Two federal officials have been reassigned and a third has resigned in the wake of controversy over "Operation Fast and Furious," the controversial sting that is also known as the "Gunwalking Scandal." Kenneth Melson, acting director for the past 28 months of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, will become senior advisor on forensic science in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Programs, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, who approved the flawed operation that allowed weapons to be delivered to drug gangs, submitted his resignation to President Obama effective immediately. Emory Hurley, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, has been reassigned from criminal cases to civil casework.
The reassignments appear to be an ongoing shakeup at ATF, where two assistant Special Agents in Charge of the operation, George Gillett and Jim Needles have previously been reassigned to other positions, CBS News reported.
"Fast and Furious" was reportedly designed to gather intelligence on gun sales as ATF agents observed sales of thousands of high-caliber weapons to alleged middlemen for drug cartels operating on both sides of the Mexican border.
Ron Paul's H.R. 2613 bill would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and make it possible for permit individuals, including teachers, to carry firearms in the former "gun-free zones."
Has the Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico replaced Whitey Bulger as the U.S. federal government’s most favored gang (MFG)?
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF) has come under fire for promoting three supervisors of a sting operation that led to the illegal sales of firearms to drug cartels in Mexico. At least 2,000 guns were reported lost in Operation Fast and Furious, many of them later found at crime scenes in Mexico.
Two were recovered at the site where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in Arizona last year.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the three supervisors of the operation — William McMahon, William Newell, and David Roth — have been promoted to management positions at ATF headquarters in Washington. McMahon was the agency's Deputy Director of Operations in the West when the sting operation was carried out. Newell and Roth were field supervisors out of the ATF's Phoenix office. The news brought a quick response from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who last week sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding to know about other alleged ATF operations similar to Fast and Furious.
The Florida State legislature has taken steps towards securing Second Amendment rights by eliminating restrictions on firearms. The measures, which will be enacted on October 1, will impose penalties on public officials who pass or enforce gun regulations at the state level. Violators face a $5,000 personal fine and may risk being removed from office by the governor. Florida already had a law that made it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond those imposed through state statutes since 1987. The Blaze explains the necessity for this new law:
While Florida has had a law on its books since 1987 that makes it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond state statutes, there was no enforcement mechanism in place. As a result, towns and cities have created ordinances at will. In the process, many of them have criminalized otherwise completely law-abiding citizens who unintentionally ran afoul of arbitrary, localized gun rules.
As a result, Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the Penalties for Violating Firearms Preemption Law, which forces the repeal of all regulations and policies that violate the firearms preemption law of 1987.
The Central Intelligence Agency was intimately involved with the federal government’s infamous “Operation Fast and Furious” scheme to send American weapons to Mexican drug cartels while simultaneously working with other agencies allowing narcotics to be shipped over the border, according to a series of explosive reports.
Citing an unnamed CIA source, a Washington Times article theorizes that U.S. officials were actively aiding organizations such as the Sinaloa cartel with guns and immunity in an effort to stymie Los Zetas. That’s because, according to the piece, the powerful and brutal criminal Zetas syndicate has the potential to overthrow the government of Mexico — and might be planning to do so.
Apparently the secretive U.S. intelligence agency also played a key role in creating and using the American government’s gun-running program to arm certain criminal organizations.
A high-ranking Mexican drug trafficker with the powerful Sinaloa cartel made a series of explosive allegations in a federal court filing, arguing that he had an agreement with top U.S. officials allowing his criminal empire to obtain American weapons from the federal government while shipping tons of cocaine and heroin across the border. According to court documents, U.S. agents even helped the cartel elude Mexican and American investigators in exchange for information on rival drug groups.
The claims were made by Jesus Vicente “El Vicentillo” Zambada-Niebla, who was arrested by the Mexican military in 2009 and extradited to the U.S. for trial on federal drug-trafficking charges. Prosecutors accused him of serving as the “logistical coordinator” for the Sinaloa cartel. He responded earlier this year by invoking a “public authority” defense — essentially arguing that since he was working for the U.S. government under an agreement, he cannot be prosecuted.
Texas Congressman and GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul continues to champion constitutional rights. His latest endeavor is a bill that would abolish “gun-free zones,” ultimately permitting teachers to carry firearms on school grounds. Predictably, anti-gun groups are calling the legislation “extremist.”
CNS News reports, “H.R. 2613, the Citizens Protection Act of 2011, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and remove all federally created criminal safety zones.”
The Gun-Free School Zones Act was first enacted as section 1702 of the Crime Control Act of 1990. The text of the act reads, “It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.”
Police Officer Daniel Harless, of Canton, Ohio, is making quite a name for himself, having garnered a reputation for his outrageous tirades against those he engages in traffic stops. Two weeks ago, The New American reported on Harless’ encounter with a legal gun owner, in which he berated the driver for several minutes and made several threats against the driver. Now, a new video has emerged of a traffic stop that took place in July 2010 between Harless and a car full of passengers, in which Harless threatens to kill them.
In the video, Harless is heard threatening a group of passengers engaged in a traffic stop, and grows angry after he found a gun in the car. Unlike the video that was exposed last month, however, these passengers do not appear to have a permit for the weapon.
Two weeks ago, concerned about news reports that President Obama would order the investigation of citizens buying two or more rifles at a time, a licensed Texas gun dealer contacted his local Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) official to find out if the reports were true, so he could be in compliance. The ATF official assured him that he was aware of such legislation having been considered, but added, “The law is not going to pass, and we can’t enforce something that isn’t law.” This week, however, gun dealers and pawnshop owners across the country received a certified letter from the ATF requiring just such compliance.
The letter received by the dealer (viewable at Infowars.com, and personally examined by this writer) requires gun dealers in the states bordering Mexico (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California) to report the sale or disposition of two or more semi-automatic rifles of certain types to the same person during a five-day period. Compliance with the new demand is to begin on August 14, 2011. The rifles in question are those capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber great than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber).