From Foreign Policy Blogs/FPA:
Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ is ‘The Protestor.’ Now, wait a minute, people. Nobody consulted me, but just for the record, my vote goes elsewhere–for US Border Patrol Agents Brian Terry and Jesus Diaz, and former Marine Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer. Why? Because each member of this three-man team put his life on the line to protect the rule of law, to uphold, not challenge it, and he did it not once, not twice, but every day he got up and went out to do his job. I’m thinking an attaboyor two might not be out of place.
In the end, Terry, Diaz and Meyer found themselves on the sharp end of the stick for their efforts: the US Department of Justice, agencies like DHS and the Department of State, and the usual entourage of corporate and political underwriters, including the government of Mexico, all had a hand in creating scenarios designed to transform good guys into villains, narratives that ended in Terry’s death at the hands of a cartel gunman, Diaz’s imprisonment for ‘exercising excessive force’ during the arrest of a suspected drug trafficker, and in Meyer’s case, the loss of a high-paying job with a multinational defense contractor, and blowback that now has this decorated young veteran on the ropes in the court of public opinion.
Consider–if Terry, Diaz and Meyer had ‘occupied Wall Street’ instead of the killing zones along our SW border and in Afghanistan, they might have been poster boys for the March of History, and on top of it all, alive, free, and gainfully employed.
It’s a long piece, but a very good one. Of particular note is this summary of Operation Gunwalker/Fast & Furious:
Quick recap courtesy of the House Oversight investigation:
First, ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious was never intended or designed to be a ‘gun tracking/tracing’ operation, since there were never provisions in place to allow agents to trace or interdict weapons once they were sold, with the backing of ATF, to straw buyers and allowed to be trafficked, unimpeded, across the US-Mexico border.
Second, ATF never intended the existence of Fast and Furious to become public knowledge; funding requests were buried in larger appropriations requests. Although no tracing or tracking devices were attached to the military-grade weapons that ATF allowed to be trafficked into Mexico, serial numbers were entered in ATF’s eTrace data bank, allowing agents, once weapons had been recovered at crime scenes and returned to ATF by Mexican authorities, to verify that they had been obtained illegally and within a short ‘buy-to-crime’ time frame from US gun dealers. Verification of this kind would offer strong support to Mexico’s claim that gun violence along border regions is fueled by illegal gun sales in the US and lend muscle to cries in the US for stronger gun legislation.
Third, any ATF operation that involved the trafficking of weapons across the US border required Justice to coordinate first with ICE (DHS), the agency with legal jurisdiction for cross-border weapons transfers, and the US Department of State, which is responsible for issuing exemptions to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). Janet Napolitano, in charge of ICE, denies any knowledge of Fast and Furious, as does Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State. If ATF did indeed walk roughly 2000 lethal weapons across the US border absent waivers from State, the agency and the officials involved would be guilty of violating USC 7228 (AECA)–multiple felonies.
Fourth, Fast and Furious was not a bottom-up operation: Special Agent John Dodson, a field agent in the Phoenix office was the first to claim ‘whistleblower status’ and inform Congress re the existence of the Operation and its consequences–the deaths of roughly 300 people attributable to ATF’s gunwalking operation, including the death of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on US soil. Emails and other documents proving the involvement of DOJ and other admininstration officials in Fast and Furious at early stages of the operation suggests motive and planning at high levels.
Of note as to why prosecution doesn’t happen at lower levels, which it can:
A US Attorney has the judicial independence to empanel a federal grand jury, investigate using the resources of the FBI, or ICE, or whatever entity seems best equipped for the job, to seek indictments, and then to move forward with the prosecution of any individuals whom the evidence suggests may have violated the law. The US Department of Justice also has the power, if the White House gives the nod, to terminate the employment of a US Attorney for ‘administrative’ reasons it will tell you it is under no obligation to reveal.
It’s an excellent read. I highly recommend reading the whole thing.