Richard A. Serrano of LAT’s Washington Bureau reports that officials at the US Embassy in Mexico raised concerns that U.S. guns were showing up at crime scenes in Mexico. But ATF officials kept the embassy in the dark about the operation to sell weapons to straw purchasers to trace smuggling routes.
If true, this is an excellent example of interagency uncooperation. Excerpt:
As weapons from the United States increasingly began showing up at homicide scenes in Mexico last summer, U.S. Embassy officials cabled Washington that authorities needed to focus on small-time operators supplying guns to the drug cartels.
Embassy officials did not know that at least some of the weapons were part of an ill-fated sting run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in which illegal straw purchasers were allowed to buy guns so smuggling routes into Mexico could be traced. Ultimately, ATF lost track of an estimated 1,700 weapons that were part of the so-called Fast and Furious operation, which began in November 2009.
Active links added above. Read the whole thing here.
LAT has also obtained a copy of an SBU telegram (sensitive but unclassified) from US Embassy Mexico dated July 2, 2010 sent via SMART with the subject “Mexico Weapons Trafficking – The Blame Game.” The cable includes the names of the drafting officer, clearance officers (EXEC, POL, ATF, CBP, ICE). Click here to read the cable.
Fast and Furious was somebody’s dumb idea masquerading as a light bulb, approved by several somebodies who sign off on it. But nobody with spine and integrity has come forward to claim this exhibit in “poor judgment.” I’m waiting for a top dog to step to the podium and announced to all interested that “mistakes were made.”