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ANDREW MCCARTHY: Fast And Furious Noose Tightens Around Justice Department. “Explosive reports are now surfacing that Justice Department officials clearly knew about the Fast and Furious ‘gunwalking’ tactic, in which the federal government — actually, a task force comprised of Justice Department agencies and led by ATF, a Justice Department agency — allowed upwards of 1400 illegally purchased firearms to be routed to violent Mexican drug gangs. This recklessness led, quite foreseeably, to the murder of at least one federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and probably a second, Homeland Security Agent Jaime Zapata. There are reportedly also scores of victims in Mexico.”

UPDATE: Darrell Issa Puts Details of Secret Wiretap Applications in Congressional Record.

MICHAEL WALSH: Why “Fast and Furious” Matters: Hundreds of people died because of the operation, but no one takes responsibility.

Obama lied, Mexicans died. (Line courtesy of reader Peter Grout).

AFTERBURNER: Bill Whittle On Fast And Furious.

ERIC HOLDER UPDATE: House Republicans release final Holder contempt resolution. “Republicans late Friday released the final version of the resolution asserting that Attorney General Eric Holder is in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.”

ROGER KIMBALL: A Note on “Fast and Furious,” Executive Privilege, and the End of the Obama Administration. “Obama’s assertion of executive privilege will do little if anything to save Eric Holder. Its chief effect, I predict, will be to focus attention more sharply on the great questions that have not been sufficiently plumbed: Who is Barack Obama? What does he have to hide?” Something, obviously.

SEN. GRASSLEY: White House claims about document hand-over are ‘hogwash.’

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said comments made by the White House claiming the administration has given Congress every document related to Fast and Furious are “hogwash.”

Grassley’s remarks come as two more senators on Thursday joined the ranks calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over his handling of the botched gun-tracking operation and refusal to give Congress related documents, which spurred a House panel to vote this week to hold the nation’s top cop in contempt of Congress.

This thing seems to be heating up.

OUCH: WH embarrassed during Fast and Furious press briefing. “And when Carney said that Obama’s decision to assert executive privilege over documents subpoenaed by Congress was ‘entirely about principle,’ reporters openly laughed.”

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama’s Executive Privilege Has The Stench Of Cover-Up.

President Obama’s contempt for the rule of law hit a new low when, on the eve of a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, he granted his AG’s 11th-hour request to hide sought-after documents on Operation Fast and Furious under the cover of executive privilege.

“I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-Feb. 4, 2011, documents,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole says in a letter that GOP Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa received just before Wednesday’s hearing and vote, a letter that apparently was not mentioned in a last-minute meeting between Issa and Holder Tuesday night.

Or maybe it wasn’t the 11th hour at all, but just a long-planned final gambit in the cover-up of who made the decisions in a federally sponsored effort to provide Mexican drug cartels with sophisticated American firearms and who is ultimately responsible for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry with these weapons?

Ouch.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Another retraction: Holder withdraws claim that Bush’s attorney general knew about gunwalking.

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Those Fast and Furious documents must be dynamite. “Some have speculated that Obama’s intervention means that the president himself has something to hide.”

UPDATE: More: “Let me begin by saying that if a Republican president had bypassed Congress to redraft a statute (on immigration in this administration) and cooked up fake privileges repeatedly — the Obama team did this in the Black Panther investigation and even to halt its former social secretary from testifying — there would be howls from the media and talk of impeachment. . . . Principled Democrats who may soon face a Romney administration had better pipe up. Otherwise the precedent will be there for vast expansion of executive power and squashing of Congress’s proper role in our system of government.”

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Executive Privilege Kicks Off Regular Season:

President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege today is a bit like the kickoff for the NFL regular season. It doesn’t end the Fast and Furious scandal; it just takes it to another level. Everything so far was the pre-season. Now people will start to pay attention.

A president doesn’t assert executive privilege lightly. It is a relic from the powers of the king. Some things were not for parliament’s eyes, such as national security statecraft. This new phase of the Fast and Furious scandal begins with Americans who had paid no attention to the scandal hearing the news today and asking, “what are they trying to hide?”

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

WHITE HOUSE ASSERTS EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE OVER DOJ FAST AND FURIOUS DOCUMENTS. At the PJ Media Tatler, Bryan Preston has a long, continually updated post, plus this: Video Flashback: Obama Claims He Learned of Fast and Furious ‘On the News,’ But Before AG Holder.

 

ANDREW MCCARTHY: The Plot Thickens: Obama Asserts Executive Privilege to Block Fast and Furious Disclosures.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: The Hill: Issa ‘disappointed,’ says Holder contempt vote will move forward.

WELL, ME TOO: ‘Fast and Furious’ whistleblower says he’s ‘disappointed’ one year later.

FAST AND FURIOUS: The video.

HMM: Holder Hints At Compromise On Fast And Furious.

Facing a possible contempt charge and Republican calls for his resignation, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled to Congress Tuesday a new desire to cooperate with an investigation into the Fast and Furious gun walking operation to avert what he believes could become a “constitutional crisis.”

Holder, who was made his ninth appearance before Congress, indicated that he wants to stave off an embarrassing contempt vote against him.

