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Project Gunwalker

This Page Is Updated Chronologically If You Have Seen The Rest, Scroll Down To The Bottom For Updates.

Project Gunrunner was an operation started by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) or more commonly referred to as the ATF. The project was originally designed to interdict weapons sales from American gun shops and gun shows that would result in those weapons being transported to Mexico for use in the drug wars taking place between competing cartels as well as with Mexican law enforcement.

Secretary of State Clinton
 When Hillary Clinton and other top officials in the Obama Administration presented the statistic that 90% of guns being used in Mexico were originally sold in the United States, he was immediately confronted with another statistic that refuted that claim.

Sometime following that came word of a secret operation, one dubbed Project Gunwalker by David Codrea as a cynical referral to the deviations taken from Project Gunrunner primarily by the Phoenix office of the ATF, wherein assault weapons purchases to straw purchasers would be allowed to take place. There is growing evidence that this is exactly what led to the death of Brian Terry, a Customs and Border Protection agent in December of 2010. One of those gun purchases allowed to take place by the ATF was used in a firefight with suspected drug and/or people traffickers just across the border in Arizona. Two weapons recovered at the site were traced back to a gun shop in Glendale, AZ working with the ATF to track the guns.

Agent Brian Terry
 When the serial numbers were run on the guns recovered at the scene of the firefight, many of the line agents began to grow disgruntled and posts critical of the sales allowed to take place started showing up on an ATF watchdog website run by retired and former ATF agents called These posts caught the attention of David Codrea (previously mentioned) and Mike Vanderboegh of a gun rights blog called Sipsey Street Irregulars.

Codrea and Vanderboegh worked independently to verify the claims being made through their own sources within the ATF and were instrumental, perhaps indispensable, in the effort to bring the information the agents had to the attention of Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee that has oversight responsibilities concerning the Justice Department.

Senator Grassley began aggressively interviewing the agents and then requesting information from the Acting Director of the ATF Kenneth Melson, who it seems quickly referred all correspondence to Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, who responded to Senator Grassley's inquiries with this letter. In the letter Weich denied that any of these straw purchases had ever been sanctioned by the ATF and actually threatened Senator Grassley not to engage in "inappropriate political influence."

Attorney General Eric Holder

In response to the letter, Senator Grassley fired back, drafting this letter to Eric Holder.

One of the early critics of the evolution of Project Gunrunner was Darren Gil, the ATF's attache to Mexico, who felt strongly that the ATF should inform the Mexican officials of the new procedures. His pleas went unrecognized at the Phoenix office and ultimately in Washington DC, which raises the question as to how far up the chain of command the scandal goes. Agent Gil has subsequently retired from the ATF and the man in charge of the Phoenix operation William D. Newell has been given his job.

Senator Grassley finally got a briefing from a transplanted Secret Service executive by the name of Truscott, who could not have had specific knowledge of the events and actions on which Senator Grassley expected to be briefed. One can only speculate as to why the Justice Department would send in a person with little or no knowledge of the events to answer the probing questions of a senator's staff. Regardless, while Truscott believed he had answered all of the questions competently, Senator Grassley did not and responded with this letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter designates exactly the serial numbers that were known to the ATF as being sold to a straw purchaser and those serial numbers recovered at the scene of Brian Terry's murder.

Thrown into this confusing mix of guns and sales and which ones were walked across the border and which were confiscated on this side of the border is the news of two Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who were shot, one, Jaime Zapata, was killed.

On February 28th a raid took place in a suburb of Dallas where it is believed that the weapons used to kill Zapata were sold. With clear knowledge that several gun shops were enlisted by the ATF to make these sales to straw purchasers, one must wonder whether this is law enforcement or more of the cover up.

Agent John Dodson
 On March 3, 2011 CBS ran its second and most damaging story on Project Gunwalker. Agent John Dodson stepped forward as one of the witnesses to and participants of the events taking place in the Phoenix office of the ATF. Without protection of anonymity, Dodson stepped up to the camera and confirmed suspicions that the ATF had allowed thousands of assualt weapons to be purchased and "walked" over the border and into Mexico. The scandal is growing out of control.

And, then comes the spin. Scot L. Thomasson, Chief of the ATF Public Affairs Division in Washington DC sent out these instructions:

March 5, 2011
Please make every effort for the next two weeks to maximize cover of ATF operations/enforcement actions/arrests at the local and regional level. Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week and upcoming events this week, the bureau should look for every opportunity to push coverage of good stories. Fortunately, the CBS story has not sparked any follow up coverage by mainstream media and seems to have fizzled.

Not bad advice, if this weren't the murders of two federal agents and unknown thousands of Mexican and American citizens not so well-armed as the bean-bag shooting CBP agents. Nowhere does it say to highlight the efforts of the Bureau to expose this from the inside, the way one might do if this weren't intended to cover up the actions of the Bureau.

March 7, 2011
The Mexican government is finally starting to ask some questions of the Obama Administration on why exactly it is important to let guns "walk" into Mexico, unannounced, unforewarned, in order to catch and bring down a drug cartel. As a spokesman from Mexico's Foreign Minstry said:
“America said one of its priorities was to stop the guns from entering Mexico ,  now we find out that The ATF was deliberately allowing  guns to enter Mexico”
Interesting, but it makes one wonder where that curiosity has been. Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars sent a letter to the Consul General of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos in Atlanta exposing the scandal. But it wasn't until CBS News ran the story that questions began to arise from south of the border. What now?

