Washington, Oct 12 -
Madam Speaker, the United States Government has facilitated smuggling automatic weapons into Mexico, weapons that were purchased by straw buyers in the United States with the oversight of the ATF. Approximately 2,000 weapons were knowingly sent to our neighbors in Mexico by our government. Most of them are still unaccounted for. But we do understand that those weapons probably have been used illegally in Mexico to kill Mexican nationals. How many, no one knows.
Two of those automatic weapons have turned up at the murder scene in Arizona of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. And one weapon apparently was used to gun down U.S. agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico.
The Mexican government has taken to the airwaves complaining of the U.S. smuggling operation. Mexican officials want answers, and even want U.S. Government officials responsible to be extradited to Mexico for trial. No wonder.
Madam Speaker, let me be clear: These weapons are not BB guns or .22 rifles; they are semiautomatic weapons and also include sniper rifles. Sniper rifles are used to assassinate specific targets.
The ATF and the Justice Department have stonewalled the release of information regarding this operation called Fast and Furious, and the public's not getting much data on this idiotic idea. Why would the U.S. Government send automatic weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico? Mexico is at war with the drug cartels. The drug cartels are the enemy of the Mexican people, not to mention they are the enemy of the United States. This gun running issue is nonsense.
Now the Justice Department is supposed to investigate this operation, which includes investigating the ATF and the Justice Department. The Attorney General, who's head of the Justice Department, at first said he didn't know anything about this operation until recently. Now it seems evidence shows he was given a memo last year about the whole idea. Did he not read the memo? Granted, the Attorney General has experience not reading important documents, like the Arizona immigration law. You remember, Madam Speaker, the Attorney General publicly criticized the Arizona bill, and then he testified before the Judiciary Committee to a question I asked him that he hadn't even read that bill.
Anyway, if he didn't know about the smuggling operation, he should have; he's in charge. And if he did know about it and approved it, he should be held accountable for this nonsense. I'm not sure what the Attorney General's claim of defense will be this week. It reminds me of my days on the bench as a judge in Texas when a defendant in a homicide case would say first, I wasn't there. And then he would say, well, if I was there, it wasn't me. And if it was me, I acted in self-defense. In other words, don't hold me accountable.
So just what is this Justice Department's defense to all of this? We shall see. But the idea that the Justice Department should investigate the Justice Department and the ATF is absurd. The Justice Department has no credibility on this matter, and whatever their investigation shows, the American public cannot trust its trustworthiness. Having the Justice Department investigate Fast and Furious, the ATF, and the Justice Department is like having Al Capone investigate bootlegging. The President should appoint a special counsel to investigate this operation of government gun running to Mexico.
And that's just the way it is.