And it was criminal.
The vast majority of news coverage still calls it a "botched operation" where weapons "slipped across" the border and were "lost," but the fact is the weapons were intentionally allowed across the border with no expectation of tracking them until they were recovered at crime scenes, and there is evidence that tax dollars paid for at least some of them.
Less mentioned are the allegations that "Fast & Furious" was not an exceptional program, that there were other, similar programs operated out of Texas and Florida, with the Florida operation moving weapons to MS-13 in Honduras called "Operation Castaway." Even less mentioned is the allegation that the U.S. State Dept., through its "direct commercial sales" program - the same program that is used to provide weapons and materiel to friendly governments like Mexico - provided military weapons directly to the Zetas cartel with no straw-purchase middlemen whatsoever.
And now it is reported that over the three years of Obama's first term, "direct commercial sales" to the Mexican government have increased significantly from the Bush era, some ten times greater in 2009 over 2006, and that a significant portion of those weapons have ended up "diverted" into cartel hands.
Well "Fast & Furious" was responsible for something on the close order of 2,500 weapons. The (admitted) "direct commercial sales" diversions are on the order of 9,000 weapons.
And the .gov hasn't released information on how many weapons ostensibly went to the Mexican government through the "direct commercial sales" route in 2010 and so far this year.
In one of the few posts I did on F&F, I quoted an op-ed from the local alt.weekly that postulated:
A high-ranking member of the Sinaloa cartel has testified that his organization received from U.S. and Mexican authorities guarantees of immunity and all the weapons it would need to crush its competitors — an ongoing initiative that's resulted in an incredible escalation of violence in Mexico over the past few years.And now we have email evidence that the massive multiple-sales of arms to known straw-purchasers by Arizona gun dealers at the encouragement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives were to be used as an excuse for more gun control regulations.
It's quite possible that "Fast and Furious" was not a sting at all, but was intended to aid the Sinaloans in their efforts to recapture the quieter "good ol' days" when they enjoyed a virtual monopoly.
As one commenter put it,
The more the news reveals about Fast & Furious (& Handgrenades!) the more that I think: Chicago Way. The corruption is so thick you can't flush enough toilets to get it down to the gulf of Mexico.In high-level politics, there's never just one reason anything happens, there are layers. Heads need to (figuratively) roll over this. Enough across the border have already done so. But there need to be many high .gov officials in prison cells over this.
Of course there won't be. Just like Rod Blagojevich won't spend 14 years in prison. After November, 2012, I doubt you'll hear another peep about Fast & Furious from the legacy media. It'll be as though it never happened. Eric Holder might - might - not be Attorney General, but that's the most that will happen.