Ninth Circuit Court?) and Los Angeles that the FBI/ATF/DOJ in California didn’t do all the exact same things that they did in Phoenix? Have you been to California lately?

2009
February
Phoenix

 Developed a strategy of intelligence-lead policing whereby the Field Intelligence Group will analyze and disseminate leads, as the point of contact for other field divisions and agencies.  Two agents each dedicated full time to the Phoenix and Tucson OCDETF.  Border liaison officers in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma, Arizona.  Embedded a representative from the Mexico Attorney General’s office (CENAPI).*  Conducted a conference call with Los Angeles and San Francisco Field Divisions.  Industry Operations would target high-risk gun dealers for inspections based on risk factors found through intelligence.

Los Angeles
Field Intelligence Group will analyze information and leads to assign to field offices for investigation.  Conference calls will be conducted between the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix field divisions for coordination and information sharing between field divisions.  Border liaison officer in San Diego, California.  Firearms trafficking group (San Diego I) works with local law enforcement, ICE, the FBI, and through the border liaison, Mexican law enforcement  Will coordinate with U.S. Attorneys and county District Attorneys to address issues in cases so fast and successful prosecutions can occur

Los Angeles Field Division
Special Agent in Charge
Assistant Special Agent in Charge (x2)
Director of Industry Operations
Area Supervisor
Industry Operations Investigator
Field Intelligence Group Supervisor
Intelligence Research Specialist
Industry Operations Intelligence Specialist
Tracing Specialist, Regional Crime Gun Center
Group Supervisor, Glendale
Resident Agent in Charge, San Diego
Resident Agent in Charge, El Centro
Special Agent, Glendale
Special Agent, San Diego
Border Liaison Officer

As the PDF document released by U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Evaluation and Inspections Division makes very clear there was a very substantial coordination of the “Fast and Furious” operation in Phoenix by the San Fransisco and Los Angeles of the FBI/ATF/DOJ.

There own statements are damning.

Yet, we found weaknesses in how ATF implemented Project Gunrunner as a multi-agency effort. Although, as noted above, ATF has increased some program activities during Project Gunrunner, ATF’s focus remains largely on inspections of gun dealers and investigations of straw purchasers, rather than on higher-level traffickers, smugglers, and the ultimate recipients of the trafficked guns.4

For example, we found that 68 percent of Project Gunrunner cases are single-defendant cases, and some ATF managers discourage field personnel from conducting the types of complex conspiracy investigations that target higher-level members of trafficking rings. Federal prosecutors told us that directing the efforts of Project Gunrunner toward building larger, multi-defendant conspiracy cases would better disrupt trafficking organizations.
Moreover, although ATF has had a long-stated intent to make fuller use of the resources of the Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program to conduct more complex conspiracy investigations, it has not done so. This is in part due to ATF’s focus on conducting fast investigations and also due to misunderstandings among ATF field personnel about what kinds of cases are eligible for OCDETF and whether OCDETF cases are counted as Project Gunrunner cases by ATF’s internal performance metrics.

4 According to ATF, a “straw purchase” occurs when the actual buyer of a firearm uses another person, “the straw purchaser,” to execute the paperwork necessary to purchase a firearm from a gun dealer. The actual buyer is often prohibited from purchasing the gun. The straw purchaser violates federal law by making a false statement with respect to the information required to be kept in the gun dealer’s records. According to ATF, straw purchasing is one of the most frequent methods used to illegally acquire guns.

ATF’s primary geographic focus for Project Gunrunner is in the four ATF field divisions that provide coverage for the almost 2,000-mile border with Mexico. These four field divisions are headquartered in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

As you can clearly see here, the tactics employed in Phoenix were not exclusive to Phoenix.

48 Agents in the Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix Field Divisions also reported that in addition to analyzing some of the same sources that the Field Intelligence Group uses, a primary source of their investigative leads was local gun dealers who call them to report suspicious activity and confidential informants, a type of source to which Field Intelligence Groups would not have access.

Nor was it simply the tactics that they shared, it was likewise a deployment of resources.

We also noted that in some locations, ATF supervisors have assigned few or no staff to OCDETF task forces operating in their areas. For example, in McAllen, Texas – a center of firearms trafficking activity where ATF has two enforcement groups, including one dedicated to Project Gunrunner – ATF has only two agents in the OCDETF satellite office. In San Diego, where ATF has three enforcement teams, one of which is dedicated to Project Gunrunner, only one agent is assigned to the OCDETF task force. In Laredo, Texas, ATF has no agents assigned to the OCDETF task force.

For those not quite seeing where this is going yet. The largest international border crossing in North America is the San Ysidro/Tijuana crossing. The phenomenal increase in gun related violence in Tijuana during the “Fast and Furious” operation suggests that California’s involvement in “Fast and Furious” went considerably beyond mere conference calls and tactical and strategic coordination.

As you can see in the following chart Joint Operation Tijuana had no effect on the number of murders –even thought the army confiscated the weapons of the police and they had to arm themselves with slingshots. Then there was a rise in the number of homicides around New Year in 2008, an astoundingly steep rise that started around the second half of September 2008 and lasted until the start of December, and yet another steep rise at the end of 2009.

Not only did homicides increase, but also other types of crime (data for all of Baja California):

2007 2008 2009 2010
Violent robberies 8,920 11,833 13,722 11,806
Robberies to banking institutions 13 52 98 41
Kidnappings 20 115 103 79

To believe that this massive spike in violence in Tijuana had nothing what so ever to do with the California version of “Fast and Furious” would require as Hillary Clinton once infamously said, a willful suspension of disbelief.

Unless the Fifth Column Treasonous Media and the Obama Administration get their way and the entire Gunwalker/Fast and Furious scandal simply evaporates from public view and no further investigation of it’s true scope is undertaken then there can be little doubt that there is an entire chapter of this scandal waiting to be uncovered i9n California.

If on the other hand the Gunwalker/Fast and Furious scandal receives the aggressive rigorous investigation that it genuinely demands the only advice worth heeding in California is, Buckle your seatbelts it’s going to be a very hairy bumpy ride.

Edit: For another very interesting take on this scandal see Gunwalker and the budget: Crises in the integrity of government

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2 thoughts on “Operation “Fast and Furious” The California connection.

  1. Pingback: The never ending corruption story. | The Wilderness of Mirrors

  2. Pingback: California » Blog Archive » Operation “Fast and Furious” The California connection › 2.0: The …

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