While Operation Fast and Furious remains a thorn in U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s side, it looks like Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano may soon begin sharing the pain.
Sec. Napolitano recently informed the House Judiciary Committee she had no knowledge of Fast and Furious, but omitted to mention her own department was running Operation Armas Cruzadas.
Operation Armas Cruzadas highlights another crucial factor – that the Mexican government had more of a role in the cartel arms trafficking business than just playing the victim.
This new information dovetails with complaints by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents in the Phoenix office that complained Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from Team VII regularly called “dibs” on gun trafficking cases in order to “get credit” for splashy narco-related investigations. One agent explained that the atmosphere seemed more focused on press conferences and ego rather than commonsense.
The DHS memorandum reveals that ICE ran Operation Armas Cruzadas with the full knowledge of Arturo Chávez Chávez,Mexican Attorney General in an effort to ostensibly prosecute cartels in Mexico using U.S. intelligence and agents. This is a departure from Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Operation Fast and Furious where the Mexican government claimed it knew nothing about the gun-walking program.
The Mexican Attorney General agreed it was beneficial for both “…governments to work in a coordinated fashion to prevent, discourage and process arms traffickers,” the documents disclosed.
These documents demonstrate ICE remains more involved in the gun trafficking business than anybody knew or Sec. Napolitano was willing to admit to Congress.
However, Operation Armas Cruzadas doesn’t seem to include any input by ATF agents and this arms trafficking investigation has escaped scrutiny by the media. Perhaps, a bloated-bureaucratic DHS crossed its fingers hoping Operation Armas Cruzadas would not be discovered by the media?
Also, intelligence gathering in a post 9/11 world has accomplished a couple of things; first, it makes it easier for agencies to conduct investigations with little oversight under the guise of national security. And second, the infamous new age of electronic intelligence gathering provides law enforcement agencies with plausible deniability.
This is the first report concerning Operation Armas Cruzadas and a series of stories will provide more information on this gun-trafficking program in the coming days.
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