Media Mostly Yawns As More Fast and Furious Guns Are Recovered From 'Cradle of Narco-Trafficking'

On Wednesday at CBSnews.com, Sharyl Attkisson reported that "Three more weapons from Fast and Furious have turned up at crime scenes in Mexico."

A Google News search at 10 a.m. on ["Fast and Furious" guns] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, past 7 days, sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 26 relevant items. Very few (to be noted later) are from establishment press outlets.


Although there are spelling inconsistencies, the Justice Department tracing documents obtained by CBS indicate that two of the three guns were recovered in the northwestern Mexican city of Culiacán. The city was a segment subject in a PBS Frontline documentary published in 2000, where it was called "The Place Mexico's Drug Kingpins Call Home." Much more recently, a May 10, 2013 story at the New York Times called Culiacán "a cradle of narco-trafficking and drug violence."

Attkisson's report summarizes the latest recoveries, and succinctly recounts the history:

Two were purchased by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino in May and July of 2010. Sean Steward, who was convicted on gun charges in July 2012, purchased a third. The rifles were traced yesterday to the Lone Wolf gun shop in Glendale, Ariz.

During Fast and Furious and similar operations, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) encouraged the Lone Wolf and other gun stores to sell massive amounts of weapons to questionable purchasers who allegedly trafficked them Mexican drug cartels.

Patino is said to have purchased 700 guns while under ATF's watch. Ever since, a steady stream of the guns have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S. But the Justice Department has refused repeated requests from Congress and CBS News to provide a full accounting. An estimated 1,400 guns are still on the street or unaccounted for.

... ATF special agent John Dodson blew the whistle on his agency's gunwalking in an interview with CBS News in 2011.

The government first denied any guns had been allowed to "walk" into criminal hands. Later, the Justice Department acknowledged using the strategy, claiming it was intended to see where the weapons ended up in hopes of capturing a major cartel leader. But the agency ordered an immediate halt to the practice calling it highly improper.

The Justice Department's refusal to turn over certain Fast and Furious documents led to a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives in June 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Then, the Obama administration used executive privilege for the first time, to withhold requested documents from Congress. The Republican-led House Oversight Committee is suing for release of the material.

Fast and Furious guns have been involved in the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans and, as Attkisson's report noted, two federal law enforcement agents, the Border Patrol's Brian Terry and ICE's Jaime Zapata.

Establishment press coverage of the latest gun recovery information is sparse, with items at Fox News, the Washington Times, Pittsburgh's TribLive.com, an Investor's Business Daily editorial, the New York Post, the wire service UPI, and a few local newspaper and TV blogs.

Separate searches at the national web site of the Associated Press and at the New York Times on "fast and furious" (not entered in quotes) returned nothing and nothing relevant, respectively. At the Times on August 12, in covering Attorney General Eric Holder's attempt to shorten prison sentences for certain drug-related crimes, reporter Charlie Savage took time to whine:

The policy changes appear to be part of Mr. Holder’s effort, before he eventually steps down, to bolster his image and legacy. Turmoil over the Congressional investigation into the botched Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case ensnared him in the Obama administration’s first term, and more recently, controversy has flared over the department’s aggressive tactics in leak investigations.

Good luck with that "image and legacy," Eric. Objective history will not be kind, and shouldn't be.

The Friday evening IBD editorial put matters into perspective:

More Real Guns Found In Phony Fast And Furious Scandal

Rodeo clowns constitute a real crisis in media eyes, while deaths from the administration's gun-running operation to Mexican drug cartels are ignored as three more guns show up at crime scenes in Mexico.

The media have had a field day with a single, supposedly racist rodeo clown. But somehow, with few exceptions, mainstream media ignore the far-more-dangerous clowns in the Obama administration — those whose incompetence in the Fast and Furious scandal has led to human tragedy and deaths.

One exception is the relentless Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, who reported Wednesday that three more weapons from Fast and Furious, the administration gift that keeps on killing, have turned up at violent crime scenes in Mexico. CBS News reported all three guns are WASR-10 762-caliber Romanian rifles.

... Details of exactly where the guns were found and what the crimes were aren't known at this point. And the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Eric Holder, is not about to divulge that information or any information about the recovery of Fast and Furious weapons at crime scenes.

... These are all real deaths in a scandal President Obama still insists is "phony" — and one that much of the mainstream media have studiously ignored.

Read the whole thing for more of the history of a scandal which is far from phony — and far from adequately covered.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.