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Rule of Law

Fast and Furious is the story of Justice Department deception, ideological recklessness, and, above all, murderous indifference toward good government.  Katie Pavlich’s new book, aptly titled Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery), is an encyclopedia-style account of the scandal.  If you want a single source for an objective and thorough chronology of the outlandish DOJ program, and the names of the guilty bureaucrats, this is the book.

One of the most disturbing things to emerge from the Fast and Furious scandal (apart from the hundreds of murdered victims of DOJ policy) is the fact that nobody has lost their job.  Eric Holder exhibits no outrage, and nobody was held accountable. The architects, foot soldiers, and propaganda mouthpieces remain unpunished.

Fast and Furious also reminds us about something I emphasize: Attorney General Eric Holder is not the Alpha and Omega of bad decisions and rotted policy in the DOJ. Individual bureaucrats deep inside DOJ are also at fault, and in the past remained anonymous.  Not anymore.  The civil servants who leverage petty power to corrupt ends should be accountable for their behavior, if by no other means, by exposing their role in the new media.

During the Bush administration, some foolishly labored under the false notion that DOJ lawyers were all upstanding professionals free from political bias or reckless indifference to the law. Most at DOJ aren’t unprofessional liars, but sadly, some are.

Pavlich names the names of the people responsible for Fast and Furious.  Consider Emory Hurley.

Emory Hurley is an Assistant United States Attorney in Phoenix who helmed Fast and Furious.  He blocked the arrest of straw gun purchasers repeatedly, even after ATF agents gift wrapped multiple cases for him.  Pavlich records Hurley as saying again and again “no probable cause,” even though video existed of illegal straw purchases.

Hurley even prevented arrests in “a case on grenades.”  Pavlich describes emails from cooperative gun dealers expressing concern to Hurley about the safety of border agents, but the dealers were told everything was fine and no guns were going to Mexico.  Hurley kept the spigot of guns flowing wide open into Mexico.

I confirmed today that Emory Hurley still has a job as an attorney at the Justice Department.

Pavlich paints a disturbing portrait of ATF Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell.  Newell comes across in Fast and Furious as someone who would find himself right at home in the Polish Służba Bezpieczeństwa in 1980, using his civil service perch to approve rough handling of Gdansk shipyard workers or authorize tails on unruly Catholic priests.  After all, he just had a job to do and a regime to serve.

Pavlich: “Newell had earned a reputation for punishing those who questioned his authority.”  When an ATF agent complained not enough was done to address threats against another agent, Newell retaliated.  After the agent’s house was set on fire, “Newell doubled down.  He had subordinates accuse [the agent] of purposefully burning down his own home.”  A subsequent inspector general report concluded not enough was done to protect the threatened ATF agents, but Newell still has a government job.

Newell was the enthusiastic ATF captain on the ground in the gun running operation, as detailed in Fast and Furious.

Pavlich also details the deception and diabolical plotting of presidential appointees at DOJ.  Topping the list are Assistant Attorneys General Lanny Breuer, Ron Weich, and Holder’s current chief of staff Gary Grindler.  These three appear to be the top level political appointees responsible for concocting and managing the program.

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