by Ed Morrissey
The other shoe dropped on the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious last night, and it should sting — if enough people pay attention to it. Univision reported that the effort wasn’t just limited to one ATF office in Arizona — it had other operations in Florida and Texas as well. The ATF and Department of Justice lost more weapons than they have so far acknowledged, and those weapons have been tied to even more murders than previously thought — including a massacre of teens and young adults. This report literally showed blood flowing in the streets as a result of Fast and Furious, as ABC News reports:
On January 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez. Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.
Indirectly, the United States government played a role in the massacre by supplying some of the firearms used by the cartel murderers. Three of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), according to a Mexican army document obtained exclusively by Univision News.
Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre.
Even more troubling was the expanding scope of Fast and Furious, which wasn’t limited to Arizona — nor to Mexico, for that matter:
The Univision News investigation also found ATF offices from states besides Arizona pursued similar misguided strategies. In Florida, the weapons from Operation Castaway ended up in the hands of criminals in Colombia, Honduras and Venezuela[,] the lead informant in the case told Univision News in a prison interview. …
Other firearms under ATF surveillance were permitted to leave the country from Texas, according to court documents and the exclusive testimony of Magdalena Avila Villalobos, the sister of an ICE agent who survived a confrontation with cartel hit men on a rural highway in Mexico on February 15, 2011. His fellow agent, Jaime Zapata, was killed during the attacks.
“It’s not from Arizona and Fast and Furious,” Avila Villalobos told Univision News, speaking in her brother’s stead for the first time, “but it’s a very similar operation…” She later added, “Those weapons that have been recovered, it’s been confirmed that they were weapons used in the shootout that killed Jaime Zapata and wounded Victor Avila.”
Give ABC News credit for partnering with Univision on this report. The American media has mostly been uninterested in this story, with the notable exceptions of Sharyl Attkisson at CBS and the LA Times. This new report shows that Operation Fast and Furious was a larger program than the Obama administration has admitted, with several offices coordinating on those efforts, with a much wider scope for gun distribution than anyone let on.
Just FYI — the Obama White House is still insisting that executive privilege applies on Fast and Furious communications. I’d guess that has something to do with the information broadcast by Univision last night. That’s just one reason Paul Ryan has now joined the call for Eric Holder’s resignation:
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan agrees with presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, or for President Barack Obama to fire him, over Operation Fast and Furious, a Ryan spokesman told The Daily Caller.
“The congressman agrees with the governor,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told TheDC on Sunday, referring to Mitt Romney’s call for Holder’s resignation or termination over the gunwalking scandal last December.
“Either Mr. Holder himself should resign, or the president should ask for his resignation or remove him,” Romney said in December 2011. “It’s unacceptable for him to continue in that position now given the fact that he has misled Congress and entirely botched the investigation of the Fast and Furious program.”
We need a resignation — followed by a real investigation.