So says that bastion of right-wing propaganda, The New York Times:
Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.
The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.
Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”
Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious
I suppose it’s progress of a sort when even The New York Times realizes something went horribly wrong in Fast and Furious. And even if the money laundering program was working, what chance does it have now that the cover has been blown?
Does anyone actually believe the Obama Administration has an effective, coherent plan to take down the cartels?
What next? Will we find out that U.S. agents actually carried out cartel assassinations?
The former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.
If Fast and Furious is any guide, those “hundreds of thousands of dollars” will turn out to be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)