CBS News has obtained secretly recorded conversations that raise questions as to whether some evidence is being withheld in the murder of a Border Patrol agent.
The tapes were recorded approximately mid-March 2011 by the primary gun dealer cooperating with ATF in its “Fast and Furious” operation: Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Arizona. He’s talking with the lead case ATF case agent Hope MacAllister.
The tapes have been turned over to Congressional investigators and the Inspector General.
As CBS News first reported last February, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to “walk” onto the streets without interdiction into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in its operation “Fast and Furious.”
The conversations refer to a third weapon recovered at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
At first it was reported that two AK47 rifles were recovered at the scene of Border Agent Brian Terry's murder. It was further reported that the FBI had secured the crime scene and if there was a third weapon recovered it was not known to the ATF. This audio reveals that the ATF knew about the third gun for sometime. Apparently Howard was doing a little CYA project and who could blame him?
ATF case agent Hope MacAllister has been an enigmatic character in this case. She was not called to testify before Rep. Issa's committee. About the time of the hearing she was given some kind of Mickey Mouse award without any immediate reason. It was later explained. From CBS news:
"Today, ATF explained why MacAllister has been singled out for ATF's national "Lifesaving Award": in a separate case, she helped aid a wounded suspect so that he could be transported to the emergency room."
Although not a supervisor MacAllister was a "team player" and had enough stroke to order Agent Olindo Casa to "stand down".
"My role during the daily surveillances was that of Shift Supervisor. As the Shift Supervisor my responsibility was to oversee the surveillance agents at the direction of Case Agent MacAllister, Co-Case Agent English, and/or Group Supervisor David Voth. In general, my fears were realized while out on the aforementioned surveillances. On numerous occasions the surveillance team followed straw purchasers to Phoenix area firearms dealers and would observe the straw purchasers buy and then depart with numerous firearms in hand. Those firearms included but were not limited to AK-47 variant rifles, .50 caliber rifles, and 5.7mm FN pistols, all of which are devastating weapons. On many of those occasions, the surveillance team would then follow the straw purchasers either to a residence, a public location, or until the surveillance team was spotted by the straw purchasers. But the end result was always the same – the surveillance was terminated by the Case Agent MacAllister, Co-Case Agent English or Supervisor Voth, without interdicting or seizing the firearms. On several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms in such a manner that would only further the investigation, but I was always order to stand down and not to seize the firearms. I made these requests “over the air” and have many law enforcement witnesses that can verify my assertions. I challenge anyone to disprove my statements."
I could be that I'm wrong but it strikes me odd that MacAllister would be getting an award while her boss was being reassigned. Up until this audio surfaced she had avoided any blame or culpability now it looks like her luck may have changed.