The Obama Administration gathered its gang of conspirators in Washington DC over the weekend and came out with this flimsy, non-sensical excuse for allowing THOUSANDS of guns to be "walked" down to Mexico. Here is the theme from Sipsey Street. So, you see, it was the lack of funds, the poorly trained ATF agents that really need more Spanish and more MONEY to do the job right. Never mind the absolutely reckless and conscience-free actions of the past. In the face of these horrendous, unconscionable acts leading to the deaths of probably hundreds of Mexican nationals and at least two Customs agents Brian Terry of Customs and Border Protection and Jaime Zapata of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that the Obama Administration will ask for a BIGGER budget and MORE agents. When do we stop shaking our heads and take these insults to heart?

Senator Grassley

March 8, 2011
Senator Grassley calls for indpendent investigation. From the beginning, Senator Grassley has been getting stonewalled. Senators Cornyn and Hutchinson of Texas have joined him in seeking information on Project Gunwalker.

The call for an indpendent investigation came about just after the response from the ATF about recent allegations that the ATF has allowed guns to be "walked" south of the border into Mexico led to the ATF to announce and internal investigation to be conducted by the Inspector General.

Grassley responded citing several possible conflicts, noting the IG's office has already failed to act on the complaints from the agents themselves. Grassley also pointed out that the watchdog's top job is currently vacant since Inspector General Glenn Fine's retirement, leaving the office without a confirmed presidential appointed.

CBS News has obtained information that the concept of Project Gunwalker got an initial run through in Tucson in 2008. The remarkable coincidence involved in this news is that William Newell the Phoenix Special Agent in Charge during the Project Gunwalker scandal was also present in Tucson in 2008 when the practice was first tried. Hmmm, it doesn't sound like a case of too few agents who don't understand Spanish well enough to be effective, this has the odor of something vastly more cynical.

March 9, 2011
The U.S. House of Representatives has now entered the fray. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and 13 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Eric Holder asking for more information into the allegations that the ATF allowed guns to be transported into Mexico.

From the request:
"We find it ironic that the government allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico
as part of a program designed to stop guns from being trafficked into Mexico. We 
are also troubled that ATF engaged in activities that may have facilitated the 
transfer of guns to violent drug cartels while simultaneously attempting to 
restrict lawful firearms sales by border-area firearms dealers.” 

March 10, 2011
The Mexican Government seeks to extradite U.S. ATF Agents to answer charges of gun trafficking and accessory to murder. In the newspaper El Universal (translated by Google) the senate has asked for the Ambassador to the United States to return to Mexico and to answer questions the senate has concerning the ATF program "Fast and Furious." Since it has been learned by the senate that guns have been smuggled into Mexico with the compicity of the ATF, the Mexican government has increasingly become more alarmed that the deaths of Mexican citizens might have been the ultimate result of the program.

Also, the Federal Executive will seek the extradition of U.S. Agents who carried out the plan.

March 11, 2011
Obama holds a press conference in which Project Gunwalker is not even addressed. Despite two CBS stories on the issue. Despite a Senate Judiciary investigation. Despite Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingrahm and Roger Hedgecock stories on it, not one question. Amazing.

March 15, 2011
Where has the NRA been on this story? Well, they finally woke up to the issue, another amazing development in the ever-changing realization that those who seem to support the Second Amendment are really only out for their own enrichment. Larry Pratt at Gun Owners of America has been deeply helpful to Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea during the process, but the NRA has been nowhere to be seen. Finally, the NRA chimes in late to demand answers.

March 17, 2011
Darrell Issa (R-California) Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced on the Roger Hedgecock Show that he has four investigators working on the the Project Gunwalker scandal. From Sipsey Street Irregulars we have this account of Issa's remarks. And here is the PDF of the letter Issa sent to Kenneth Melson, Acting Director of the ATF.

March 20, 2011
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico resigns.
Ostensibly this was in response to a Wikileaks cable wherein Ambassador Carlos Pascual criticized Mexico's handling of the drug war, but it comes amid the Gunwalker scandal where the messages are mixed. Mexican officials claim they had no knowledge of the program "Fast and Furious," but the American State Department claims that they were informed. The suggestion now is that the anger building on the Mexican side of the border forced Pascual to resign.

March 22, 2011
Barack Obama claims that he did not authorize project Fast and Furious during an interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision. The suggestion is that he didn't know about it, but since Operation Gunrunner, from which Fast and Furious evolved, was started under the Bush Administration the answer might be technically correct that he didn't authorize it, but he didn't stop it either and there is virtually no way that he could not have known about it.

March 25, 2011
Senator Grassley requests from Customs and Border Patrol higher ups information on a border stop that could have prevented the murder of Terry Brian, CBP Agent that began to unveil the Gunwalker scandal. At this stop, Jaime Avila, who would be indicted after the murder of Agent Brian was stopped with the weapons that would, a year later, be found at the scene of Agent Brian's murder, but was allowed to pass into Mexico with the weapons because the serial numbers did not raise any red flags.

March 25, 2011
Darren Gil, former ATF Attache to Mexico on CBS detailing his experiences trying to reveal Gunwalker and the resistance he received from headquarters.

March 26, 2011
Gunwalker link to North Texas.

March 29, 2011
Acting Director of the ATF Kenneth Melson was scheduled to appear at a Senate subcommittee meeting during which he might have been asked some interesting questions, however he was suddenly pulled from the witness list.

March 31, 2011
Mexico's Attorney General resigns. The reason given for the resignation of Arturo Chavez was urgent personal reasons. Any activity along these lines seems supicious.

April 1, 2011
Drug cartels threaten U.S. law enforcement with death if they interfere with drug or gun shipments. Barely even a headline and unaddressed by the President of the United States. Also, our first subpoena. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, issues a subpoena to Kenneth Melson. Here is the story and here is the document.

April 3, 2011
Codrea, Vanderboegh and Attkisson receive the Soldier of Fortune Second Amendment Freedom Fighter Award for 2011. They will be given the award at the annual NRA convention in Pittsburgh at the end of April.