The “Project Gunrunner” case is now pointing towards possible ATF sales of weapons bound for Honduras, including a reported 1,000 guns to members of the ruthless MS-13 gang. The program may be a spinoff or in some way related to “Operation Castaway,” and in reports it sounds remarkably similar to “Operation Fast and Furious.”
Last week, the Blaze reported on the controversy surrounding “Operation Fast and Furious,” an offshoot of the Project Gunrunner program. The Attorney General is under scrutiny after allegations that the ATF knowingly allowed straw buyers in the US to purchase weapons bound for Mexican drug cartels and “let them walk,” meaning they dropped surveillance on the buyers and lost track of the weapons.There are also accusations that as part of the Project Gunrunner program, ATF agents told gun store owners to sell to suspected criminals, against the owners’ objections, and that there was a top down ATF policy that accepted the weapons would cross international boundaries.
Now, there may be even more questions for the AG coming from Congress, as “Operation Castaway” or a similar area program may have placed weapons in the hands of MS-13, an international criminal syndicate.
New reporting in Examiner links the tactics and procedures of the “Fast and Furious” with “Operation Castaway,” and claims that Castaway may have delivered weapons to the notoriously violent MS-13 gang in Honduras. The Examiner’s post cites this September 2010 press release, from the Department of Justice, Middle District of Florida, to link Tampa ATF operations with the Project Gunrunner fiasco. Examiner also claims that:
“Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Tampa Field Division, ran a gun-running investigation that was walking guns to Honduras using the techniques and tactics identical to Fast and Furious, it was reported to these correspondents this evening via private correspondence from a proven credible source.”
Though a connection between the Gunrunner scandal and the Tampa ATF operation described above has not been definitively established, the Examiner is already accusing the Tampa ATF of a cover-up, writing:
“There are emails in existence where O’Brien has advised those involved that Tampa does not have to report their walked guns because Tampa FD is not a part of Southwest Border or Project Gunrunner. From a first person source she is sh*tting herself trying to cover it up.”
The political stakes for this case in Washington are high, and pressure is mounting on the Department of Justice and the Obama administration to fully explain Project Gunrunner to Congress. Thegatewaypundit has a post linking a Fox News video that lays out the fight on Capitol Hill currently underway, including rumors that a special prosecutor is being requested. Others, such as Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, just want a straight answer. Sen. Grassley is on camera stating “Either they were ignorant, or they were lying to us.
Congress gave the ATF $21 million in 2009, including $10 million in stimulus funds, and a year later the ATF was given $37 million more to expand Project Gunrunner.
In May, District Attorney Holder stated before Congress that he learned of the “Fast and Furious” program ‘over the last few weeks.’