By Mr. Curmudgeon
Operation Fast and Furious, a U.S. Justice Department gunrunning operation that sold weapons to Mexican drug cartels at the cost of hundreds of innocent lives, is only now starting to get the attention of the Obama media.
For that, we can thank Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for his skillful and methodical gathering of evidence – evidence so compelling it forced a usually non-confrontational GOP House Speaker to allow Issa to advance a contempt-of-Congress action against a stonewalling Attorney General, one Eric Holder.
Describing Fast and Furious as “a botched gunrunning sting operation,” the New York Times condemned Republicans for shamelessly turning “what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation.”
Nowhere in its lead editorial did the Times explain why they believe the Obama administration’s deadly weapons deal with foreign drug lords is a “routine matter,” nor did they bother to list other similarly routine Obama administration transactions.
If the deaths of hundreds of innocents were not enough to stir the souls of the compassion-filled, Obama-boosters of the Times’ editorial board, the president’s first official response to Fast and Furious certainly did.
“On Wednesday, for the first time since he was elected, President Obama invoked executive privilege on the disputed documents. Doing so now bars prosecution of Mr. Holder in federal court should the full House vote to hold him in contempt of Congress,” said the Times.
The documents in question pertain to a letter dated February 4, 2011, sent to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.
In the letter, Weich dismissed the gunrunning allegations as “false,” saying the “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico. Indeed, an important goal of Project Gunrunner is to stop the flow of weapons from the United States to drug cartels in Mexico.”
Weich concluded his letter by asking Grassley not to take his constitutional oversight duties so seriously and asked that the “Committee staff not contact law enforcement personnel seeking information about pending criminal investigations, including the investigation into the death of Customs and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
In other words, the documents Issa subpoenaed, and Holder refuses to surrender, concern internal communications between high-ranking Justice Department officials (if not the president) proving that Weich’s letter to Grassley was an intentional lie – one meant to cover up the administration’s complicity in the mass murder of Mexican civilians and a U.S. boarder agent.
In the case of Fast and Furious, people died … and the administration lied.
However, with the Senate in the control of Harry Reid Democrats, Holder’s Justice Department had no worries. That was not the case in the Republican/Tea Party-controlled House. Chairman Issa had ATF whistleblowers testify before his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, blowing the lid off the Justice Department’s deadly “sting operation.”
The sting, it turns out, was not against Mexican drug cartels but against law-abiding U.S. gun owners. “… There are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstate the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” said Holder in a 2009 news conference. “I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum … making the assault weapons ban permanent …”
Fast and Furious was intended to help in that regard.
“More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States,” said Obama in a 2009 speech delivered while on a state visit to Mexico, “many from gun shops that lay in our shared border. So we have responsibilities as well.”
It’s clear the Obama administration used Operation Fast and Furious to manufacture data to support the president’s baseless statistics and his plan to scale-back Second Amendment rights.
Sen. Grassley, whose legitimate oversight questions elicited a string of Justice Department denials and outright lies, asked a rhetorical question during a NewsMax interview: “Is it because the president does have something to do with it?”
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank thinks that slapping Holder with a contempt citation is rather funny. “Even if the full House follows the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s vote Wednesday to hold him in contempt, the decision about whether to prosecute him will be left to the Justice Department run by … Eric Holder.”
Milbank’s cynicism is well founded. It’s unlikely that the death and carnage resulting from Holder’s Fast and Furious will lead to criminal prosecutions … beyond a few lower echelon ATF agents.
In the end, Fast and Furious will be tried in the court of public opinion. On November 6, American voters – not the Congress or the courts – will speak for the hundreds who lost life, liberty and any hope for future happiness. And the verdict will say more about the jury than it does about the perpetrators.