Mexican President Demands Apology for “Fast and Furious” Scandal
Written by Steve Byas
Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) called for an investigation on Friday into the American government’s gun-running operation — nicknamed Fast and Furious — that took place during the Barack Obama administration, which Obrador said violated his country’s national sovereignty and led to the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans at the hands or those weapons.
Operation Fast and Furious, created with the stated intention of helping the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) fight Mexican drug cartels active inside the United States, actually wound up putting thousands of powerful firearms into the hands of those same cartels. At least one American, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, was murdered with weapons provided in the scheme by the ATF under the Obama administration.
During a Friday press conference in Mexico City, Obrador demanded an apology from the United States, along with an investigation into the operation. “What seems serious to me is that a violation of our sovereignty was carried out, a secret operation, and that Mexicans were killed with these weapons.”
Obrador asked, “How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws. We have to shine light on this so that an action of this type will never be carried out again.”
The Obrador government’s Foreign Affairs minister, Marcelo Ebrard, has sent a diplomatic note to Washington, asking for information on the gun-running program.
“There is still time for the U.S. to apologize,” Obrador insisted.
The problem is that the present administration of President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were not in office at the time. As mentioned above, the gun-running operation took place during the tenure of then-President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder. Considering that the Obama administration and Attorney General Holder stonewalled Congress’ efforts to investigate the scandal throughout Obama’s entire second term in office, it is highly unlikely they are going to offer any sort of apology at this late date.
Insofar as the Trump administration goes, it is highly likely that if there were any investigation announced now, it would be denounced by the Democratic Party and their lackeys in the media as mere political posturing.
Fast and Furious was launched in November 2009 out of the Phoenix field office of the ATF. Guns were purchased by drug-cartel straw purchasers inside the United States, and were then allowed to disappear over the border into Mexico. Purportedly, the ATF would then track the guns, leading them into high ranks of the Mexican drug cartels. The guns certainly made it across the southern border of the United States, but no effort was ever made by the ATF to trace the guns.
Instead, the guns were used in hundreds of murders inside Mexico. For example, in the fall of 2010, the brother of the former attorney general of the Mexican state of Chihuahua was murdered with guns purchased via the Fast and Furious program. On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Terry was shot from behind and bled to death near Rio Rico, Arizona. Two of the guns used in the shootout were guns provided by Fast and Furious.
Attorney General Holder claimed that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious, only learning about it when it became publicly known in 2011. But documents released in October of that year revealed that Holder had been briefed about the scheme at least as early as July 2010. Even earlier than that, in January 2010, personnel from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, run by Holder’s Justice Department, had begun assisting ATF in the program.
Amazingly, ATF officials had even conversed about using the sale of the guns under Fast and Furious as a way to push through additional gun controls, according to e-mails unearthed in late 2011. The ATF had been pushing for a new regulation that would make gun shops report sales of multiple rifles or “long guns,” i.e,, the very sales that ATF had orchestrated to demonstrate the need for additional gun reporting requirements.
When Congress issued a subpoena for documents pertaining to the now-controversial program, Holder refused to turn them over. President Obama backed him up, claiming executive privilege. This is odd, considering that Obama had denied any involvement whatsoever in Fast and Furious. Holder was then held to be in contempt of the House of Representatives.
It is not known exactly how many Mexicans — and Americans — have died because of Fast and Furious. When Nadir Soofi, a Muslim terrorist, attempted to attack a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas in 2015, he used a gun originally part of the sales made in Fast and Furious.
President Obrador suggested that officials with the CIA, the FBI, and the DEA should all be investigated over the program. That is certainly a good idea, as is his idea that Mexico receive an apology about the murder and mayhem caused by the scheme.
The investigation should be launched by the Trump administration, while the apology should come from former President Obama and former Attorney General Holder, and the apology should not only be made to the Mexican president and the people of Mexico, but also to the American people, especially the family of agent Brian Terry.
Steve Byas is a university instructor in history and government and the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He may be contacted at [email protected].
Courtesy of The New American