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June 17th, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Video: ATF gun operation under scrutiny

(CNN) - The Mexican government’s fight against drug cartels has cost thousands of lives with guns smuggled in from the United States helping to fan the flames of this deadly fight.

In an effort to help track the flow of guns across the border, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or “ATF” as it is commonly known) conceived of Operation Fast and Furious. The idea was to allow some guns to cross the southern border in the hope of seeing where those weapons ended up But once those guns arrived in Mexico there was no way of tracing them until they turned up at a crime scene. Sadly, one of those guns turned up near Rio Rico, AZ next to the body of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Now Congress is asking questions. Lawmakers want to know who allowed this operation to go forward. And answers have been in short supply.

Related: Deadly U.S. gun operation called 'felony stupid'

One thing that is known is that the Mexican government wasn’t informed of the operation.

Now at least 1800 guns have been allowed into Mexico and according to one ATF agent the bodies will be piling up until the last one is recovered.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. WIlliam

    I saw the report this evening on CNN. It was reported that there was a shootout. However, recall when this terrible incident occurred, our agent shot " bean bags" at the smugglers. (My memory is correct – I just googled it) The smugglers returned fire with semi-auto or automatic weapons. The return fire killed our border patrol agent. Two other agents then returned fire with a long rifle and a pistol. Our agents were out-gunned by our own government. We give our agents bean bags, long rifles and pistols. The smuglers have AK-47s, AR-15 or other assault weapon, basically supplied by our government.. Why wasn't this mentioned in the report. Good job of investigative reporting CNN!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  2. pbb

    This had to be approved above ATF at DOJ. The Attorney General Eric Holder had to have been briefed. What is DOJ saying? If Holder knew, he should resign.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  3. Brad

    And the government wants to keep me from exercising my SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHT just goes to show how screwed up the government is. Really suprised CNN is'nt blaming law abiding citizens and gun owners.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  4. Heather

    I understand this mission if there were ways of tracking the guns( .... hmm.. maybe little tracking devices inside the guns). but who ever was the idiot who did this without a sold plan needs to be fired and charged with that border patrols murder!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  5. redsled

    not many libs here for this story tonight.the silence is deafening.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  6. cyril

    Time to keep you honest Anderson

    Are you saying that the smuggler who killed Brian Terry (RIP) would not of had a weapon that day had it not been for the ATF?

    June 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  7. John

    I can only hope that this falacy on the part of a Government Agency, does not turn into an excuse to dream up that more useless gun control laws are needed. We have the laws already... and they were working. The straw purchases were being reported... and identified. Yet upon notification to the agency to act upon the already passed laws, these reports were ignored??? Yet, I cannot hike in wildlands with a sidearm for safety. *facepalm*

    However I can see it already, 6-12 months from now, more strict, yet flawed legislation will be presented.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Fred Bastiat

    you have our own government providing weapons to mexican drug cartels that murder our own citizens and this isn't the front page story on EVERY paper!!! America, we lost.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Michael Fitzgerald

    Keep in mind we've 'allowed' several hundred thousand guns to cross the border. I hope no one believes any victim would still be alive if that number were two hundred thousand and not two hundred thousand and forty. The only difference is that without those extra forty there would be zero chance of catching any of the criminals.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Michael

      I thought I'd read that the number of guns in question was 40. Turns out it was more like 1,800 but I stand by my argument, 1800 is still a tiny fraction of the total.

      June 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  10. Dee

    Chris tell it to Brian Terry's family.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  11. Dee

    Anderson.....Please keep this in the Top Stories!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  12. Dee

    Sarah is right...why isn't this all over the news!! ATF, Eric Holder and Obama should pay for this! Chris many many guns they have, have come from us!

    June 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  13. john

    I agree with the first poster! Why this is not the TOP CNN (and every other news outlet) story is beyond me. This is some pretty serious stuff going on. Obviously there was some indredibly stupid decision making at the ATF. But did it go higher?? Why were the opinions of agents in the field ignored or dismissed? Was this a possible FALSE FLAG OP? This is some serious news; much more serious than turning out funny headlines about Weiner. I, for one, would like some honest answers on this. This is when good journalists should get to work. Dig, dig, dig. Develop sources. Ask tough questions. Then dig deeper.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  14. SKS

    There is an abyss between what the BATFE, the DOJ and the President of the United States are telling us and what is reality. The House Oversight investigation will, hopefully, uncover the whole mess. Operation Fast and Furious may very well be the most significant scandal of our time.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  15. Sarah

    CNN, why is this not the top story? This is huge news. Our government arming criminals with high power rifles. Could it be that this is a big embarrassment to your cronies in Washington?

    June 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  16. Chris

    People need to understand the facts. The guns bought at gun stores in the US were semi-automatic, not automatic as the media portrays. Often times the gun store owners called the ATF saying they thought something was a straw purchase and were told to let the sale go through, due to it being a ATF project. The automatic weapons you see displayed in the mexican media were bought from Central American countries not the US.

    June 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • SKS

      .50 cal. siper rifles are among the lost weapons. Figure that one out.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  17. Dan Crawford

    Hope someone in ATF gets fired over this.....hypocritical politicians running the outfit....lining up with the Mexican president decrying our lax gun laws, demanding more useless gun control here, and then dreaming up this criminal operation? No wonder they have such a bad rep....

    June 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Sarah

      Fired? They need to be put in prison.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  18. bill

    another fine screw up by our government , that is all that washington seems to do anymore
    when is washington going to get their act together.
    with washington we don't need enemies

    June 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  19. nana

    those atf that was involve in the opertion need to send over to mexico for trial or be trail on speed trale by the court so they get away for what they do the mexico need to send they cia to kill those atf for causeing those headace

    June 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  20. Tim Gibson

    Seriously, how ignorant could the idea be as to follow guns and see where they turn up. Someone, if not many, need to be held accountable for this as in put before the grand jury for legal crimes against humanity and against the USA. I think we call people who commit such crimes against the USA and it's people terrorist, or is that like the actions in Libya not being war.

    June 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  21. CHM

    Holy crap....CNN is ACTUALLY going to not ignore this anymore???? I hope they are realizing now how HUGE this Government scandal is. It's right up there with as criminal as Watergate! This should be the front page news of ALL national news, rather than dump this in furious scandal into hidden links and out of sight headlines. So far I'm "slightly" I'm impressed CNN , BUT, let's just all hope this isn't spun and diverted into some off base reason for more gun-control. Because HOW can a law enforcement agency ALLOWING the criminal action of straw buying, be reason to call for more laws?? The Family of Agent Brian Terry deserve more than that! Give them the respect they ask for, to bring who ever is accountable and responsible for this "Felony Stupid" decision in this current administration to justice!!

    June 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm |