A congressional committee chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., may have moved on to other Obama administration scandals, but Arizonans still want answers to unanswered questions about the Fast and Furious gun-running project that sent thousands of weapons to drug lords in Mexico.
Will they get them?
Not if an alleged conspiracy of intimidation and enforced silence wins.
Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association President Noble Hathaway said it angers Arizonans that it looks like the federal officials involved with Fast and Furious “got away with it.”
“To Arizonan’s it looks like they all got promotions and were commended for executing this scheme. I hope I am wrong but that is the appearance it had,” Hathaway said.
“By having the top people in management saying they did not know about it, this is worse than just saying they made a mistake and moving on. Not many in this administration preach personal responsibility though so it’s par for the course,” he said.
A former U. S. intelligence and State Department security officer who still has connections in the State Department says he knows why “they got away with it.”
The operative, who asked not to be named, said silence is part of the deal.
“It is highly likely that gun shops in Arizona were forced to assist the U. S. government [in] getting the Fast and Furious guns and ammunition out of the country into Mexico,” he said. “As a result, the gun shops don’t dare elucidate in public on this issue.”
He said many of Arizona’s gun shops were intimidated into cooperating with the federal government and now are being intimidated into silence.
“The government intimidation process included a threat to restrict gun shops’ acquisition of these products through stiffer regulations of the products. This was done by executive action,” he said.
There is evidence that the former intelligence operative and security officer’s claims are on target.
A gun shop owner who declined to allow WND to use his name said he believes that the reason the issue has faded from public and that no gun shops will talk to the media is political pressure.
One gun shop owner refused to speak on the record and referred WND to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform spokeswoman Becca Watkins.
WND contacted several gun shops in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, and all but one declined to be interviewed about the Fast and Furious investigation. Their response was, “We’re not interested.”
Hathaway said he’s aware that other issues have taken center stage in the country, but because Arizonans want answers, he wants the Fast and Furious investigation to remain alive.
“I hope that after all the other government scandals have been resolved that some focus will again be turned to this issue. It’s just one more reason that the U.S. citizen is becoming very distrustful of their government,” Hathaway said.
“In this instance (it’s the government) wanting to keep the honest citizen from owning a certain firearm but giving 2,000 of them to the drug cartels and bandits south of the border. Go figure,” Hathaway said.
One gun shop owner was willing to go on the record. Black Weapons Armory spokesman Tommy Rompel said he believes some firearms dealers refused to talk to the media because they fear the media more than the government.
“My sense is that they’re paranoid about talking to the press. They’re afraid the media will take their words out of context,” Rompel said.
Hathaway said even though Fast and Furious it not in the headlines every night, “I believe we Arizonans are still concerned with this.
“I would say we are still vigilant on this matter and have not forgotten this misguided venture by the Justice Department,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway said the people of his state have a practical reason to be concerned.
“We are the ones most likely to be killed by this bad element south of our borders which had so many guns put in their hands by the U.S.,” Hathaway said.
He said he doesn’t believe the sales to Mexican crime rings are continuing.
“Every dealer I knew and do know was and is very conscious of not putting firearms in the hands of drug dealers and other vermin,” he said. But the drug dealers now already have the guns.
He said, “We want good citizens to be armed and our families protected from these violent people operating in and out of our state.”