Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Oversight Committee is the most tireless investigator of Operation Fast and Furious. Now he threatens a subpoena for Attorney General Eric Holder. But so far, Issa asks only whether Holder knew about the program, and ran it badly. He is not—yet—asking about the program’s real goal.
The latest Fast and Furious revelation
Issa made his threat on Fox News Sunday (see here for Fox News’ own recap). Holder made himself the issue when he told the House Judiciary Committee in May that he heard about Fast and Furious only “a few weeks” earlier. (Issa sits on that Committee and asked Holder then when he first learned about the program.) Hundreds of e-mail messages say that Holder knew, or should have known, about the program as early as July of 2010. Now either:
- Holder is incompetent, lackadaisical, or both about doing his job, or:
- Holder is flat-out lying.
When Issa spoke yesterday about subpoenas, he must have seen this report from the Los Angeles Times. According to it, Mexican police recovered a huge cache of weapons from the home of an “enforcer” with the Sinaloa cartel. The weapons in that cache are among those that the Fast and Furious program ran or “walked” into Mexico. (The LA Times has followed this story since February. Two months before, a border patrolman died in a firefight. Two of the guns that killed him were Fast and Furious guns. And not just any guns: Kalashnikov automatic rifles. The Times is the only mainstream print organ to pay this story any attention.)
As Issa’s colleague, Paul Labrador (R-ID), said:
By the time [Border Patrol] Officer [Brian] Terry had been killed, there were other crimes linked to these guns. Why did he not do the research and find out how much his office knew? He was either lying or willfully neglecting to do his due diligence before he came before Congress.
Kenneth Melson, acting ATF director during Operation Fast and Furious. Photo: BATFE.
As this retrospective shows, Operation Fast and Furious was no mere stakeout program. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) wired at least one gun store for picture and sound. They told the owner to “sell guns to every illegal [buyer] who walks through the door.” (Source: LA Times.) In fact, Ken Melson, then Acting Director at ATF, could sit and watch live streaming video of unlawful gun sales as they took place.
Issa is right: many officials at ATF and the Justice Department know more than they’ve told so far. If Melson could watch these transactions on a live video stream from his office, even he cannot have told half the story. Clearly he decided to “sing” after Brian Terry died in the line of duty. But he might not want to admit that he knew perfectly well that large numbers of guns were “walking” much earlier than he said he found out.
But Issa is not yet asking the right questions. And if he doesn’t figure out the right questions to ask, then he’ll waste his opportunity with Holder. What does he expect Holder to say? Holder will no doubt excuse himself and plead simple incompetence and oversight (of the bad kind).
The right question
Operation Fast and Furious is either:
- A “sting” operation gone tragically (and almost comically) wrong, or:
- A “throw-down” operation to justify more gun control in America.
The best support for 2 above comes from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Last week, Anthony G. Martin, “National Conservative Examiner,” reminded us that, two years ago, Clinton said this:
We have to recognize and accept that the demand for drugs from the United States drives them north, and the guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and the military, 90 percent of them come from America.
First, that statistic is false, as David Codrea, National Gun Rights Examiner, showed. Second, to the extent that any guns went from the US to Mexico, Operation Fast and Furious put them there. And Clinton knew all about it. She and her subordinates also knew about the millions of dollars in “stimulus” money that the government poured into this project.
Does the government pour millions of dollars into failed projects? Yes. Does the government often do wasteful, inefficient, and incompetent things? Yes. (Three Apollo astronauts and fourteen Space Shuttle astronauts died from government negligence. Three more Apollo astronauts almost died from that same cause.) But when a program makes as many elementary mistakes as Fast and Furious made, one must wonder. Consider:
- ATF agents, as part of Fast and Furious, captured video of unlawful gun sales. They even streamed live video into the Acting Director’s office.
- Then they lost track of those guns when they crossed the border.
Result: murders on both sides of the border. Was losing track of the guns just a tragic mistake? Or was it the only way to get guns into Mexico to make Hillary Clinton’s 90-percent statistic real?
UPDATE: Martin (see above) now reports on new, clear, convincing, and damning evidence that Hillary Clinton had a hand in crafting Operation Fast and Furious. The original source is Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars. Clinton introduced the phony 90 percent statistic on guns from America to Mexico. She now seems to have wanted to make that real, by any means necessary.
Indeed, our sources say, Hillary was obsessed with defending the 90 percent meme. There was a pervasive sense at the highest levels of the White House, State, Justice and in DHS that the Mexican agony could provide domestic opportunities for Rahm Emanuel’s dictum: “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” the sources say.
Featured: the US Constitution. Photo: National Archives.