First, it was President Biden’s age receiving more attention in the liberal media. And now, it’s...the border? That certainly appeared to be the case on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as ABC rediscovered the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and CBS blew the whistle on a gun-running scheme by Mexican drug cartels that was tracked by government agents until the Biden regime shuttered it in 2021.
Not surprisingly, ABC completely left the Biden administration’s role in this crisis out of the story and CBS only gingerly inferred malfeasance (with NBC out to lunch).
The Wednesday edition of ABC’s Good Morning America had the full story on the surge. Co-host Michael Strahan set the table in an opening tease: “Border crisis. Officials overwhelmed as a new surge brings thousands of migrants into the U.S., as some areas consider declaring a state of emergency.”
Co-host Robin Roberts delivered the lead-in to correspondent Matt Rivers’s report from the border: “Now the growing crisis at the border. Officials are overwhelmed as thousands of migrants are crossing into the U.S. from Texas to California. Some areas are now considering declaring a state of emergency.”
Rivers began by acknowledging “a brief lull earlier this summer,” but that’s no longer the case.
Rivers dropped the hammer with the stunning numbers:
In El Paso Texas the region has seen a seven-day spike in encounters averaging 1,200 per day....Since [the end of Title 42], city officials say the lowest number of daily encounters was around 300. But last week, it spiked to roughly 1,700. And in Pima County, Arizona, the county saying CBP encountering an average of more 2,000 migrants per day throughout the region. In Tucson, Arizona, one local group said they're helping shelter around 1,200 migrants per day. But say Border Patrol is all dropping other migrants well outside the city....Here in San Diego, Border Patrol bringing more than 2,000 migrants into the county in less than a week.
After reading a tweet from the mayor of El Cajon, California warning “this is a disaster” with his city’s emergency room and homeless shelters full, Rivers made sure to touch on the supposed plight of New York City “being overwhelmed with new migrants” with “[m]ore than 113,000 asylum seekers...in the last year.”
Rivers left with a reminder of how this was unlikely to stop:
And we're just back from a reporting trip where we went down to the Columbia/Panama border. We saw a record number of migrants crossing from South America up to Central America. The vast majority of whom want to come here..
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell explained in a stunning lead-in that CBS had “in-depth reporting on gun smuggling from the U.S. into Mexico” consisting of “[h]ighly sophisticated gun-running networks...arming Mexican cartels with military-grade American weapons”.
Correspondent Adam Yamaguchi spoke with former ATF agent Chris Demlein, who said it’s a “story the American people need to know” about and that, despite it having borne fruit, the Biden administration shuttered what was known as Project Thor (click “expand”):
YAMAGUCHI: Demlein led a law enforcement team that made a startling discovery in 2018.
DEMLEIN: I had an intel analyst come to me one day. It was instantly apparent that the cartels had large-scale covert weapons trafficking networks all across the U.S.
YAMAGUCHI: To stop it, they launched what, according to the ATF, would be the first U.S. intelligence-based project focused on international weapons trafficking. They called it Thor. This story is based on exclusively obtained government documents and interviews with half-a-dozen current and former officials with direct knowledge. The full scope of Project Thor has never been reported until now. In a matter of months, Project Thor discovered dozens of cartel gun-running networks in America. They estimated that up to one million firearms are smuggled across the border every year. Here’s how it works. When narcos want guns, they activate a phone tree, calling accomplices who live across the U.S. Thor tracked buyers as far north as Maine and even Alaska. These people are paid to buy weapons and ammo, then illegally pass them off to brokers. Couriers pick up those guns and drive them across the border into Mexico and into the hands of the cartel. Project Thor helps solve hundreds of investigations and were quietly awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 2021. [TO DEMLEIN] We’re talking about Thor in the past tense. Is — is Thor gone?
DEMLEIN: Thor, as our project, is — is — is gone. It’s no more. I was told priorities in the U.S. government shifted. The money was gone.
YAMAGUCHI: That was at the end of 2021. When asked directly, senior Justice officials told CBS News that they were not familiar with Project Thor, but in the spring of this year, the Biden administration said it was making it a priority to stop narco-smuggling operations.
Yamaguchi passed along the Biden regime’s spin, which was that they’ve chosen instead to team up “with Mexican law enforcement.”
But after a soundbite from Assistant Attorney General (and former CNN contributor) Lisa Monaco touting “[n]early 2,000 firearms” as having been “seized from last October,” Yamaguchi gave a reality check: “According to the Mexican government, that number, 2,000 guns, is how many the cartels smuggle in a single day.”
He closed with more from the sounding of the alarm from Demlein (click “expand”):
DEMLEIN: Our strategy, as the United States, about doing this is completely ineffective. We need to do something else.
DEMLEIN: We have not done that in federal law enforcement.
YAMAGUCHI: In response to questions from CBS News, the ATF told us its efforts include large-scale, complex investigations, which have led to charges against more than 100 people in the past year, Norah.
O’DONNELL: This is some extraordinary reporting. Adam Yamaguchi, thank you so much. Well, the CBS documentary Arming Cartels is streaming now at CBSNews.com and the CBS News app.