Still, by Tuesday Holder was fielding calls for his resignation from Republican senators with a growing list of gripes, including Holder’s reluctance to turn over documents about Fast and Furious, his decision to allow his own deputies to investigate possible White House leaks of sensitive national security information, and his efforts to prevent Florida from purging illegal immigrants and dead voters from the state’s rolls.

It’s been a bad week for him. And it’s only Wednesday.

THE HILL: Cornyn: Holder should resign in wake of Fast and Furious probe.

JOURNALISM: NBC Nightly News Devotes Mere Seconds to First-Ever Mention of Fast and Furious.

HOLDER SHOULD RESIGN: House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Fast and Furious; Holder stonewalls, plays victim, blames Bush.

NERVOUS: Justice Dept. tries to cut Fast and Furious deal with Congress.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Issa: Officials had information about ‘reckless tactics’ in ‘Fast and Furious.’

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? The Hill: Mexican official: Fast and Furious ‘poisoned’ public opinion of US.

The Mexican ambassador to the United States on Thursday said a botched gun-tracking operation by America “poisoned” public opinion of the United States for the citizens of its southern neighbor. . . . “Fast and Furious has poisoned the well-spring of public opinion in Mexico as it relates to the cooperation and engagement with the United States,” Sarukhan said.

It wasn’t “botched.” It was meant to do everything that it did — except get found out. The goal was to create a climate of opinion that favored gun control, and it’s ironic to see Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) still trying to put it to this use.

BOB OWENS: Three Key Fast And Furious Questions Still Unanswered.

IT WAS “BOTCHED” LIKE FAST AND FURIOUS WAS “BOTCHED:” Report rips DOJ attorneys in botched Stevens’ case. “Two Department of Justice prosecutors have been suspended without pay and a Senate Democrat has scheduled a committee hearing following the release Thursday of a DOJ report that detailed the government’s misconduct in its botched case against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).”

FAST AND FURIOUS: Bumbling Concealment At DOJ. “You would think the DOJ would be particularly responsive to our FOIA requests considering that PJ Media sued Eric Holder in federal court to obtain documents DOJ wanted to conceal. We eventually got them. Today I renewed my request to DOJ. We’ll see if this time DOJ complies with the law.”

CENSORSHIP IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Harvard Law succeeds in taking down anti-Holder Fast and Furious protest website.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Darrell Issa Continues To Seek Contempt Resolution Against Eric Holder.

OBAMA HATES GUNS (AGAIN):  This is getting old, but here we go again.  Fox news reports that President Obama is threatening to veto the DOJ appropriations bill that would halt a Obama-initiated ruler requiring gun dealers in the four U.S.-Mexico border states that border Mexico to report sales of multiple semi-automatic rifles to the ATF.  According to the Fox report:

Several House Republicans have charged that the Obama administration had an anti-gun agenda when it carried out Fast and Furious, and are particularly wary of Attorney General Eric Holder, who once expressed the need to “brainwash” the American people into disliking firearm ownership.

They cite emails CBS News acquired in December, in which lead Fast and Furious Agent Bill Newell and ATF Field Operations Assistant Director Mark Chait discussed how to use the scandal’s aftermath to promote the long-gun reporting requirement for multiple sales.

Amazing how the Obama administration and progressives in Congress can take an embarrassing scandal (Fast & Furious) and try to use it to further their own anti-gun agenda, Second Amendment be damned.  (That pesky Constitution keeps getting in the way– well, let’s hope, anyway.)

 

JENNIFER RUBIN THINKS THE NEW MEDIA ARE BLOWING IT AND FALLING FOR OBAMA’S DISTRACTIONS. Well, she has a point, up to a point, but only up to a point. She’s right that the election won’t be decided by dog-eating claims or Julia-campaign-mockery. But she’s wrong if she suggests that we in the blogosphere should be ignoring those things.

First, we’re winning on this stuff, enough so that the New York Times is running scared. That’s a big deal. The Obamites thought they were going to rule the social-media world because, you know, they’re young, tech-savvy hipsters and stuff. Instead, they’ve gotten their heads handed to them again and again.

Second, the new media still doesn’t have the power to set the agenda, really. Sometimes we can force things onto the agenda, but the “agenda” — defined as what most MSM outlets are talking about on a given day — is still set by the MSM. Even hard and steady pushes on things like Fast And Furious haven’t really pushed that (huge) scandal into widespread national discussion; when Jimmy Kimmel joked about it at the Correspondents’ Dinner last weekend, it was obvious that a lot of the audience didn’t know what he meant. And that was at the Correspondents’ Dinner! Send ’em a copy of Katie Pavlich’s book! It’s a bestseller, now. . . .

This may be the last election cycle where that’s true — in 4 years, at its current burn rate, the New York Times may not even exist — but we have more power engaging in jiu-jitsu on things that they have already put on the table. That’s not to undercut Jennifer’s suggestion that other topics deserve more attention than Obama’s dog eating or his cruelly statist vision of Julia’s future, but if you read her list of things the press should be reporting about, few of them are really suitable for new-media coverage.

In truth, the way to push those topics into mainstream media coverage is for Romney to mention them directly; despite press bias, when a candidate talks about things, the press will cover it. If Jennifer knows anyone at the Romney campaign, she might suggest that.

