Welcome to the Mainstream, Mr. Furious
The Obama administration gun-running plot known as Operation Fast and Furious exploded into the mainstream this week with a dramatic series of motions that caught many Americans (those not familiar with the scandal) by surprise.
The president asserted executive privilege over tens of thousands of Department of Justice documents related to the plot just hours before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for obstructing their investigation.
After a highly partisan and charged debate split down party lines, the committee then voted along party lines to hold the attorney general in contempt, which sets the stage for a contempt motion to be voted upon by the entire Republican-led House of Representatives. This could trigger a cascade of actions that could potentially culminate in prison for Holder:
A House panel voted Wednesday in favor of holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, a move that inflamed partisan rancor on Capitol Hill and sets up the possibility of legal action against the attorney general himself.
Holder has not yet been formally held in contempt of Congress. The full House would still need to approve the resolution in order for that to happen -- and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., afterward told Fox News that such a floor vote can still be avoided.
But the 23-17 party-line vote on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee marked a significant turn in lawmakers' 16-month investigation into the botched anti-gunrunning operation Fast and Furious. With the vote, Republicans on the committee signaled they had exhausted all other means to extract sought-after documents from the Justice Department -- though Democrats had insisted there was still an opportunity to sort out the mess without a contempt vote.
The movement may seem stunning to the American people if they have not followed the scandal closely, as the mainstream media has continued to refer to Operation Fast and Furious as a "botched law enforcement operation" for 18 months. Evidence suggests, however, that the gun-running plot worked precisely as designed. Fast and Furious sent more than 2,000 firearms to the Sinaloa drug cartel, all apparently semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull) firearms that would have been subject to regulation under the attorney general's stated February 2009 goal of reinstating the so-called "assault weapon ban" of the Clinton-era.
Weapons sold to cartel straw purchasers by Arizona gun dealers were logged by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF worked with the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security, and IRS CID in a strike force that was well aware of how the cartel's gunmen used their weapons. After committing a violent crime, Sinaloa gunmen dumped their weapons at the scene to avoid capture with murder weapons. The guns collected at the scene had their serial numbers recorded by Mexican law enforcement officials, who sent those recorded to the ATF for tracing. Each weapon recovered was "proof" that the Obama administration used to support the infamous "90-percent lie" they spread in hopes of building up public support for gun control.