U.S. gov’t admits Border Patrol agents outgunned along border
As reported in this column in March 2011 and by other fellow Examiners, confidential sources indicated U.S. Border Patrol’s agents’ primary weapons while on duty were non-lethal bean bags when they operated in notorious trafficking corridors along the U.S./Mexican border. Seventeen months later, that report has been confirmed by DOJ’s unsealed indictment.
The same confidential sources have made unconfirmed reports that the non-lethal force (bean bags) directive came in a memo from none other than Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security to appease the Mexican government. In other words, Napolitano could have made a decision to place U.S. agents in a position of being out-gunned by cartel members that entered the U.S. illegally to traffic in humans and drugs to protect heavily armed cartel members from U.S. law enforcement.
The Guardian, a British paper said Mexican officials are also furious about the recent spate of border shootings. “… The Mexican government has reiterated that the disproportionate use of lethal force in immigration control is unacceptable under any circumstances,” Mexico‘s foreign relations ministry said in a news release. The same officials also called on the U.S. for more transparency and thorough investigations.
Backing up Mexico’s cries was, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), a member of the Hispanic Caucus and a 26-year veteran of the border patrol, who wrote a letter in May to Attorney General Eric Holder, noting that high-profile deaths on the border, such as those of Hernández-Rojas and Hernandez Guereca, have “left many doubts about the judicial process in the communities where these deaths have occurred.”
Curiously, a criminal case currently before the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Defendant Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, a high-ranking Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel leader in U.S. custody, claims he is an informant for the U.S. government. Zambada-Niebla told a number of attorneys that he would provide detailed information on the ruthless Los Zetas cartel in return for immunity. He further contends the U.S. government allowed 747 planes filled with drugs to fly into America unfettered. His lawyer also alleges the cartel leader may have information about the Fast and Furious gun-walking program that could be damning for federal law enforcement agencies.
Ironically, a number of high-ranking cartel leaders continue to claim they are getting military-grade weaponry from the U.S. government, but it’s worth pointing out they are facing trial for serious crimes including multiple murders. These same cartel henchmen claim to be working with multiple federal law enforcement agencies to out their competition. This claim is consistent with DOJ Attorney General, Eric Holder’s testimony under oath that Main Justice approved Fast and Furious under OCDETF.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) is a highly secretive interagency oversight committee run by DOJ and is responsible for coordination of high-profile operations. Andrew McCarthy, a National Review writer and former DOJ employee explains, “To carry such (DOJ) cases off demands mega manpower. Besides developing and exploiting informants, the agencies infiltrate criminal conspiracies with undercover agents, use the information gathered as the basis for wiretaps, and coordinate this eavesdropping with physical surveillance. It takes scores of agents to monitor bugs, conduct sometimes 24/7 spying on multiple subjects, and manage informants, who tend to be very high-maintenance. This costs money, lots of money.”
In another poignant truism about cartel informants Rusty Fleming, the Border Wars filmmaker, said he recently talked to one such ATF informer and found some startling news. “When I met with him to talk about the Fast and Furious Operation, he told me that he would not be crossing over back into the U.S. When we did finally met outside of Juarez, he explained to me that his involvement with the Fast and Furious Operation had put his life and the lives of family in danger. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the cartel he’s afraid of. He’s more afraid of what the U.S. government will do to him because of the information he has. Nearly one half of the weapons that were allowed to walk came thru (sic) the El Paso corridor, and he was instrumental in that process. But now he’s on the run from the same people that paid him to do what he did. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where all of this is going.”
As compelling as all this information might be, the questions that still have not been asked are why multiple federal agencies, including ICE (previous ICE article here) participated in a program so convoluted it was destined to fail?
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.