Larry Pratt Interview on ATF 'Gunwalker' Scandal

Paul Velte patriot at io.com
Wed Mar 30 16:58:09 CDT 2011


Larry Pratt of GOA is interviewed in the link below regarding the (latest) ATF scandal pushing guns into Mexico.  Notably, he says that the cover story from ATF is total hogwash, (i.e., they were 'tracing' the guns for a sting operation) since there is no way allowing the guns into Mexico could aid or assist in making cases on the Mexican drug cartels since ATF has no way to trace guns to anyone after they enter Mexico, and further, they had no permission from Mexican authorities to do so.  CBS reports that the Mexican Government has denied any knowledge of such a 'sting operation' and is outraged by that claim.   Remember that last year, the Obama administration was claiming 90% of Mexican crime guns were from the US...   It seems to this observer that there is no other rational conclusion but that ATF was actively promoting the very problem this administration needed to 'solve' with more restrictive gun legislation here at home.  This is highly criminal and we should use this as a means to sunset this dangerous, unnecessary, criminally rogue agency.

Here is the interview link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TlV7I9bByQ

Paul Velte

More news on this developing story can be found below:



http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2011/03/kurt-hofmann-project-gunwalker-now.html
Monday, March 28, 2011

Kurt Hofmann: "'Project Gunwalker' now definitively traced to near top of Justice Department."


Go here.

  Back in early February, before CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson led the way for the rest of the mainstream media to the "Project Gunwalker" scandal, National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea and the Sipsey Street Irregulars' Mike Vanderboegh were very nearly the public's only sources of information about this still-growing political bombshell. It was Mr. Vanderboegh, in fact, who on Feb. 4 strongly implied Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer's heavy involvement in the fiasco. In that post, Vanderboegh also revealed that the BATFE's (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) Mexico City attaché Darren Gil had vehemently objected to "walking" thousands of guns into Mexico, without the Mexican government's knowledge or agreement, and was overruled by Breuer:

  For when he was called upon to deal with the lawful request of ATF Mexico City attache Darren Gil to inform the Mexican authorities of the smuggled rifles of Project Gunwalker, Breuer overruled Gil, the attache was forced into early retirement, and Bill Newell, The Phoenix SAC who had been in on this stupidity from the beginning has now been made the attache in Gil's place.

  Mr. Codrea reported on this at about the same time. At that time, Vanderboegh and Codrea were drawing on their own sources for this information. Darren Gil had not yet come forward to the media (and Lanny Breuer certainly hadn't), so back then, those whose agenda was served by keeping this as quiet as possible could afford to dismiss the accusations (How did the Washington Post refer to Messrs. Codrea and Vanderboegh? "Anti-ATF bloggers sympathetic to the militia movement," or something?).

PLUS:



It just keeps getting worse and worse for the Gunwalkers: "ATF agents actually observed a cache of weapons being loaded into a suspect vehicle."



Latest Press Release from Senator Grassley's office:

  For Immediate Release
  March 28, 2011

  Grassley Concerned that ATF'S Risky Strategy of Letting Guns Walk May Have Been Used Beyond Fast and Furious

  WASHINGTON - In a letter to the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Senator Chuck Grassley pressed for additional details about the bureau's knowledge of the straw purchasers of the guns involved in the killing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.

  Today's letter follows a March 4 letter where Grassley cited press reports and a Justice Department press release that raised the prospect that the ATF strategy of allowing straw purchasers to continue to operate in hopes of making bigger cases may have contributed to the shooting of Zapata. The Justice Department responded to Grassley's letter on behalf of the ATF but refused to provide any substantive information, citing an investigation by the department's inspector general.

  A copy of Grassley's March 4, 2011 letter to the ATF can be found here. A copy of the Justice Department's response can be found here.

  Here is a copy of the text of today's letter to ATF Director Kenneth Melson. A copy of the signed letter can be found here.

  March 28, 2011

  Via Electronic Transmission

  Kenneth E. Melson
  Acting Director
  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  99 New York Avenue, NE
  Washington, DC 20226

  Dear Acting Director Melson:

  On March 4, 2011, I wrote you regarding questions surrounding the February 15 murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico. I have yet to receive a reply.

