From Hyderabad, India: Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) in the US Department of Justice (DoJ), in an operation known as Fast and Furious, purchased guns in the United States, in a sting operation of the Mexican drug cartels, and passed them onto cartel members on the Mexican side. The idea was to infiltrate and penetrate the cartels to bust their activities until one such weapon cost a US government employee his life at the hands of a cartel member.
What is clear is that cleaning up drug rings has been at the top of US-Mexico diplomatic relations since president Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Mexico in 2009, followed by extensive media coverage of cartels’ activities on CNN by Anderson Cooper from Mexico.
Fast and Furious, however well meaning, has the vibe of Reagan’s Iran-Contra to it. What is unclear is who authorized the operation? Was there pressure from the White House and Department of State on the BATF bureaucracy to carry out the operation bypassing the Attorney General of the United States who runs the DoJ? How much did the Mexican government know and at what levels?
More troubling is the gun control issue in the United States after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Why is BATF encouraging, albeit in sting, gun purchases in the United States which are the primary cause of border tensions with Mexico, especially as the United States Supreme Court prepares to hear the Arizona immigration law case?
The Obama administration, in its overzealousness to displace all Republican lobbyists from K-Street has increased pressure on government bureaucracies to support the positions of the administration. Civil servants have become lobbyists-in-chief for Democrat administrations and Republican alike (Dick Cheney’s meddling in the Department of Interior). Even the de jure independent Federal Reserve, in an unusual departure from standard public affairs practices, hired Democrat lobbyists to lobby the Congress for Bernanke’s recent Financial Regulatory Reform positions supported by the Fed’s bureaucracy and monetary policy to expand regulatory turf to financial holding companies and cracked down on internal dissent with a heavy hand because the White House was in support, besides, of course, the foolishness that arises from Bernanke’s self-adulation of being called a genius and feted by the Clinton economic team in Washington for doing his job, and that too not as innovatively as is expected of the Fed. Paper money is the primary cause of the world’s underground, unaccounted for economies including drugs, weapons and prostitution.
Bypassing proper channels for advancing the agenda of any administration using government bureaucracies compromises civil service independence and whistleblower protections, besides of course increasing government unaccountability and corruption. The Washington iron triangle consisting of three mutually unsubstitutable vertices: elected representatives, lobbyists and bureaucracies must work as intended since the days of George Washington. Each vertex has a distinct and co-equal role.
Commonsense dictates that guns don’t belong, even in a sting operation, with drug cartels because they must be confiscated if found on any Mexican or others crossing the border illegally per US gun laws. America’s guns, if imported legally by Mexico, are subject to Mexico’s gun laws.
Mexico’s drugs are Mexico’s business. America’s immigration is America’s.