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Public Statements

Guns and Money Sent to Cartels by U.S. Government

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. POE of Texas. Madam Speaker, when most people think of smuggling, they envision outlaws in the dark of night lawlessly shuffling around guns and money to other outlaws. Most people would never imagine that the government of the greatest nation of the world would be engaged in a stealth smuggling operation by sending guns and money to narcoterrorists.

It appears a group of people in the ATF and the DEA, all under the supervision of the Department of Justice, facilitated trafficking of guns and money to the drug cartels--the national enemy of Mexico and of the United States. These vicious cartels have inflicted terror on both sides of the border. They are literally at war with the Mexican people, the people to the south of us, our neighbors.

First we learned that the Justice Department, with the help of the ATF, apparently facilitated smuggling of over 2,000 weapons to the drug cartels. These guns included semiautomatic weapons and sniper rifles. People have died because of this activity. These weapons were used to kill at least 200 Mexican nationals and two U.S. agents.

The Attorney General admitted to me in the Judiciary Committee last week, more people are going to die, all because our government is helping the drug cartels in Mexico obtain automatic weapons.

Of the 2,000 weapons smuggled to Mexico, most are still unaccounted for. We don't know where they are.

The Attorney General is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer in the country, but he claimed last week in the Judiciary Committee he didn't know about Fast and Furious until recently. He either didn't read the memo or he didn't get the memo. What is more remarkable, Madam Speaker, he claims he doesn't know who authorized the smuggling ring. To coin a phrase from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the idea that Eric Holder, the head of the Department of Justice that oversaw this operation, was not involved or was unaware of what took place requires a ``willing suspension of disbelief.''

The question is: Is there a rogue group of moles operating stealth activity in the Department of Justice? Apparently, no one really knows. The Attorney General also admitted last week that this operation was in fact reckless.

It's worth noting, Madam Speaker, when a person recklessly causes the death of another person, it's the crime of manslaughter. If people under the Attorney General violated U.S. or international law, they need to be accountable for their actions.

It's been almost 1 year since Agent Brian Terry was murdered and when we first learned about this foolish operation we now know as Fast and Furious. Terry was killed by one of these smuggled guns to Mexico, but yet no one claims to know who is responsible.

The second part of the rogue operation was the apparent laundering of money to the Mexican narcoterrorists facilitated, once again, by the United States Government.

According to a New York Times report last week, undercover American narcotics agents from the DEA laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug money to the drug cartels. How many millions, no one knows. They allegedly handled the money on its path to the hands of the drug lords. This failed operation, like with the guns, was an effort to track the money and bring down the cartels. Of course, the cartels are as strong as ever.

The administration claimed in a statement last week that it was working with the Mexican Government on the operation on ``joint investigations to detect and dismantle money laundering networks.'' However, according to a spokesperson for President Calderon of Mexico, they had no idea the DEA was involved in this drug money laundering operation.

The DEA and the ATF are under the control of the Justice Department. These disturbing operations facilitated the worst kind of result: They have resulted in people dying. And millions of money and hundreds of guns are unaccounted for.

The drug cartels are the narcoterrorists. They are the enemy of Mexico and the U.S. They exist to obtain money and guns, and the United States helped them get both. Somebody needs to go to jail.

We need an independent counsel to investigate the Justice Department and the ATF. The Justice Department cannot be trusted to investigate themselves because the agency has lost credibility. Even Washington insiders responsible for Fast and Furious and money laundry smuggling cannot hide from the long arm of the American justice system because, Madam Speaker, justice is what we do in this country.

And that's just the way it is.

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