CBS News And Arms Smuggling To Mexico

CBS News is running a special investigation into the smuggling of firearms to Mexico. US government officials estimate that the cartels are smuggling 2,000 firearms a day across the Mexican border. The way it works is that the cartels alerts buyers in the US who are not prohibited persons of their needs, they transfer the guns to brokers, and then the guns go to smugglers who take the firearms across the border to the cartels. Buyers are reported to be spread across all 50 states.

To combat this, ATF established Project Thor which ran from 2018 until 2021 according to former Senior Special Agent Chris Demlein. Funding for the project ended with the 2022 budget.

Demlein led the first interagency intelligence project aimed at identifying and dismantling the cartels’ international weapons supply chains across the U.S. Within months of its launch on July 25, 2018, the initiative, known as Project Thor, connected the dots between hundreds of disparate law enforcement cases, uncovering vast networks that give these criminal groups on-demand access to American guns. They briefed hundreds of government officials on their discoveries, including the National Security Council and senior Justice Department leadership.

Below is an inforgraphic created by the DEA to show how the smuggling networks operated.

CBS Investigative Reporter Adam Yamaguchi was allowed by a gun smuggler to show how they hid the firearms in a car. The skeptic in me wonders why the cartels would allow this. The report below goes on to say the firearms are used by the drug cartels to protect their trade in drugs like fentanyl, meth, cocaine, and narcotics. It does make note that there is only one official firearms store in Mexico and it is on a military base. He also speaks of “military grade weapons” without acknowledging the role that diversion of firearms from the Mexican military has played.

His video as seen on the CBS Evening News is here.

The full 22 minute CBS Reports documentary can be viewed here.

The last time CBS News investigated arms smuggling to Mexico they did real journalism. That was back in 2011-2013 and the investigative reporter was Sharyl Attkisson who is long gone from CBS. She won an Emmy for her work exposing the role of ATF in Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker. That was where ATF made FFLs sell guns to known gun runners so they could supposedly trace them to Mexico. The problem was that they quickly lost track of the firearms and they were used by cartel gunmen to kill two Federal LEOs plus over Mexican nationals.

Lest we forget, this sad episode was actually uncovered by the combined work of citizen journalists David Codrea and the late Mike Vanderboegh. Eventually Congressional hearings were held, DOJ stonewalled, and then AG Eric Holder was found in Contempt of Congress.

For those whom Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker is something new, I suggest searching my blog using the term “Gunwalker”. I had quite a few pages devoted to it. Even better is to go to David Codrea’s “A Journalist’s Guide to Project Gunwalker” and follow his posts from the defunct Gun Rights Examiner. You can also go to Mike’s Sipsey Street Irregulars blog. While posting stopped soon after his death from cancer in 2016, the blog is still online and it can be searched.

It is important to remember that whatever the official justification for Operation Fast and Furious was, the real reason was that the Obama Administration wanted to build support for more gun control. Given the number of ex-Obama Administration officials in the Biden Administration, should we expect any less from them? The mainstream media acts even more like the propaganda arm of the administration now than they ever did in the Obama years.

Agreeing With RFK Jr.

It is a weird world we live in. I saw a tweet by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. with which I actually agreed.

We watched the CBS Evening News tonight and even the barest of facts had an editorial attached to them. The script that Norah O’Donnell was reading might just as well have been written by Chat GPT – or Big Brother.

Update On Investigation Of ATF For Waste And Fraud

Catherine Herridge of CBS News had an update on her investigation into waste and fraud at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. She reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has become involved. Sen. Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is very serious on protecting whistleblowers in government.

Sen. Grassley has now sent letters demanding answers to Attorney General Merrick Garland and BATFE Acting Director Marvin Richardson. He has also sent a letter asking the Office of Personnel Management about their suspension of BATFE’s ability to classify certain law enforcement positions. All the letters were quite detailed and indicated his office had significant knowledge of the affair.

It should be remembered that Sen. Grassley was one of the very first politicians that demanded an investigation into Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker. He worked closely with then-Chair of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Darrell Issa to get answers.

The Question Not Asked On 60 Minutes

Lesley Stahl had a long piece on so-called smart guns last night on CBS’ 60 Minutes. She talked to a lot of people including New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg. Here is the part of the transcript where Stahl speaks with Weinberg and intersperses it with comments from a Maryland FFL.

Loretta Weinberg, the New Jersey state senator who authored the law, didn’t foresee its consequences.

