In 2009, over the protests of gun-shop owners who were reassured by federal agents, Jaime Avila purchased from gun shops in the Phoenix area 575 AK-47 type semi automatic rifles for “personal use.” The guns “walked” over the border into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.

Did the Obama Justice Department encourage gun purchases in the U.S. knowing the guns were illegally “walking” across the border to arm the Mexican drug cartels? Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, involved have come forward admitting it happened.

When some of these guns were used to kill Mexican law enforcement, military and civilians alike (as well as two U.S. federal officers) did the arming of the cartels by policy directive of the Justice Department constitute an act of war against Mexico? Members of the Mexican Congress think so and have opened their own investigation.

Obama has admitted to Mexican media that “mistakes were made” and he will hold “the responsible parties accountable”

To paraphrase an earlier investigation into executive misconduct, what did Attorney General Holder and President Obama know, and when did they know it?

The Mexican government versus the drug cartels war has taken tens of thousands of lives and cost billions of dollars. The Mexican narco gangs get weapons from a variety of sources, including from AWOL Mexican troops seeking better pay from the cartels and bringing their U.S. made and provided weapons with them.

But in 2009 and 2010 weapons privately purchased in the U.S. were ever more frequently found at violent Mexican drug crime scenes.

Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner were budgeted, official programs of ATF, an agency of the Justice Department, and they were programs ATF knew resulted in arming the cartels.

How did this happen?

In 2009, it became standard Obama & Co. political rhetoric to blame U.S. gun shops and gun shows for selling quantities of guns to “straw buyers” who then sent the guns south to arm the cartels, an evil that must be stopped, they said, through stricter U.S. gun-control laws.

What was not known then but has been revealed since is that the charge was correct, but it was the administration itself that encouraged the gun sales.

Reporter Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News blew the story wide open this spring in a series of on-air interviews with ATF agents who had been involved in Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner. These interviews of courageous whistle-blowing agents tell a story of federal government programs deliberately designed to arm the Mexican cartels and put the blame on American gun dealers.

ATF maintains that the idea was to let “little fish” go to snag the “big fish,” to set up an irresistible stream of weapons to lure the cartel capos to a bust. Was this a “sting” gone wrong or a later concocted cover story? No such bust ever occurred, and ATF now admits that it “lost track” of the weapons.

CBS reported that more than 2,500 guns were allowed to walk across the border. Mexican authorities have recovered hundreds of them at deadly Mexican crime scenes involving the cartels. And American authorities have now found these guns in drug-related crime scenes in the U.S.

Worse yet, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican cartel soldiers in Arizona, and two guns recovered from the scene were identified as coming from the “sting” that went wrong. The two guns were among those purchased with ATF approval over the objections of Phoenix-area gun shops by Jaime Avila.

CBS News reported last week that a Mexican army helicopter was downed by cartel gunfire, and again guns from the “sting” operations were recovered from the scene by Mexican authorities.

Meanwhile in the U.S., horrible destructive forest fires burn out of control in the Southwest; local newspapers report that an “unattended campfire” was the cause of the biggest blaze in Arizona. Camp Fire Girls? Boy Scouts?

The Mexican cartels have seized control of drug distribution in neighborhoods from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon. Dozens of entry points for drug and human smuggling are well defined and well known along the largely open 1,600-mile border. Law enforcement on both sides of that border are bought, compromised or killed.

Larry Link died, shot dead on his property 47 miles north of the border in Hildago County, New Mexico, two weeks ago. The area is a known drug-smuggling route, and locals go about routinely armed. No one was surprised at Mr. Link’s assassination. All along the border, Americans live in fear and increasingly under the influence of the cartels.

We are losing our country while the politicians in Washington play stupid games over border security.

One who is determined to get to the bottom of the gun-walking programs is Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has scheduled a public hearing today on the Gunrunner/Fast and Furious programs.

Issa’s subpoenas for more information have been stonewalled by Obama and Holder. In the last few days, facing Chairman Issa’s promise of contempt of Congress charges unless the subpoenas are complied with, new administration witnesses have been promised.

In Ronald Reagan’s second term, public disclosure that his administration had sold tactical missiles to Iran to fund the Contras fighting the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua without the knowledge of Congress ignited a firestorm that threatened Reagan with impeachment.

Chairman Issa told me in an interview that Iran/Contra had more controls over who got the missiles and what they were capable of than the guns that the Obama administration allowed to walk into Mexico and into the eager hands of the deadly Mexican cartels.

Did Obama and Holder approve and fund programs to help arm the Mexican cartels with weapons sold in the U.S. to achieve a gun-control objective? The Issa hearings could give us an answer to that question.

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