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‘Gunwalker’ Requires Special Counsel Investigation

Only a special prosecutor can peer into the dark places of government to ferret out the truth.

by
Bob Owens

Bio

June 22, 2011 - 1:15 pm

“Gunwalker” never should have happened.

We’ve spent the better part of a week here at PJ Media documenting the damning evidence of a reckless government that has conspired to allow gun runners to smuggle an estimated 2,000 weapons across the Mexican border to violent drug cartels.

During that time, we’ve discovered that the president and Democratic lawmakers have lied, and continue to lie, about the role of American guns and American small businessmen in arming drug cartels south of the border. We’ve watched as they’ve lied, and continue to lie, blaming gun shops for the carnage that has resulted from the depravity of Mexican narco-terrorists.

We’ve watched as ATF special agents and supervisors testified in front of Congress, angry and ashamed, about how the multi-agency task force they were a part of was responsible for arming the cartel gunmen that have killed scores of law enforcement officers and civilians in two countries.

This scandal must come to an end not with graceful and fault-free resignations, but with deliberate and careful prosecutions of those responsible.

There were four federal agencies involved in Gunwalker, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Each of these agencies deserves dishonor and a thorough post-mortem review from their own respective inspectors general. But that is simply a start towards righting an unconscionable wrong.

Operation Fast and Furious was kept a secret not only from the American public, but from Mexican authorities, who bore the brunt of the casualties from the 2,000 weapons smuggled into cartel hands.

Yet the operation was so high-profile inside the executive branch that the acting director of one of the agencies, Kenneth Melson (ATF), watched raw covert surveillance of strawmen purchases himself, as revealed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week.

This was not a normal operation.

Emerging evidence suggests that at least two cabinet-level officials, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, were at least aware of the operation and took no actions to stop it.

The tactical steps taken in this operation — allowing obvious straw buyers to purchase thousands of firearms and deliver them to the cartels without attempting interdiction — is so radical that nothing comparable can be found in the history of American law enforcement.

No legitimate law enforcement operation arms criminals, and yet Fast and Furious saw the ATF, DOJ, DHS, and IRS colluding to do precisely that.

In an earlier post we made an explosive allegation. We asserted that this plot to arm Mexican narco-terrorists was issued from the very top of the executive branch, and that these federal agencies were attempting to fulfill Barack Obama’s goal of trying to enact gun control measures “under the radar,” as the president said to proponents of gun control earlier this year.

We admittedly do not have any direct evidence of this allegation, but the circumstantial case made has proven strong enough to have few detractors and raises questions that must be answered. At the very least, the president’s views toward guns was known throughout the executive branch. His administration has fostered an anti-gun atmosphere and created a hostile environment for gun owners and dealers. In that ugly petri dish, a program like Gunrunner could be born.

Far from trying to achieve solutions within the constitutional framework, the president seems intent on finding solutions via his own expansive view of executive power. As the Daily Mail reports:

The Obama administration is exploring tighter regulation on gun policy that can be secured through an executive order, bypassing congressional approval, officials have confirmed.

The potential crackdown has prompted concern among gun rights groups in the ongoing debate surrounding gun control and Second Amendment rights.

Administration officials said talk of executive orders or agency action are being considered, amidst its crossfire over regulations with a Republican-dominated House.

The Department of Justice held a meeting on Tuesday – the first in what is expected to be a series – to explore how the administration might be able to rule by decree.

Through his spokesman, President Barack Obama denies any knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious. This may be the case. But Attorney General Eric Holder’s promise that the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General would investigate Gunwalker is laughably inadequate. Having the DOJ OIG run an investigation that must by definition include an investigation of their own agency leadership is a clear conflict of interest. Therefore the OIG is not the correct party to investigate the plot that reaches “much higher” than just the acting director of the ATF, who seems poised to take the fall.

Only one other investigative body has the legislative mandate and independence to investigate this scandal.

The Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency that has the power to compel federal law enforcement agencies, their leaders, and even the White House to testify, and it can indeed bring them up on criminal charges if the charges are so warranted after an investigation. The credibility of our government depends upon the American people being able to trust our elected officials, appointed leaders, and sworn officers of the law.

Allegations being raised that executive branch agencies had such callous disregard for legal precedent and human life demand nothing less than the full attention of a special prosecutor, a process that an innocent executive branch would welcome to clear its name.

Bob Owens blogs at Bob-Owens.com.
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