UPDATE: Reader Matt Thullen says it’s battlespace preparation:

I agree with your analysis about how the new (conservative) media should be responding to various campaign distractions. However, you didn’t mention the biggest benefit of the pushback on the various distractions that the Obama team has been surfacing–namely, that the pushback erodes Obama’s sense of “coolness.” Obama benefitted enormously in 2008 from the prevailing notion that he was a cool person and candidate–really, the first presidential candidate since Kennedy that was protrayed as someone that people could socially admire and look up to (I’d argue that Clinton’s coolness was a function of him being a boomer and striking the right chords in the hearts of the boomers in the media).

By pushing back on these ridiculous assertions from the Obama campaign, we’re making him look flat-footed, technologically clueless and therefore more like an old-style politician than anything else. By having to defend themselves against their own mistakes, the Obama campaign will be more a source of ridicule than cool. If anything else, that will erode his support among college-aged kids, or at least diminish the intensity of that support.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:

You’re right, the blogosphere should be hitting them on all fronts and let Romney stay above the fray. But instead of playing defense they should be bringing up things MSM conveniently overlooked the first go round…and his record…he has one now…going on the offense and let Obama’s minions have to respond instead of the other way around.

Plus, related thoughts from Stanley Kurtz.

MORE: Further reader thoughts:

You are right about Kimmel’s joke, and while I’m glad Kimmel at least knows about this and was willing to include it (leave aside whether or not it’s a topic that should be joked about, it seems those things are roasts mostly and in that situation everything is fair game) but it is very disturbing that so many there were, literally, clueless. Truly that must have pleased the big O.

And this story has even gotten some attention in the MSM, but I think we all know that if Obama & Holder were Republicans this would have been 24/7 news for months now, Holder would likely be gone along with many minions and Obama would be relentlessly hounded over it.

It is most disturbing that they are getting a pass on this. It really makes one fear what else the Obama administration might be given a pass on, almost anything it would seem.

You are right when you say the only way to keep the government accountable is to have Republicans in office.

I also think it is VERY important that our side is pushing back on the stupid dog stories and memes like “Attack watch” remember that fascistic nonsense?

First of all it prevents them from “shaping the narrative” and getting these ideas into the MSM (because you know they’d be pleased as punch if, for example, the one thing Americans knew about Romney was the Seamus story).

Secondly it makes them look like idiots, which they are, manifestly.

And thirdly, as Alinsky instructs, we enjoy it.

That last is the best reason of all. As I said when Obama was freshly elected, this is the blogosphere — if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!

And from reader Amy Otto:

Been debating this one and I agree that new Conservative media should push back hard even on what is termed distractions. Democrats are starting to look like the party yelling “Hey, Get off my lawn” with these missteps.

There’s really nothing subversive nor rebellious about permanent government dependency. Their Brand is failing and new media has been key to chipping away the MSM message to reveal the actual agenda. Horrifying to think where we would be in this election cycle without it.

Democrats have successfully branded conservatives for years as uncool and intolerant. Enjoying seeing this get flipped on its head. Go New Media!

Yep.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Darrell Issa Threatens to Find Eric Holder in Contempt Over ‘Fast and Furious.’

DOG-EATING PRESIDENT JOKES ABOUT EATING DOGS. Jim Treacher tweets: I win. No blenders were mentioned, however.

Also: Jimmy Kimmel jabs Obama/Holder over Fast and Furious; most of D.C. media/Hollywood celebs scratch heads.

MY FAST-AND-FURIOUS INTERVIEW WITH KATIE PAVLICH is now on YouTube.

Her new book, Fast and Furious, Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up, just hit the NYT bestsellers list.

INSTAVISION: I talk with Katie Pavlich about her new bestseller, Fast and Furious, Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.

SEEKING DONATIONS FOR A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT “FAST AND FURIOUS:” “Blood on their Hands” – A Documentary Film.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: IT WAS THE POWER, STUPID.

What is going on? Two things, really. One, the media believes that the noble ends justify the tawdry means. So if it is a choice between emphasizing the latest Obama embarrassment, digging into the scary Fast and Furious, the “millions of green jobs” Solyndra insider giveaways, the Secret Service decadence, the GSA buffoonery, the work while getting food stamps con in Washington, OR endangering Obamacare and by extension “the children,” or the war to eliminate autism, or the right to breath clean air, well, why would one ever wish to derail all that by weakening a landmark progressive and his enlightened agenda?

Or for you more cynical readers, why would you wish to enervate the present comfortable culture in Washington in which the press and politics are at last one? Or why undermine the first African-American president who is a constant reminder of our progressive advancement, or why weaken our only chance some day to have open borders or gay marriage?

Two, the Left has always operated on the theory of medieval penance. We surely must assume that Warren Buffett has never had problems with the ethics of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. or had a company he controls sued by the IRS for back taxes. Why? Because he has confessed his sins, and accepted the faith and paid his tithe to the Church. Ditto a Bill Gates or a multi-million-dollar a year celebrity like Sean Penn or Oprah. In the relativism of the left, if the one-percenters will simply confess that their class is greedy and needs to pay their fair share—even if they are entirely cynical in the manner of GE’s Jeffery Immelt and penance is written off as the cost of doing business—then they become exempt from the wages of them/us warfare, and the ‘you want to kill the children’ rhetoric.