Loretta Weinberg: We passed that bill to help spur this technology.

Lesley Stahl: It appears it totally backfired because it spurred this passionate objection to the gun.

Loretta Weinberg: Because of the intervention of the NRA and the Second Amendment folks.

Lesley Stahl: That, they say, the reason they intervened is because of the mandate.

Loretta Weinberg: Right. It isn’t the law that’s stopped the development. It is the people who threatened folks who actually wanted to sell such a gun.

Andy Raymond came to realize that even if he had sold the Armatix gun in Maryland, it might’ve triggered the mandate, banning the sale of regular handguns in New Jersey.

[Andy Raymond: The people of New Jersey: my apologies. You got nothing to worry about from me.]

Andy Raymond: I did apologize. I’m… I’m sorry. Sorry to this day.

Lesley Stahl: Did you actually sell any of the Armatix guns?

Andy Raymond: No.

After his case came to her attention, the New Jersey senator offered to rescind the mandate if the gun lobby publicly removed its opposition to smart guns. She’s yet to hear back.

Loretta Weinberg: They seem to oppose almost everything. Anytime we suggest anything we’ve gotten very little cooperation back.

Lesley Stahl: If the law were completely repealed, do you think that the gun lobby would then let this go forward?

Loretta Weinberg: No.

Earlier in the story, Stahl said that the so-called smart guns could help on-duty cops because it would prevent criminals from using the cop’s gun on the cop as has been the case so often. As the story shows, it worked for James Bond in the movie Skyfall when a bad guy tried to shoot 007 with his own gun.

The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law mandates that once the Attorney General of that state certifies that so-called smart or personalized handguns are available for retail sale anywhere in the United States that only these sort of guns can be sold to consumers in New Jersey. However, there are exceptions and the biggest one is this:

b. The provisions of this section shall not apply to handguns to be sold, transferred, assigned
and delivered for official use to: (1) State and local law enforcement officers of this State; (2)
federal law enforcement officers and any other federal officers and employees required to carry
firearms in the performance of their official duties and (3) members of the Armed Forces of the
United States or of the National Guard.

 Given this large and glaring exception to the personalized handgun mandate in New Jersey, why didn’t Ms. Stahl ask Sen. Weinberg something along these lines:

Stahl: Sen. Weinberg, given that police officers guns are often turned on them by criminals, why did you specifically exempt law enforcement officers from your bill?

Weinberg: Ummm. Because cops need a reliable gun and this technology is not reliable? Can we get back to talking about how it is the NRA’s fault that none of these guns are available for sale!

I would posit that Stahl did not ask the question because she already knew the answer or, at least, the producers of the segment knew it. To ask the question would have muddied the narrative and that just wouldn’t do.

You can see the whole episode here.

CBS News – Back In Good Graces With The White House?

There had been some hope for CBS News. They seemed to be the only one of the old Big Three networks that seemed willing to say anything negative about the Obama Administration. This was especially true in the reporting of investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson who won an Emmy for her reporting on Project Gunwalker.

Politico reported this afternoon that Attkisson and CBS News had parted ways.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has reached an agreement to resign from CBS News ahead of contract, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations, sources familiar with her departure told POLITICO on Monday.

Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.

I imagine the foul-mouthed little fascists that run the White House Office of Communications as well as the flacks at the Justice Department are jumping up and down with joy over this development.  The fellow travelers in the newsroom at CBS News who cringed over Ms. Attkisson’s objective reporting must be overjoyed that her dissonant voice is gone.

As for Ms. Attkisson, she will continue working on a book with the tenative title, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington.

Bob Schieffer And Godwin’s Law

Cam Edwards of NRA News fisks Bob Schieffer of CBS News and his attempt to invoke Godwin’s law with regard to the NRA. Godwin’s Law states that the longer an online discussion goes on that the likelihood of someone invoking Hitler or the Nazis approaches one.

Schieffer said that if we could find and kill Osama bin Laden, pass civil rights, and defeat the Nazis then America surely could take on the easier task of defeating the gun lobby. The only problem is that as Cam points out the gun lobby isn’t a bunch of gun manufacturers – it is you and me. So what Bob Schieffer really wants to do is to take away the civil rights of gun owning Americans just like that other group did in 1930s Germany.

Gene Hoffman On The CBS Evening News

As SayUncle said, “Hey, I know that guy.”

