“I do not fear death, for I have been close enough to it on enough occasions that it no longer concerns me. What I do fear is loss of my honor, and would rather die fighting than to have it said that I was without courage.” This is a poem by Lieutenant Colonel Watt, found on the desk of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry after his death.
I recently had the opportunity to read investigative Journalist Katie Pavlich’s book “Operation Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and it’s Shameless Cover-Up.” (Regnery, 2012). I am almost 100% positive all of you are aware of this scandal, but you may be shocked to know that this started under President Bush’s Department of Justice in early 2006 as, “Operation Wide Receiver.” However, it was conducted with the knowledge and help of the Mexican Government and was stopped in 2007 when the guns were tracked to Mexico, but were lost.
As I sit and write this review about “Operation Fast and Furious,” I cannot stop thinking about Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s father and the hundreds of families in Mexico and the United States who have lost their father’s or sons. All because an agency that is supposed to stop the sale of illegal guns, and then did the exact opposite and failed to inform the Mexican Government and their own agents working in Mexico of this operation. On top of that, it would appear that Attorney General Eric Holder might have perjured himself about what and when he knew about Operation Fast and Furious. The Justice Department has refused to release documents regarding this case, but many individuals believe this case goes all the way up to the President of the United States and his anti- gun agenda.
I did not know Special Agent Brian Terry, but I do know several individuals very well who worked with him. They have all said that he was one of the hardest working individuals they had ever met. Brian enlisted in the Marine Corps right out of high school and was honorably discharged in 1994. Brian again served the citizens of the United States by becoming a police officer in the suburbs of Detroit while attending college at the same time. In 1998, Brian graduated as President of his class with a degree in criminal justice. Because of his law enforcement and Marine Corps background, Brian was recruited for BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s SWAT/SRT unit. To get a better idea of whom Brian Terry was, during BORTAC training Brian was told by an instructor that he had completed a task incorrectly and his punishment was to complete a three-mile run in intense heat with 50 lbs of gear and another student on his back. Approximately one mile into his run, the instructor discovered that he was the one who made the mistake and told Brian that he could stop running. Brian responded by saying, “I’ll never quit a task until it is finished.”
In her book, Pavlich does an amazing job of providing a timeline of Operation Fast and Furious in her 222-page book by interviewing as many individuals as possible, and providing the readers with almost 60 pages of documentation that show that this was most likely not a botched BATFE investigation; rather it was a calculated operation to place thousands of firearms in the hands of Mexican Cartel members to later justify further gun laws in the United States.
As you may well know, President Obama has already signed an Executive Order in which he stated that, “In an effort to stem the illicit flow of weapons into Mexico, the Justice Department announced … that all gun shops in four Southwest border states will be required to alert the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles. Under the new policy, federal firearms licensees in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico must report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span. The requirement applies to purchases of semi-automatic rifles that have detachable magazines and a caliber of greater than .22”.
Pavlich documents how BATFE agents, including the agent in charge of Fast and Furious, Peter Foster, approached gun shop owners in the Phoenix area and requested their cooperation with a program that would allow the BATFE to monitor, track and prosecute those responsible for purchasing guns for the Mexican gun Cartel. As many of you know, BATFE has 100% control over firearms licensing, so many gun shops agreed even though they were hesitant to get involved. The BATFE installed surveillance equipment in the gun shops that allowed agents to view, “straw purchases,” from their vehicles in the parking lots of these guns shops. These guns stores sold “straw purchasers,” weapons that ranged from small caliber pistols all the way up to 50 caliber BMG rifles.
As you have most likely read or watched on Fox News, since most of the other news outlets have skipped this story, some BATFE agents watched large amounts of weapons being purchased with cash and then placed in vehicles that were driven toward the border. They followed these vehicles and requested permission to pull them over; however their requests to pull over the vehicles were denied by upper management and allowed to cross the border into Mexico. The Mexican Government and BATFE agents in Mexico were completely left in the dark about this program, even after several BATFE agents in Mexico noticed the Phoenix office that “larger numbers” of U.S. guns were showing up at crime scenes.
Pavlich and several news outlets have reported that Operation Fast and Furious led to outrage by the Mexican Government; however according to Pavlich this outcry was silenced when The State Department threatened to cut off $500 million in U.S. aid for anti-Cartel operations if the Mexican Government didn’t silence their criticism of Fast and Furious. Pavlich further states that the Department of Justice came out with a statement that the American Gun Shops were the, “Mexican gun locker of the Mexican drug Cartels”. The DOJ failed to
indicate that a lot of these gun shops would not have made these sales if the BATFE had not, “asked,” them to do so. When several BATFE agents attempted to complain about the program they were moved to jobs with no possibility of advancement and later on in the investigation the agents were given gag orders. Several agents are currently suing the BATFE for “Whistleblower violations.”
On December 15th, 2010, just ten days before he was to spend Christmas with his mother, Special Agent Brian Terry succumbed to a wound he received a day earlier by bullets fired by a member of a Mexican Cartel. Later investigation determined that two of the guns at the scene that killed Brian Terry were traced back to guns purchased during Operation Fast and Furious. According to Pavlich at the time of publication, 1,400 of the Operation Fast and Furious guns are missing, and BATFE is not actively looking for these guns. She goes on to state that approximately 10,000 rounds of ammunition were sold to these “straw purchasers.” Eight hundred of the approximately 2,500 weapons sold through Operation Fast and Furious have already been linked to criminal activity.
Katie Pavlich does an amazing job of uncovering information and putting it in a book that you can’t put down. It is available at most online booksellers, as well as in an unabridged audio form for those of you like me who often spend your day driving in a car and would like to listen instead of trying to make time to read the book. I recommend purchasing the book so you have the ability to read the memos and follow the timeline in this book. This is definitely a must read for all of you concerned with your Second Amendment rights.
I currently work with many Federal Agencies, including the BATFE, and I have found them to be excellent to work with and I have only witness them looking to enforce the law and not break the law. I think we are going to really find out the scope of this program and those involved over the next six months to one year. I have purposely left my name off of this article, because of the fear of retaliation by some of the agencies I work with.