Read the whole thing. But I can’t skip this part: “But at least 2012 won’t be a default campaign. In other words, to quote Obama, Romney will get in ‘their faces’ and ‘bring a gun to a knife fight’ in a way McCain more graciously and nobly lost by putting all sorts of concerns off the table. I would expect that should Obama keep harping about Romney’s tax returns, Romney will demand Obama’s transcripts and medical records at last to be released. If Obama’s surrogates keep writing about Mormonism, we will learn of new disclosures about Trinity Church. For every Mormon bishop who said something illiberal in 1976, we will hear of a Father Pfleger or Rev. Meeks trumping that in 2007. And so on.”

Absolutely.

UPDATE: A reader emails: “So, Charlie Brown no longer believes Lucy will hold the football…that’s what is really pissing the Dems off.”

KATIE PAVLICH ON FAST AND FURIOUS: Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Rep. Justin Amash demands Eric Holder’s resignation over ‘Fast and Furious.’ #124.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: Zimmerman family challenges Holder on New Black Panthers, says no arrests ‘based solely on your race.’ Personally, I think Holder is prejudiced against Latinos. But I may just be taking that impression from the general tenor of media coverage these days. . . .

UPDATE: A reader emails: “I would imagine AG Holder has a serious problem with ‘Latinos’. How else can we explain his total disregard for the countless Mexican (‘Latino’) lives lost to all those Fast and Furious guns that now arm Mexico’s bloody drug cartels he not only allowed to be sold, but is now fighting and blocking the Congressional investigation?”

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: White House Blocking Access To Fast And Furious Witness Who Wants To Testify. “White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler sent a letter Thursday to Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley, refusing their request to speak with Kevin O’Reilly, a former National Security staff member whose emails place him in the middle of the unfolding scandal. Issa and Grassley had written to Ruemmler on March 28, asking the White House to step aside and let O’Reilly talk to investigators.”

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS REVIEWS Katie Pavlich’s Fast and Furious, Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.

HOW’S THAT SMART DIPLOMACY WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Obama Alienates Canada And Mexico At Three Amigos.

Energy has become a searing rift between the U.S. and Canada and threatens to leave the U.S. without its top energy supplier.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Obama the U.S. will have to pay market prices for its Canadian oil after Obama’s de facto veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is preparing to sell its oil to China.

Until now, NAFTA had shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That’s about to change.

Canada has also all but gone public about something trade watchers have known for a long time: that the U.S. has blocked Canada’s entry to the eight-way free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alliance of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, and Singapore. Both Canada and Mexico want to join and would benefit immensely. . . .

Things were even worse, if you read the Mexican press accounts of the meeting.

Excelsior of Mexico City reported that President Felipe Calderon bitterly brought up Operation Fast and Furious, a U.S. government operation that permitted Mexican drug cartels to smuggle thousands of weapons into drug-war-torn Mexico. This blunder has wrought mayhem on Mexico and cost thousands of lives.

The mainstream U.S. press has kept those questions out of the official press conferences, while Obama has feigned ignorance to the Mexicans and hasn’t even apologized.

In short, the summit was a diplomatic disaster for the U.S. and its relations with its neighbors north and south.

It should have been the easiest, most no-brainer diplomatic task Obama faces.

Sadly, maybe it was.

STONEWALLED: Lawmakers push to interview ex-White House aide in ‘Fast and Furious.’ “Two top Republican lawmakers investigating the Fast and Furious controversy are demanding the White House make a former aide available for testimony to see whether the scandal reached the upper echelons of the administration, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.”

BOB OWENS: ANTI-GUN GROUPS SILENT ON “FAST AND FURIOUS.” “Pressed by PJ Media, they refuse to condemn gun violence facilitated by the Obama administration.”

FAST AND FURIOUS: Video: One year later, Zapata family gets no answers on Fast and Furious.

GUNWALKER: Connecting The Dots On Fast And Furious.

Over the last thirty years, time and again, after a contempt citation was filed by either a House or Senate committee, compromise was reached before a full vote in the corresponding body.

During the Bush administration, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers were cited for contempt in the U.S. attorney firings, but a deal was worked out before a full House vote. In 1996, Clinton aide Jack Quinn (who would later conspire with Holder during the Marc Rich pardon) was cited for contempt in the Travel Office firings, but a compromise was reached before a vote in the full House.

In 1982, Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt was cited for contempt over documents related to Canadian energy policy, but a compromise was reached when members of the House were allowed to view them. But the exception to the rule of compromise or capitulation occurred later that same year, and would continue into 1983.

Ronald Reagan’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) administrator, Anne Gorsuch, was cited for contempt by the House Public Works Committee over documents related to lax enforcement of the cleanup of hazardous waste dumps. In December 1982, she was held in contempt by the House in a bipartisan vote, and was the first Cabinet-level official to suffer that fate. She resigned in March of 1983, and Reagan then gave Congress full access to the documents.