Gene Hoffman was interviewed by CBS correspondent Ben Tracy yesterday on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. He gave a great interview and explained the popularity of the AR-15.

Interestingly enough, they never mentioned that Gene is the chairman of the CalGuns Foundation which is probably just as well. They only identified him as an “Internet entrepreneur”.

One of the better quotes from the interview:

 “Look, the right to firearms, the civil right to firearms, is dangerous
and that’s why it’s a right. This isn’t something that’s free or easy.
There will always be people who disagree with it.” he added.

And another great quote:

“The AR-15 is the kind of mainline rifle these days. It’s the most
popular selling firearm. It’s kind of like talking about a Chevrolet,”
Hoffman said.

Gene is a great spokesman on this issue. He is a good public speaker and comes across really well on TV. He looks like the guy next door which is exactly the image that we need to get out there.

This Ad Irritates Me

The Obama campaign has been playing the ad below virtually non-stop in western North Carolina for the past couple of weeks.

CBS News Anchor and 60 Minutes Correspondent Scott Pelley’s question is ignorant and the Obama campaign just loves it.

Why do I find the question ignorant?

First, it ignores totally that any capital that Mitt Romney invested has already been taxed once. This is not pre-tax or tax-deferred monies upon which no tax was withheld. Romney has already paid tax on the capital invested and probably at a 35% rate or higher. I say higher because the original investment could very well be from 2002 or earlier. If so, Romney paid anywhere from 38.6% to 39.6% in taxes on this money.

Second, by focusing in on the relative amount of tax paid by Romney, Pelley ignores the absolute amount in dollar terms – $2.8 million. Thanks to the astute investment managers who run his blind trust who generated a $20 million long-term capital gain, Mitt Romney has just paid more in taxes than most people earn in a lifetime.

Third, Mr. Pelley should be asking why Obama supporter Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (of which I am a shareholder) has never paid a dividend. One answer is that dividends are taxed at a higher rate than capital gains. If Buffett paid himself a dividend, he would have to pay more taxes.

Fourth, it is good public policy to tax long-term capital gains at a lower rate than ordinary income. It provides an incentive for investors to put up the money needed for business growth. If there is no business growth, there are fewer jobs. Fewer jobs also mean lower tax revenues. When capital gains rates have been lowered in the past there was a net increase in revenues even though the rates were lower.

Finally, I hate both the ad and the question for the divisive “us versus them” attitude it takes. This is America where we celebrate risk takers and not some Euro-socialist country that has driven out all the entrepreneurs.

Request For DOJ IG To Investigate Zapata Murder

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News is reporting this afternoon that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have sent a letter to Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice Inspector General, requesting that he investigate the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata. The murder weapons used in Zapata’s death have been traced to guns that ATF allowed to be walked.

According to the letter, ATF may have had probable cause to arrest
two firearms dealers before they bought and trafficked a weapon used to
murder Zapata, who was on assignment in Mexico. “Only after Agent Zapata
was murdered…and one of the weapons was traced back” to suspect
Otilio Osorio “did ATF finally arrest Otilio, his brother and a third
suspect for their gun trafficking activity,” reads the letter.

investigators say ATF had earlier witnessed the Osorio brothers in a
Walmart parking lot providing 40 weapons with obliterated serial numbers
to be trafficked to Mexico. It was what’s known as a “controlled
delivery,” meaning law enforcement officials were monitoring the sale.
In this case it was part of a joint investigation with the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA). But “ATF failed to confront the two
individuals” leaving them to continue to allegedly traffic weapons,
including one used in Zapata’s killing, according to the letter.

The DOJ IG’s office is said to be reviewing the request.

Ben Stein On The Need For Gun Control…Or Not

Economist, lawyer, and actor Ben Stein provides an occasional editorial comment on CBS’s Sunday Morning. Today’s topic was gun control. Contrary to what one usually gets on guns from the mainstream media, this was actually good.

Stein felt the calls for more gun control as well as the attempts to demonize the NRA are misplaced. He pointed out that in places like Chicago, LA, and DC which have strong gun control laws there are many more shootings than in a place like northern Idaho where carrying guns is quite common. While Stein is not sure what the correct answer is, gun control isn’t it.

We know that gun control is a failure and that it will never stop madmen. If we want to prevent the aberrant shootings like Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colorado, I think the answer lies in the mental health realm. This is what Clayton Cramer has been saying for a while now and I think he is correct.