This morning (14 Jun 11) the Washington Post published an article entitled: US report: 70 percent of arms seized, traced in Mexico came from US -- a piece so misleading that it must have been written by Anthony Weiner! (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/us-report-70-percent-of-arms-seized-traced-in-mexico-came-from-us/2011/06/13/AGR2TlTH_story.html ) I would suggest that it should be a candidate for a WaPo Fact Checker column where it would certainly merit four Pinocchios! The first paragraph of the story states:
MEXICO CITY — About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico and submitted to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States, according to a report released by three U.S. senators Monday.
Note the crafty (and misleading) wording of the first sentence that even contradicts the headline, or at least qualifies it: “About 70 percent of the guns seized in Mexico AND SUBMITTED to a U.S. gun-tracing program came from the United States…” At least this article reduces the allegation to 70%; in the past the Obama administration’s ATF has maintained “over 90% of these firearms originated in the US” but have had to back-peddle on this since U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) made the ATF admit “the 90% figure cited to Congress was misleading because it applied only to the small fraction of Mexican crime guns that are traced and Mexico only attempts to trace guns that most likely can be traced to the US.” A Nov 10 OIG analysis of ATF data suggest a much lower percentage really come from the US and a recent Feb 11 STRATFOR (a widely respected global intelligence company) analysis calculated almost 90 percent of the guns seized in Mexico are NOT from the US.
In 2009, Mexico reported that they held 305,424 confiscated firearms, but only submitted 69,808 to the ATF for tracing. The gap between seizures and traces and the fact they only submit those likely to come from the US puts in serious question whether any significant number of illegal guns in Mexico really come from here.
It should also be noted that the most commonly recovered firearm is the old Soviet AK-47 type rifles which is NOT manufactured in the US and that most US military grade weapons are acquired by the cartels through the huge supply of arms left over from the wars in Central America and Asia. It has also been reported that there have been 150,000 desertions 2003-09 from the Mexican army (about 1/8th desert annually) and many of them take their issued automatic rifles with them.
Given all this, maybe we’re talking SIX Pinocchios!