  In my last letter, I referenced the March 1 DOJ press release regarding the Osorio brothers and their next-door neighbor Kelvin Morrison. They were arrested on charges related to trafficking firearms to a Mexican drug cartel and indicted on March 23. According to the release, all three defendants had been suspects in an ATF undercover operation in early November 2010. In that operation, the Osorio brothers and Morrison provided 40 firearms to an ATF informant. The press release indicates, "The meeting [between the informant and the suspected traffickers] was arranged related to an investigation of Los Zetas," a Mexican drug trafficking cartel.[1]

  The DOJ's press release appears to be the first public acknowledgement that one of the firearms used in the murder of Agent Zapata had been traced back to Otilio Osorio. Specifically, the press release stated:

  [A]ccording to one affidavit filed in the case, one of the three firearms used in the Feb. 15, 2011, deadly assault of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata that was seized by Mexican officials has been traced by ATF to Otilio Osorio. Otilio Osorio allegedly purchased that firearm on Oct. 10, 2010, in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, prior to law enforcement's awareness of the purchase. Ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities on this firearm indicated it was one of the three firearms used during the deadly assault on Special Agent Zapata's vehicle.[2]

  The DOJ's press release gives the impression that law enforcement officials were unaware of Osorio's activities in October 2010 when he allegedly purchased the weapon that was later used to kill Agent Zapata.

  The press release leads the reader to believe that law enforcement had no reason to suspect Osorio was a straw purchaser until sometime between October 10 and early November, when he was the subject of the undercover operation. According to the release:

  The investigation now has also revealed that on Aug. 7, 2010, a Romarm, model WASR, 7.62 caliber rifle was discovered by law enforcement officers in LaPryor, Texas, near the U.S./Mexico border. Trace results indicated that Morrison purchased this firearm on July 30, 2010, from a FFL [federal firearms licensee]. According to the affidavit, between July 10, 2010, and Nov. 4, 2010, Morrison purchased 24 firearms from FFLs.[3]

  This portion of the DOJ's press release appears designed to give the impression that the August 7 discovery by unspecified "law enforcement officers" and subsequent trace results linking the weapon to Morrison became known only after the October 10 purchase of the murder weapon.

  However, I have learned that ATF agents actually observed a cache of weapons being loaded into a suspect vehicle on July 29, 2010, but did not maintain surveillance on that vehicle.[4] The very next day, Morrison purchased the firearm that was later "discovered," in August.[5] In fact, it was actually seized along with 22 other AK-style firearms in the very suspect vehicle that ATF agents had witnessed being loaded with weapons on July 29.[6] When the vehicle was stopped en route to Eagle Pass, Texas on August 7, the weapon purchased by Morrison on July 30 was recovered, along with two weapons purchased by Ranferi Osorio.[7] All of these facts were apparently known to federal authorities contemporaneously, and yet none of them are included in the Justice Department's craftily-worded press release.

  The March 8 letter I received from Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich is not an adequate response to my March 4 letter, which was addressed specifically to you. Therefore, please provide your direct response to the questions in my letter, along with the documents previously requested. In particular, please prioritize any documents responsive to paragraph (5), which called for all records relating to when law enforcement first became aware of the trafficking activities of Otilio and Ranferi Osorio and Kelvin Morrison. Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact (202) 224-5225.


  Sincerely,


  Chuck Grassley



  [1] Press Release, Department of Justice, March 1, 2011, available at http://dallas.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/dl030111.htm.
  [2] Id.
  [3] Id. (Emphasis added.)
  [4] ATF Management Log, Case 785096-10-[redacted], Case Title "[redacted] Firearm Traffickers (SWB Gunrunner)." (Attachment 1)
  [5] ATF Firearms Trace Summary, Sep. 17, 2010. (Attachment 2)
  [6] Supra note 4.
  [7] ATF Firearms Trace Summary, Sep. 15, 2010; ATF Firearms Trace Summary, Sep. 17, 2010. (Attachment 3)

PLUS:



CBS: "Mexican attorney general says 'full force of law' to be used in ATF gunwalking scandal investigation."


Ken Melson may be missing his one of these days.

FYI, Melson. They want your cojones on a stick. And I don't blame 'em a bit.

  The Office of Mexico's Attorney General has issued strong, new comments in response to ATF Gunwalking allegations exposed in an ongoing CBS News investigation.

  As we have reported, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms say over the course of a year and a half, superiors ordered them to allow thousands of weapons to cross into Mexico as part of a failed plan to gain intelligence and take down a major drug cartel.

  Over the weekend, the Mexican attorney general stated: "The controlled trafficking of weapons is not authorized under the Mexican national legislation. An operation that would contemplate this would not have been acceptable to the Mexican government, and it will never be under any circumstance." The Mexican Attorney General also stated that it's conducting its own investigation to identify "the crimes that could have been carried out on Mexican territory."

  Those statements were made one day after CBS News' exclusive interview with the former top ATF official in Mexico, Darren Gil. Gil stated that his own agency kept details of controversial operation known as "Fast and Furious" secret from him and his Mexico-based staff.