The previous month, Reagan fired one of Gorsuch’s top aides, Rita Lavelle, who was in charge of the clean-up fund. In April, Lavelle was cited for contempt by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and in May was found in contempt by the House in a unanimous vote. Lavelle was acquitted in federal court of contempt but later convicted of perjury for lying to Congress and served four months of a six-month sentence in prison. Twenty-two EPA officials, including Burford and Lavelle, lost their jobs over the scandal.

So now the current issue is whether Eric Holder should be held in contempt. The EPA scandal of the Reagan years, and other issues such as the Travel Office and U.S. attorney firings, pale in comparison to the deadly Fast and Furious scandal, along with its apparent cover-up.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW BREITBART: Why The Media Tends To Ignore “Fast and Furious.” “Fast and Furious happened, Breitbart explained, ‘for the purposes of creating a narrative that they could use in America to try and thwart our Second Amendment constitutional rights. I don’t think the most sinister screenwriter could imagine a government that would abide by that, let alone the media to cover that up.’”

BRYAN PRESTON: Was the Killing of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata Linked to Fast and Furious?

BOB OWENS: Fast And Furious: Three Questions Not Asked. “Whether Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation, as the Department of Justice claims, or was part of a plot to impose gun control, it was radically different from all other border gun operations in one crucial way. Operation Fast and Furious was the only border gun operation that was undertaken with the full intention of the straw-purchased guns leaving the control of law enforcement officers and reaching the armories of drug cartel murderers. That fact alone should lead to the impeachment or administrative removal of everyone, from field agents to political appointees and elected officials that knew or should have known about the plot. But that is only half of the horror story.”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Holder Should Walk The Plank on “Fast and Furious.”

MICHAEL WALSH: A Failed “Fast And Furious” Whitewash. “Today’s Capitol Hill hearing on the ‘Fast and Furious’ mess promises drama that may well rival the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings or gangland chieftain Frank Costello’s memorable 1951 testimony in front of Sen. Estes Kefauver’s hearings on organized crime. . . . By turns whiny, petulant and deceitful, Holder would rather accuse his critics of racism than substantively address the scandal. But with each ‘withdrawn’ letter, Friday-night document dump and sudden resignation, it becomes ever more clear that the man who facilitated the outrageous Marc Rich pardon for President Bill Clinton is incapable of shame.”

PATRICK RICHARDSON: Fisking Eric Holder’s Prepared Remarks for the Fast and Furious Hearing.

CNN: ERIC HOLDER’S “FAST AND FURIOUS” WOE. “Attorney General Eric Holder has made it clear that he thinks he has been subjected to a heavily politicized process over Fast and Furious. If he has — and that’s still an if — I suspect that some folks at CIA know exactly how he feels.”

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Eric Holder’s False Testimony Warrants Impeachment. “Did Holder and his White House masters really think it was worth losing a few U.S. lawmen if it meant gaining public support for the idea of gun control in the U.S.? Are they that politically venal? Unfortunately, the failure of the White House to hold anyone accountable points to just such a conclusion. Either Holder should resign or be impeached, or someone in the White House should. Either way, Fast and Furious is a criminal disgrace.”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Holder’s fantastical claim about ‘Fast and Furious’. “Now Holder wants Americans to believe an obvious fantasy, namely that he didn’t know about Fast and Furious until witch-hunting House Republicans made it a highly charged partisan issue a few months ago. But after reviewing new emails made public by the Justice Department last Friday, it seems clear that accepting Holder’s claim at face value would be credulous in the extreme. . . . Either he actually knew about Fast and Furious months before he told Congress he did, or he didn’t know when he should have. No wonder nearly 100 House members have signed a resolution of no confidence in Holder.”

FAST AND FURIOUS: Rep. Darrell Issa says Holder should apologize to Mexico: ‘Justice has blood on their hands.’

THIS SEEMS TO BE A COPY of that deep-sixed Bloomberg story on how Warren Buffett made out like a bandit from the Keystone Pipeline decision.

UPDATE: Professor Stephen Clark writes: “If Buffett’s assistant indeed is sitting with the first family for the SOTU, then this Bloomberg story makes the Keystone decision stink to high heaven. It’s cliché, but could you imagine what would follow any similar sequence of events during the Bush-Cheney years? Why Republican’s aren’t hammering Keystone, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, the overt politicization of DOJ, DOE, BLS, and other agencies right down the line, and the recent memo on the stimulus to name just a few is beyond me. It used to be a stereotype that politicians always pivoted from a question asked to answer the question they wanted asked. Seems that the recent crop of GOP contenders have forgotten what used to be a routine skill.”

And with a compliant press, Obama doesn’t need it.

A STATE OF THE UNION DRINKING GAME: “If the word ‘debt’ is used, take a sip of your friend’s drink and promise to give it back.” More at the link.

UPDATE: Tweet The State Of The Union. “Via David Codrea, we learn that the Presidential Advisors are sitting down after the State of the Union to answer questions via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. . . . What we’ve never heard is an explanation of who is involved in Fast and Furious, the Gunwalker scandal. I think we should flood Twitter with some questions. Luckily, my good friend Bob Owens has given us some. Read the questions below and click to link to Tweet them to the advisors. Click each one to tweet all five!”

