As the Drug War rages in Mexico to the tune of nearly 30,000 deaths since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared warfare on the drug cartels, a U.S. House panel has revealed how illegal guns were knowingly allowed to cross from the United States into Mexico.
Fox News reports: "A U.S. law enforcement operation intended to crack down on major weapons traffickers on the Southwest border spiraled out of control as federal agents were told by superiors to 'stand down' and ignore weapons bought in Arizona headed for Mexico."
Federal investigators testified they wanted to "intervene" on the shipment of guns but were told to look the other way.
Apparently, the plan was to allow the shipment to reach criminals -- then bust those individuals.
"Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals -- this was the plan," John Dodson, an ATF agent who testified to the panel. "It was so mandated... My supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest, but rather, to keep the straw purchaser under surveillance while allowing the guns to walk."
ATF agent Olindo James Casa said that "on several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms."
According to Fox, "the program came to a crashing halt in January with the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, shot by an AK-47 purchased a year earlier by Jamie Avila, a known gun smuggler who had been under ATF surveillance since November 2009."
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Fox News that accountability is needed and the only question is how high does it go.
"The president said he didn't authorize it, and that the attorney general didn't authorize it. They have both admitted that quote unquote a serious mistake may have been made," he said. "There are a lot of questions and a lot of investigating to do, but one thing has become clear already -- this was no mistake."