  He also said that when he objected, his ATF supervisor in Washington repeatedly told him the case had been approved not only by ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson, but also by the Department of Justice, which oversees ATF.

  Last week in an interview with the Spanish language network Univision, President Obama said that neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder approved Fast and Furious. He reiterated that an Inspector General is investigating.

  Mexican authorities await the results. "The Mexican government was not informed of any operation that included the controlled trafficking of weapons to Mexico," stated the attorney general's office in its communiqu??© issued over the weekend. "Sanctions will have to be carried out with the full force of law to whomever could have been responsible for the commission of the illicit goods."

  Allowing guns to reach criminal suspects and the street without stopping them is known as letting guns "walk": law enforcement insiders say it's normally strictly forbidden because the guns could be used to injure or kill people. Gil told CBS News that unusual numbers of weapons from the Fast and Furious case were turning up at Mexican crime scenes after being used by drug cartel members. As the case and the flow of guns continued, he worried that the weapons would be used to kill innocent civilians, police officers, or military or government officials.

  On Dec. 14th, two AK-47 variant assault rifles that ATF allegedly let "walk" a year before were found at the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Officials are also investigating a possible connection to the murder of Customs Agent Jaime Avila.

  Among the outstanding questions: who knew of and approved the Fast and Furious operation, and when? Was a gunwalking strategy deployed in other cases? What was the evidence that caused officials to release two illegal immigrants arrested at the gunning down of Agent Terry? Why has a third been held, but not charged in the murder? If none of the men arrested the night of Agent Terry's murder were responsible, are there any leads as to whoever was? What weapon was used to kill Agent Terry? Where are all the weapons that ATF allegedly let walk into Mexico, but have not been recovered? Of the weapons that have been recovered, in what crimes were they used?

  Department of Justice and ATF officials have not agreed to our repeated interview and information requests. So far, they have also refused to provide answers and documents to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who is investigating. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has joined the investigation.


PLUS:


Codrea: "Origins of 'Project Gunwalker' important for media to understand." & Issa Deadline Looming. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


Major media continue their default position on the Project Gunwalker Scandal. Is this a CNN, ABC or NBC reporter? I can't tell. (H/T to Randy Dye for the illustration.)

David writes, in part:

  Friend and colleague Dan Gifford, an Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," sent this bit of information to National Review Online's David Rittgers in response to "Mexican Criminals, American Guns--Did the ATF help create its own crisis?"

  However, the only reason CBS News, the L.A. Times, and the Center for Public Integrity are onto this ATF gun running story at all that I can see is because of the writings of David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh in the National Gun Rights Examiner. Codrea and Vanderboegh have been "bigfooted." That's the newsroom term for a star taking credit for a mere reporter's story. They deserve the credit.

  In this case, credit has not been so much taken as assumed by others. Admittedly, the involvement of mass media breaks this through to a level we would otherwise be unable to reach, and that's something we are grateful for. CBS News has done an outstanding job and uncovered much original blockbuster information on its own, and Vanderboegh and I stand ready to promote their work, and the work of others revealing new pieces of the puzzle on their own-something we will also continue to do ourselves.

  This is bigger than mere self-interest, although of course that plays a part. There is a story here about how the establishment media has, for the most part, ignored a scandal that works against their agenda. There's a story here about how two mere "bloggers" with virtually no organizational resources or "official" credentials, beat the press at its own game in uncovering a major scoop-a potentially significant indicator for "new media's" role in the shape of things to come. And there's a need to ensure that others in the major media outlets at least are aware of who they can talk to if they want to understand the unfolding evolution of this story.

  Finally, there's the hindsight awareness that had Mike and I had been listened to back in 2009, the fact that "dissident" ATF agents were openly complaining about Bureau management corruption and abuse should have been enough to provoke media interest and congressional oversight-and "Project Gunwalker," along with the ongoing criminal violence it has reportedly enabled-would not have happened.




PLUS:

Dave Workman writes: Rep. Issa's March 30 deadline for ATF documents looming.

  Acting ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson has until Wednesday to provide several key documents requested by Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in the congressman's probe of the Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.

  So far, according to a committee source, Melson has not responded to the letter, which was dated March 16. (Nor has there been a response on Melson's behalf from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, who sent the now-infamous letter to Sen. Charles Grassley back on Feb. 4, "respectfully" requesting the Iowa Republican to back off in his Gunrunner inquiry, which had been launched following the slaying of Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry. Grassley had sent two letters to Melson, who did not respond; Weich replied instead.) Asked what happens if Melson does not respond, the source said, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
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