into Mexico" over at TTaG. He's got three possibles:
1. To catch the “big fish”: he doubts, and gives reasons why.
2. Empire building: again, doubts and the reasons why.
3. ATF Agents enabled smuggled guns to line their own pockets: likely, he thinks:
As in Watergate, the key to this scandal is to “follow the money.” Never mind the guns themselves—even though drug thugs used the to murder two federal agents. Who paid for the ATF-enabled smuggled guns? How much did they cost? How were the smugglers/informants paid, and how much were they paid? How much did the smugglers get for the guns and what happened to that money?
Occam’s Razor says that if you’re forced to choose between competing theories explaining a given event, the simplest explanation is the most likely to be true. I vote for door number three. The ATF didn’t “botch” Project Gunrunner or Operation Fast and Furious.
I reckon they started out setting up straw purchases, and then “forgot” to stop the guns before they crossed the border. They subverted the normal rules of a police sting—NEVER LOSE TRACK OF THE DRUGS/MONEY/GUNS—for cash money.
If I had to guess, #2 and #3 are the big ones, with #1 being the excuse. Reading this brought something into focus I'd wondered about, and that was just exactly what BATFE could expect to gain toward 'getting the bosses' with this: bosses don't deal in stuff like this, subordinates do. And all that nice noise about 'wanting to take down a cartel' doesn't wash, either. Unless as part of the empire-building action: ATF isn't supposed to be doing that, it's not their job. But if they get expanded(lots more agents and money and authority involved there) it could be. Being legally expanded would require real changes in their charter, etc., but if they decided to expand out without worrying about those niceties(counting on some of the Congressional cover that's helped them out before)...
With Mexico finally deciding to start asking questions about Gunwalker, things stand to get really messy, which is actually a good thing: it's going to take it getting monumentally nasty to actually get the truth out AND have any real possibility of those responsible being punished for their actions. At least any punishment more nasty than "You were a bad boy, go to your room; and your next pay raise will be delayed."
On the latter, couple of days ago Sipsey Street had a piece saying good things about John Dodson, the ATF agent who came out into the open to put a line from the compressor on that whistle; Vanderboegh is catching some crap for it. Well, bullshit. Dodson has said some things about the 'why' that I don't care for, and may well have done things in the past I'd not like; neither of which changes the fact that he's put his balls in the vise here and is hoping Grassley and a real investigation can keep the BATFE brass from closing it. And respect is owed to the other honest cops at ATF who've been trying to get something done but whose names we don't know; considering the reputation this agency has for screwing people over they're taking real risks, too, from the miserable excuses for lawmen running that agency
Update: ref the reason #3, I fear I wasn't thinking it through all the way; yes, there could well be some corrupt agents involved getting money, but as Vanderboegh points out this was set up and approved by DOJ and the bigshots in BATFE; while there's the possibility of someone spreading some money around to influence things I don't think it explains Gunwalker. I'll have to go with #2 combined with something else:
Gunrunner, I pointed out to him, predated the Obama administration. "Yes, but 'walking guns' didn't." I told him it seemed to me that given the dates on the documents that the meetings crafting this policy must have taken place sometime in mid-2009. "And who took power in January, 2009?" he replied.
...The ATF controlled the reporting of the statistics, the headlines were lurid and if the rest of us gunnies knew that you don't get automatic weapons, hand grenades and RPGs from gun shows and gun stores, most of the American people were too ignorant of the issue to care about the distinction. But the fact was, as the IG report and other sources concluded, the amount of weapons from those legitimate American sources did not meet the allegation. More importantly the statistics didn't meet the policy need. So, how to "fix" that? Project Gunwalker. If there weren't enough semi-auto "assault rifles" in Mexico, the ATF could fix that. And the murders would follow, justifying the policy change of cracking down on "assault rifles," gun shows and the like.
"So," I said, "you're saying that this was a deliberate attempt by policymakers at the highest levels of the Obama administration to subvert the Second Amendment and further diminish the free exercise of firearm rights of honest citizens?"
"You got it. Sucks, huh?" He laughed bitterly.
And, unfortunately, entirely possible.