Fast and furious shell game

Obamacare brought two circuits to a crossroads of the Constitution
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The latest resignations and reassignments from Operation Fast and Furious do not satisfy its critics, who call them a “shell game.” Furthermore, whistleblowers—and a stolen diplomatic cable—both say that no one could track US guns that “walked” into Mexico.

Fast and furious response

Did Eric Holder order Operation Fast and Furious, and reward those who carried it out?

Eric Holder, Attorney General. Photo: US Department of Justice

Anthony Martin, the National Conservative Examiner, filed two reports today. In one, he highlighted Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens’ Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Yesterday, Gottlieb said flatly that Attorney General Eric Holder should stop the “shell game” and resign at once.

The ultimate responsibility for Fast and Furious lies with Holder. Melson is just the latest player to [shift] around, rather than lose his job. Everyone [taking direct part] in the Fast and Furious scandal has simply…moved to another [job]. There has been no discipline and no accountability[.]…[T]he man who should be ultimately accountable is still running the Justice Department.

Today, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House Oversight Committee said again that he will not stop investigating. He even accused DOJ of playing games.

We have confidential sources that have shown us why the administration’s representatives knew these weapons were going to the cartels. Not mostly, not maybe, but virtually all of them.

In his second report, Martin wondered how certain gun-control activists must regard the spectacle. Holder replaced ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson with a sitting United States Attorney. That man will stay on as USA-Minnesota while taking charge at ATF. Thus Holder has made the ATF headship a part-time job.

What, asks Martin, will the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and other such groups think of this? For that matter, why cheat the Minnesota District of a full-time United States Attorney?

It does almost seem as if the Obama administration’s Department of “Justice” is less concerned with justice than with damage control.

Fast and furious deficiencies

That the DOJ is clumsily trying to get its key players out of the way is bad enough. Worse yet, neither DOJ nor ATF can pretend that anyone was tracking the guns that ATF ran into Mexico. National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea quotes ATF Agent Vincent Cefalu as saying that:

We allowed these guns to continue on in the hopes of establishing some sort of chain, or iron pipeline, which was so far from the truth. The only way to [track] the guns would be with crime scenes and dead bodies.

Codrea also found an interesting gem in Wikileaks: a cable from the United States Embassy in Mexico City. The date on that cable is 28 October 2009. Back then, the Obama administration insisted that 90 percent of the guns that the Mexican drug cartels had came from Mexico. But the cable said:

[W]ithout wider access to the weapons seized in Mexico, we really have no way of verifying these numbers.

In other words, the 90 percent claim was neither verified nor verifiable. And the administration knew it. That cable went to the Justice Department, the State Department, and four other Cabinet departments. It also went directly to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Security Council, and to the general staff of the United States Southern Command.

The DOJ keeps stalling

All this might explain one other thing that Codrea reports today. In December of 2010, Border Agent Brian Terry died in the line of duty. In February of this year, Codrea filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information about the briefing if Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). The information Codrea got did not satisfy him, so in April he filed an appeal. Such an appeal gives the agency twenty days to respond. The DOJ has failed to respond in more than eighty days.

Codrea has sent another letter asking after that appeal.

Featured image: the Constitution of the United States. Photo: National Archives

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