Bill Conroy’s article on Operation Fast & Furious in the Baltimore Post-Examiner is an unorganized, uninformed mess. In an attempt to pin the Fast & Furious scandal on George W. Bush, Conroy reveals he does not know the difference between Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast & Furious.
Starting off on the wrong foot, Conroy’s title ” ‘Fast & Furious’ gun running scandal began under President Bush’s watch” is false. Conroy immediately contradicts his own title by admitting “That Obama Administration operation, dubbed Fast and Furious, was launched in the fall of 2009 and terminated in early 2011 in the wake of a Republican-led Congressional probe into the program.”
For Mr. Conroy’s sake, here is the difference between Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast & Furious. According to the ATF Fact sheet on Project Gunrunner:
ATF is deploying its resources strategically on the Southwest Border to deny firearms, the “tools of the trade,” to criminal organizations in Mexico and along the border, and to combat firearms-related violence affecting communities on both sides of the border. In partnership with other U.S. agencies and with the Government of Mexico, ATF refined its Southwest Border strategy. ATF developed Project Gunrunner to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico and thereby deprive the narcotics cartels of weapons.
Project Gunrunner utilized e-trace technology to track gun purchases that were intended to cross the border into Mexico. The intent of Project Gunrunner was to stop the guns before they made it into Mexico, or if the guns did cross the border, to track down with technology, the guns and the purchasers for prosecution. This is the program that began under George W. Bush.
Operation Fast & Furious was part of Operation Gunrunner and had some major differences. It was launched under the Obama administration and was conducted only in Arizona, not in Texas or other border states. The most serious and contentious difference between Gunrunner and Fast & Furious is that there was no attempt by the ATF to stop or trace the weapons headed to Mexico in Operation Fast & Furious. Hence the term “Gunwalking.” Based on the information currently available (Eric Holder has refused to release any information that might contradict what the whistle blowers have brought to light) it appears that, not only did the ATF have no mechanism to trace the weapons sold, but there was no attempt to even stop them from crossing the border if the purchaser was under surveillance . ATF agents literally watched the guns “walk” out of the gun store and into Mexico.
Mr. Conroy goes on to explain and discuss an arrest under Project Gunrunner that took place in South Texas. Conroy tries to tie the South Texas case to Fast & Furious because the suspect’s arrest happened in President Obama’s administration, right before Congress started investigating Fast & Furious.
The Baltimore Post-Examiner needs to pull this article. At the very least, they need to change the headline because Mr. Conroy is talking about Project Gunrunner not Fast & Furious. Either Mr. Conroy is a useful tool protecting the Obama administration or he needs to educate himself in the subject matter on which he writes.