BOB OWENS HAS MORE ON THE LATEST JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SCANDALS: Recall that invoking the Fifth Amendment is only allowed to avoid self-incrimination. “Patrick J. Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights and declining to testify about Operation Fast and Furious in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. . . . Cunningham’s defense seeks to portray him as an innocent man caught in a conflict between the legislative and executive branches of government. He also seems to be the designated ‘fall guy’ in the Obama administration’s recent tactical shift.”

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Another ATF weapons operation comes under scrutiny. “Members of Congress want to see whether White Gun, like Fast and Furious, lost track of firearms that ended up with Mexican criminals.” Hmm. “White Gun.” That sounds kinda . . . racist.

THE LAST REFUGE OF A SCOUNDREL: “So who, exactly, is criticizing Holder because of his race? The Justice Department won’t say. Is he talking about Darrell Issa? Or the 60 congressmen, two senators, Republican presidential candidates and two governors who have called on him to resign? Or the seventy-five congressmen have signed a House resolution for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Holder as attorney general? Or is Holder referring to people on the internet who have written about Fast and Furious, and criticized the Justice Department’s role in that scandal–like, say, me? Does he mean to include the 43% of voters who have an unfavorable opinion of him, compared to 19% whose impression is favorable?” Yeah, pretty much all of those. It’s amazing how racist America has become since Obama took office.

FROM JOURNALISM TO JOURN-O-LISM: The New York Times Paints Holder As A Victim Of Fast And Furious.

Related: Want Answers About Fast and Furious? You’re a Racist.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Eric Holder’s continued obfuscation on Fast and Furious. “You’ve seen people who did it and didn’t in your life. Is this how an innocent person behaves? Is it plausible that the attorney general of the United States had no idea what was going on in Arizona within his own shifting time parameters? . . . At some point, one might think, Holder becomes more of a liability to the Obama re-election campaign than a 50-50 incumbent can stand.”

FURIOUS ABOUT FAST AND FURIOUS: Ron Paul calls for criminal charges against Eric Holder.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Sensenbrenner floats impeachment of Obama admin. officials as ‘Fast and Furious’ response.

SURE LOOKS LIKE IT: John Hinderaker: Was Fast And Furious All About Gun Control? “We certainly want to be fair to the Obama administration officials who were involved in Fast and Furious. But a fundamental question has never been answered: why in the world did the Obama administration not just allow AK-47s and other weapons to be shipped across the border to Mexican drug gangs, but encourage and even finance such transactions, over the objections of jittery gun shop owners and its own veteran agents? If the Obama administration wasn’t trying to set up an argument for more gun control, then what was it trying to do?”

UPDATE: Ann Althouse: “If Hinderaker’s conclusion seems extreme, consider that it could be easily refuted by a clear statement from the Obama administration disclosing the true and legitimate purpose. The absence of such a statement propels us toward the extreme conclusion.”

GUNS TO MEXICO, CONT’D: Video: US approved large escalation of legal gun sales to Mexico. “Remember when gun-control activists insisted that loose purchasing regulation of American firearms had led to a massive uptick in arming the drug cartels in Mexico? Advocates demanded action to curtail gun sales in the US, and the Obama administration responded with new efforts at the ATF and Department of Justice — including Operation Fast and Furious. Now it seems that the big spike in arms supply to cartels didn’t come from local gun shops at all, but from the US government approving a rapid increase in direct sales from manufacturers to the Mexican government, whose purchases got diverted to the cartels — a fact known to the Obama administration all along.”

MORE PROBLEMS FOR ERIC HOLDER: Gunwalker: Justice Dept. Violated U.S. Laws Beyond Those Being Investigated.

As we continue to watch the general uproar over the Operation Fast and Furious program, and specifically what Attorney General Holder knew and when he knew it, it needs to be noted that perjury is not the only apparent violation of law to have occurred.

I refer to the apparent violation of at least one (probably two) major U.S. laws by the Holder Justice Department. A few years ago, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701, the follow-on to the Trading with the Enemy Act) was expanded in order to criminalize any transactions between U.S. entities — to include departments and agencies of the U.S. government — and all foreign drug cartels.

I am familiar with these prohibitive statues because several years ago, while serving as the senior drug analyst for the Senate Intelligence Committee, I was tasked to initiate and became the principal drafter of legislation which became known as the Kingpin Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 1901-08). The Kingpin Act is an extension of the highly successful IEEPA sanctioning program specifically targeting Colombian drug cartels. It expands sanctions authority against various drug cartel operations worldwide — including Mexico — which have been determined by the president to be threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

A violation of any of the IEEPA sanctioning programs or the Kingpin Act carries stiff penalties, both criminal and civil, and potentially totaling decades in prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines. It is not necessary that an individual or governmental entity be shown to have “knowingly” violated any of these programs: it is illegal for any U.S. entity or individual to aid, abet, or materially assist — or in the case of Operation Fast and Furious, to facilitate others to aid, abet, or materially assist — designated drug traffickers. There are no exceptions within IEEPA programs for unlicensed U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agency operations.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Ariz. congressman: Pressure to resign is getting to Eric Holder. It should be. “At least 300 Mexicans were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: DEA Laundering Money For Drug Cartels? “Unlike Fast & Furious, this doesn’t appear to be an operation designed primarily for domestic policy manipulation rather than law enforcement, but it does call into question the judgment of high-ranking US officials.” Can we just shut down ATF & DEA?

