It was a brutal weekend for the Obama administration: Gunwalker continued unraveling at a faster pace, with new developments suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder may not be the only Obama appointee destined for a political fall and possible criminal charges.
In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa revealed for the first time that the Drug Enforcement Administration was far more involved in running the operation than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
It wasn’t an ATF operation. They were part of that. It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF.
This directly conflicts with prior statements by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart — she claimed that the DEA only played a supporting role and that her DEA agents in El Paso and Phoenix were only “indirectly involved in the ATF operation through DEA-associated investigative activity.” She further absolved her agency by claiming that “DEA personnel had no decision-making role in ATF operations” associated with Fast and Furious.
The DEA’s higher-profile role will not absolve ATF personnel for their roles in carrying out the plot politically, but it could potentially make a difference in future criminal proceedings if ATF agents on the front lines of the operation thought they were participating in a legitimate law enforcement operation.
Unfortunately for the Department of Justice, the higher level of collusion between different federal law enforcement agencies that report to the attorney general make it even more unlikely that Eric Holder and other senior DOJ personnel were unaware of the real goal of the operation.
Issa’s committee is in the process of preparing subpoenas for members of the Obama administration to try to find out who authorized the operation, and to ask why they have not been forthcoming if they believed the operations to be legal:
Why are they denying knowing about something that they were briefed on? … Exactly when, the American people want to know, how did it happen?
Issa also revealed for the first time the magnitude of the largest individual gunwalking incidents, noting that one effort involved the shipment of 700 guns to the Sinaloa cartel.
This is about Justice Department knowing, and this is where the American people have a right to know more, knowing that these guns were deliberately intended to end up in the hands of the drug cartels without any kind of traceability, except if you find a gun in the scene of the crime. That is the reason that it is felony and stupid — and I use the word “felony” deliberately — program.
A massive stockpile containing dozens of Operation Fast and Furious weapons was recovered in Mexico at an arsenal hidden in the Ciudad Juarez home of Sinaloa cartel enforcer Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo. The raid occurred on April 30; the revelation that 40 of the guns were from the gunwalking plot constitutes breaking news — and confirmation that the plot worked as designed.
Mexican politicians and media are far more enraged than their complacent U.S. counterparts. One op-ed asked if the U.S. should be considered an “ally or enemy.” Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales, who stated that more than 200 Mexican citizens have been killed with Fast and Furious weapons, referred to the Obama administration plot as “an attack on Mexicans’ security.”
The mainstream media, perhaps fearing even more damage to their credibility and bottom line, finally started covering the scandal late last week. A sad example of this me-too, late-to-the-game journalism is David Jackson’s article at USA Today — four paragraphs of current information grafted onto a nine-paragraph blockquote from an existing CBS News article.
House Republicans showed no sign of backing down. One of the most outspoken on this scandal, Rep. Paul Gosar, continued to blast the administration:
Gosar told The Daily Caller that “In Main Street America, you’d never get away with” dissembling about the gun-walking program, and that in different circumstances, ”the people who’ve been responsible would’ve already been in jail.”
A bipartisan group of ten Arizona sheriffs (5 Republican, 5 Democrat) has called for a special counsel to investigate the gunwalking operations, joining House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and a number of others.
Mike Vanderboegh, one of the bloggers who broke open the scandal, is continuing a detailed series of articles that increasingly point to a State Department role in setting up these gunwalking operations. Vanderboegh’s sources within the Department are the first to name names, including: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, and Andrew J. Shapiro, Clinton’s assistant secretary for political-military affairs.
State insiders apparently referred to the gunwalking plot as “the Mexican Hat Dance,” and claim the goal of the plot was, as we’ve indicated before, to support the 90-percent lie.
With State and DOJ coming under fire, it seems only a matter of time before evidence comes forth to implicate Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the person that would have been most integral in supporting this plot. Operation Fast and Furious took place in Arizona, where Napolitano had been governor and her former chief of staff, Dennis Burke, was the U.S. attorney theoretically in charge of the multi-agency task force.
In the interim, Holder’s letter attacking the messenger last week was returned with even greater force by Issa in a letter which pulled no punches:
Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.
Operation Fast and Furious was the Department’s most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives – destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.
With three cabinet-level secretaries and their staffs involved in a plot to create a murderous reality to match White House rhetoric, it seems only a matter of time before subpoenas are directed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.