Latest on Project Gunwalker
I found much interesting on pp. 12-13 (of pdf pagination):
"Historically, ATF has placed much emphasis on the roles of the straw purchaser and the Federal firearms licensee in identifying and disrupting firearms trafficking schemes. However, straw purchasers by definition lack serious criminal records and therefore are frequently viewed as undesirable targets for criminal prosecution."
"FFLs remain both an important source of firearms (often unwittingly) to firearms traffickers and an investigative source of information. On occasion, FFLs become targets of criminal investigation and prosecution. When criminal wrongdoing by FFLs is suspected they will be aggressively investigated and recommended for prosecution. Corrupt FFLs constitute high-value targets due to the damage they cause and the special responsibility they hold to ensure that firearms are not illegally diverted from lawful commerce."
"Additionally, we must not overlook the fact that firearms traffickers and other violent criminals also obtain firearms from secondary sources... Analysis of source location trace data for specific market areas, when adjusted for time-to-crime, may not only reveal actionable investigative leads, but also that secondary sources (e.g.,gun shows, thefts and private sales) are a greater source of trafficked crime guns than licensed dealers."
"This strategy will present certain challenges as some of the persons we seek to investigate, indict, and apprehend will reside outside the United States and/or may be priority targets of other U.S. law enforcement agencies. When appropriate, this strategy envisions that ATF will refer information and actionable intelligence to the Government of Mexico and/or other U.S. law enforcement agencies."
Hmmm.... straw man purchasers are uninteresting targets. The cartels themselves are out of our reach. That seems to leave FFLs and gunshows.
And the responsibility for the agency-sponsored gun running seems to go right to the top. P. 18 is devoted to HQ monitoring of operations. "The monitoring and coordinating of Southwest border investigations will be the responsibility of the recently established Firearms Operations Division."
P. 19: "The controlled movement of firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosives devices, and/or components or non-functional “props” of such items across the U.S.-Mexico border from the United States shall be coordinated with and approved in advance by Bureau headquarters and the MCO [Mexico Country Office, of ATF]"