The violence in Mexico is nothing new but links to the US, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and their connection to some of the weapons used in the drug war violence is. Operation Fast and Furious was an ATF program designed to intercept gun-trafficking criminals and to identify Mexican drug cartel leaders and smuggling routes across the border by allowing illegal purchases of firearms and tracking the weapons. However, the botched gun sting racket resulted in many guns disappearing. Not surprisingly, many of the vanished weapons linked to the controversial operation have been tied to violent crimes in Mexico including murders and kidnappings.

Violence Hits Close To Home

In December 2010, border patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered in Arizona by weapons that were part of the Fast and Furious program.  Though this terrible tragedy was the first we heard of weapons trafficking disaster, it is not the last. The Justice Department has confirmed that Fast and Furious firearms have been linked to at least 11 violent crimes in the US in addition to Brian Terry’s murder.  Additionally, it is possible that weapons started turning up at crime scenes in throughout Arizona and Texas as early as January 2010.

Despite the early links in the US to the weapons, the program was not terminated until January of this year. Amongst reports that the ATF’s acting director, Kenneth E. Melson probably knew of the operation early on, perhaps even December 2009 - a month after the program began, questions are popping up about ‘Why’? Why was this disaster of a program allowed to continue for as long as it did?

Fast and Furious Congressional Review

Congress is not only reviewing the failed gun-tracking program Operation Fast and Furious, Melson and the ATF, they have formally asked the Obama administration to turn over copies of "all records" involving three key White House national security officials and the program, other ATF gun cases in Phoenix, and all communications between the White House and the ATF field office in Arizona.

What do you think? Should Operation Fast and Furious have been made public sooner? Would we have found out at all if no one in the US had been killed?