Representative Darrell Issa’s final report on his oversight committee’s investigation into the ATF operation Fast and Furious is due to be released sometime this week. But the LA Times got a sneak peek and discovered some surprises:
Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials — from the special agent-in-charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters — are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”
The investigators, in a final report likely to be released later this week, also unearthed new evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed there.
According to a copy of the report obtained Monday by The Times, the investigators said their findings are “the best information available as of now” about the flawed gun operation that last month led to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. being found in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents.
Two more final reports, they said, will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the Department of Justice and an “unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.”
As a political issue, Fast and Furious is a smoldering ember, just waiting for the right kindling to set it afire. But if there had been something of that nature in the report, it would have been leaked long before this.
AG Holder’s stonewalling is working — so far. The line is being held by his underlings, and while there has been some damaging documents released — including one that proves Holder lied to Congress about when he first learned about Fast and Furious — there has been no smoking gun or defection from the ranks that would ignite a firestorm and do serious political damage to the president.
The train of accountability will no doubt stop with the ATF. Unless Representative Issa can get his hands on those subpoenaed documents, some of which purportedly deal with Justice Department meetings on Fast and Furious, the ATF will take the fall and for all intents and purposes, that will be the end of it.