MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Embassy in Mexico was kept in the dark about a sting operation that fed American guns into the country, a cable revealed Monday shows.
In the July 2010 cable, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, the embassy advised the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to focus on arresting small-time Mexican gun traffickers living legally in the United States rather than drug cartels.
The diplomats were unaware that many of the weapons flooding across the border came from the ATF’s Fast and Furious operation. The agency eventually lost track of an estimated 1,700 guns it was trying to follow, and nearly 200 of them later turned up at crime scenes.
The cable also shows that well-informed diplomats disbelieved the premise of Fast and Furious, that Mexican cartels were running big gun-smuggling operations north of the border.
“The embassy knew something was awry when all these guns started showing up down there. But they were kept in the dark,” an official close to the case told the Times.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, plans to question more ATF officials Tuesday.