The whole mess immediately became an embarrassment for the Obama administration. But, the ATF's "sell guns to cartels and then maybe try to catch them if we've got time" plan actually dates back to the Bush Administration. "Project Gunrunner" (at least they were honest with the name) kicked off in 2006. "Operation Wide Receiver" was a subset of the overall project, centered around Arizona. "Operation Fast And Furious," the one you've actually heard about, launched in 2009.
For our source, who did nothing but exactly what the law told him, watching the bloody aftermath of the scandal was traumatic:
"Our initial thought was how many of these can be pointed across the border at our guys? We were a large store ... you meet these border patrol agents coming to pick up extra stuff. Man, how awful am I gonna feel if one of these guys gets plugged with a weapon I sold?"
"Sorry, James. The F in ATF doesn't stand for feelings."
Well, worry not, James, because the victims were mostly-
"And it's not gonna feel any better if I hear about some village in Mexico getting wiped out."
Oh. Well, crap. Sorry, man -- at least 150 Mexican civilians have been hurt or killed by weapons the ATF let enter Mexico.
And how many bad guys did they get? Thirty-four. Not all of them went to prison, and none of them were cartel bigwigs. Meanwhile, check out this picture of a gun cache from El Chapo's hide-out:
That's a Barrett .50 caliber rifle, confirmed to have gotten to Mexico via the ATF's gun-running program. Hell, our source might have sold El Chapo that very rifle.
Maybe, he'll see this and send a thank you card.
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