On Friday the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City released this.
March 11, 2011 – Because of the attention given to this issue, the Embassy of the United States would like to issue the following clarification:
There is no contradiction between the statement of the Mexican government and the information provided by the United States concerning an operation that dismantled a major arms trafficking ring that has been called Fast and Furious. The operation took place on U.S. territory and arrested 20 defendants on January 25, 2011.
After the arrests on January 25, reports emerged alleging that the operation could have entailed a transfer of arms from the United States to Mexico. Attorney General Holder has called for an investigation. He has stated unequivocally that such actions, if true, “would not be acceptable.” He affirmed that he “made that clear to attorneys and agents in charge of ATF.”
The Mexican Government has stated that “it had no knowledge of an operation that might include the transgression or the controlled trafficking of arms to Mexican territory.” The briefings that took place between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement focused on operations on U.S. territory to crack down on trafficking operations. The alleged transfer of arms to Mexican territory at this point is exactly that – an allegation. Attorney General Holder has underscored that he takes “those allegations seriously.” He said “that is why I asked the IG (Inspector General) to report on it.”
The Government of Mexico has constructively “offered whatever support might be necessary in order to clearly establish the facts.” This type of mutual support is reflective of our common objectives to stop the illicit movement of arms, drugs and money that threaten both Mexican and U.S. citizens.
I think the proper term to describe this press release is not clarification but spin. This is especially true when you examine this map of recovered firearms for Operation Fast and Furious. It was released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. It shows 372 firearms recovered in the United States and 195 firearms recovered in Mexico. So if the U.S. Attorney’s Office says 195 firearms were recovered in Mexico, is this just “an allegation”?
I suggest the Press Attache’ in the U.S Embassy to Mexico check to make sure they won’t be immediately contradicted when they issue a press release in the future. As it is, they are the public face of the United States government in Mexico and this release is an embarrassment.