MICHAEL WALSH: Eric Holder’s Fast And Furious Lies:

It was all a lie. The angry denials, the high dudgeon, the how-dare-you accuse-us bleating emanating from Eric Holder’s Justice Department these last nine months.

Operation Fast and Furious — the “botched” gun-tracking program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — did, in fact, deliberately allow some 2,000 high-powered weapons to be sold to Mexican drug cartel agents and then waltzed across the border and into the Mexican drug wars — just as Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, who are leading the congressional investigations, have charged all along.

That’s the conclusion we can draw from Friday night’s nearly 1,400-page document dump, which gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of the Justice Department as it struggled earlier this year to come up with an explanation for the deadly mess — and “misled” Congress.

Now the man who supervised it, Attorney General Holder, will appears before Congress again Thursday to testify in the exploding fiasco. But there’s really only one question he needs to answer: Why?

Why did Justice, the ATF and an alphabet soup of federal agencies facilitate the transfer of guns across the border — without the knowledge of Mexican authorities — when they knew they couldn’t trace them properly?

I have my suspicions.

AT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, A CONVENIENT “MISTAKE:” “The Justice Department on Friday provided Congress with documents detailing how department officials gave inaccurate information to a U.S. senator in the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the Southwest border. In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally. In connection with Operation Fast and Furious, both statements turned out to be incorrect.”

UPDATE: Law Prof. Joseph Olson emails: “It was so simple to lie and they thought it would do the trick. Exactly how every cover up commences. Then the ball of string unravels.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark writes:

They dump this stuff on Friday afternoon. Why? Does anyone even pretend to be surprised anymore?

You lie to the DOJ and you go to prison. The DOJ lies to you and it’s just another day at the office.

Indeed.

HOLDER IS IN TROUBLE: Isakson becomes first US senator to demand Holder’s resignation. “Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder should resign over Operation Fast and Furious, making him the first U.S. senator to demand that Holder step down now. . . . Isakson joins 52 congressmen, three presidential candidates and two sitting governors in demanding that Holder resign immediately.”

Also, the pressure seems to be getting to him: “Isakson’s call comes after Holder lost control and accused TheDC of being ‘behind’ calls for his resignation — rather than address them — during an interview at the White House. Holder scolded a Daily Caller reporter when he asked the attorney general to address the surge in calls for his resignation.”

OUCH: Report: Fast and Furious body count may be 3,000.

CHANGE SAME: Obama’s ’08 rhetoric backfires. “Barack Obama’s crusade against political apathy, which helped drive voters to the polls in 2008, is backfiring four years later as Americans grow increasingly frustrated with the sputtering economy and gridlock in Washington.. . . A growing number of Obama’s 2008 supporters now feel the president has failed them, analysts said. Americans’ trust in the political system has never been lower and more voters than ever feel their voices aren’t being heard in Washington. When the president once again admonished a predominantly black audience to ‘put on [their] marching shoes’ in September, members of the Congressional Black Caucus reacted angrily.”

Related: Nick Gillespie: Shepard Fairey’s Occupy Hope or, The Pseudo-Spectacle of Outsiderdom and OWS’s Critical Lack of Imagination.

In general, I find this sort of appeal to the Establishment depressing, but especially in this case. If the Occupy movement, like Fairey, sees Obama as a “potential ally” then what does it say about the way that the president has in fact governed? Like Sen. John McCain, Candidate Obama cast a vote in favor of bailing out the big banks and financial institutions while running for president. He then upped the ante and has shown absolutely zero ability to conjure up an economic recovery plan that does not rely on fixes that were rusted-out by the time Richard Nixon took that final flight to San Clemente back in the 1970s.

Obama’s record on civil liberties and foreign interventions is indistinguishable from George W. Bush’s, whose exit calendar from Iraq he is fulfilling. Except that Obama has managed to lower the bar when it comes to killing American citizens and committing American resources without even the fig leaf of congressional approval. Who wants to support the Solyndra-style crony capitalism, or bizarre gun-running operations such as Fast and Furious? What part of record numbers of deportations of poor Mexicans and raids of legal-under-state-law medical marijuana dispensaries in California does Fairey and Occupants not understand? . . . But for god’s sake, who the hell is Fairey kidding? Obama as Guy Fawkes, a minority Catholic plotting to blow up the government who is only remembered in contemporary America because of a graphic novel and rotten movie that was a stupid anti-Thatcher allegory? Obama isn’t the solution, in part or in whole. Every bit as much as George W. Bush, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, you name it, he’s the problem.

All of it.

THE HILL: Forty Republicans call for resignation of Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general. “Forty Republicans sent a letter to President Obama on Thursday pushing him to ask for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation. The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), highlights Holder’s role in the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious, which was run under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

The number keeps climbing. And at this point, the “botched gun-tracking operation” explanation is somewhere between most-charitable and just plain implausible.

TOBY HARNDEN: Whiff Of Scandal Now Taints Barack Obama.

Certainly, recent Republican shenanigans have provided ample fodder for late-night comedians. Talk to many ordinary Americans beyond Washington’s Beltway, however, and you tend to hear about other concerns.

