I’ve written before about “Operation Fast and Furious,” a disastrously misguided gun tracing operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) during the Obama Administration. The American news media hasn’t shown much interest in “Fast and Furious” — or the Justice Department’s stonewalling in response to questions about the project — but now Univision is picking up the slack and doing some fine reporting about the ill-conceived operation.
Univision has focused on the impact of the nearly 2,000 guns that the BATF allowed to be “walked” out of the United States into Mexico. Amazingly, the BATF lost track of the weapons, many of which ended up in the hands of Mexicans gangsters. Univision has identified “Fast and Furious” weapons that were used in murders, kidnappings, and mass killings. Some were used by hit men who opened fire on a birthday party of young people in Ciudad Juarez, killing 14 and leaving another 12 wounded. Others were part of an armed attack on a rehabilitation center where 18 people died. By any standard, the BATF’s operation has been a bloody disaster — and the human toll has fallen mostly on Mexico, which already had its hands full with drug lords and mounting violence even before the American government foolishly decided to allow hundreds of weapons to cross the border.
As the Univision report points out, the “Operation Fast and Furious” has become a political football in the United States, where the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to produce documents. As a result — and because the American media has failed to do its own investigative reporting on the matter — the massacres in Mexico with “Fast and Furious” firearms have been largely ignored north of the border.
Our government’s failure to fully acknowledge responsibility for the botched operation, and the bloodshed it has caused, is reprehensible. We can only hope that Univision’s effort to put a human face on the cost of “Operation Fast and Furious” might shame the U.S. government into action, and embarrass American journalists into doing their own reporting on this scandal.