Yes, they are preoccupied with the prospect of a double-dip recession and unemployment. But two topics that were raised again and again by people I met in Michigan this week were the brewing scandals surrounding Republican-led investigations into Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious. . . . Once principally a preoccupation of Right-wing bloggers, the Solyndra scandal is now being covered by the mainstream media and is slowly becoming an emblem for crony capitalism, wasted stimulus funds and, worst of all, stonewalling and hypocrisy from Obama.

But the appearance of Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill last week underlined the problems that Obama faces in his re-election bid.

If only it were just a whiff.

TU QUOQUE FAIL: Sen. John Cornyn Makes AG Holder Squash Fast And Furious “Bush Did It Too” Argument.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: Former Ariz. US Attorney admits leaking memo smearing Fast and Furious whistle-blower.

Former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who resigned in August, admitted late Tuesday that he leaked a document aimed at smearing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John Dodson, an Operation Fast and Furious whistle-blower.

“Dennis regrets his role in disclosing the memo but he’s a stand-up guy and is willing to take responsibility for what he did,” Chuck Rosenberg, Burke’s lawyer, said according to NPR. “It was absolutely not Dennis’s intent to retaliate against Special Agent Dodson or anyone else for the information they provided Congress.”

Rosenberg claims Burke is cooperating with congressional investigators. . . . The memo was leaked to press and had the names of criminal suspects deleted — but kept Dodson’s name on it. Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire during Tuesday morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when he wouldn’t answer any questions from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley about the leaked memo, who was held accountable for it and how they were held accountable.

It just keeps unraveling.

FAST AND FURIOUS: Holder Refuses To Apologize In Border Agent’s Death.

ERIC HOLDER: Because your government has been arming Mexican drug cartels, we need stronger gun control in America.

UPDATE: Reader David Eaton writes: “There isn’t any constitutional reason why the government’s access to guns could not be limited, is there? So maybe there is some merit to the idea that ‘fast and furious’ means we need more gun control. Just not over citizens.”

THE HILL: Eric Holder Has A Gun Problem.

As the chief law enforcement officer Attorney General Eric Holder came out swinging in the first months of the Obama administration as he pushed to reinstate the assault weapons ban, pointing to the rising levels of violence in Mexico and increased presence of U.S. guns south of the border.

But nearly two years later assault weapons can still be bought and Holder has found himself at the center of a quagmire involving a botched gun-tracking operation that sent thousands of high-powered firearms to Mexico in the hands of known or suspected straw buyers for drug cartels.

Amid a plethora of Republican calls for Holder’s resignation, Democrats have silently indicated their support for the attorney general. Instead of taking him to task for Operation Fast and Furious, Democratic lawmakers have tried to draw attention to what they describe as the country’s weak network of gun laws.

In other words, they’re trying to stage a distraction. Let me be clear: I think it’s possible, and maybe even likely, that this operation was intended to provide PR support for the Administration’s gun-control program by putting traceable U.S. guns at Mexican crime scenes so that Holder could point to them as a reason for more gun control in the United States. (Other explanations — such as that this was a sort of Iran/Contra deal involving the U.S. Government deliberately arming one side in the Mexican drug wars, are even worse). Heads should roll, starting with Holder’s, but not ending there.

BUT THEN, FOR SEN. FEINSTEIN, ISN’T EVERYTHING? For Sen. Feinstein, Gunwalker Still an Excuse to Push Gun Control.

“The problem” that the California Democrat wants to gloss over is that agents of the federal government, acting under orders from officials and appointees from the Obama administration, walked more than 2,020 firearms to the Sinaloa cartel, and now they refuse to say who concocted the plot, who signed off on it, or what the real purpose of the operation was. Operation Fast and Furious is just one of ten gunwalking operations in five states, including at least one operation in the Midwest that supplied weapons to domestic criminal gangs.

Details, details.

FAST AND FURIOUS UPDATE: NRA Calls For Eric Holder’s Resignation. Part of a growing chorus.

SHORT-TIMER: Congressional Calls For Eric Holder’s Resignation More Than Double to 17. “Nine more members of Congress have told The Daily Caller that they’re calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over his handling of Operation Fast and Furious, more than doubling the number on record before the weekend calling for his ouster. A total of 17 members of Congress have now called for Holder to step down.”

REP. JOE WALSH TO ERIC HOLDER: You Better Resign Immediately, Buddy. “Operation Fast and Furious funneled firearms legally purchased at gun shops in the U.S. to known criminal syndicates to prove these syndicates have access to legal purchased weapons. This is a deliberate attempt to vilify and attack the millions of gun owners in America who value our Second Amendment and have never broken the law.”

That’s been my suspicion from Day One.

ATF GUNRUNNING UPDATE: Slain ICE agent’s family still searching for answers.

In the eight months since Jaime Zapata was killed in an ambush in Mexico that also wounded another ICE agent, his parents say they have been proud to see his life eulogized by top U.S. government officials and to see a highway, a road and even a boat ramp named after their son.

But they also have grown increasingly frustrated in their quest to get answers about his death. They want to know why he was in northern Mexico when he initially was told that his assignment was intelligence gathering in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

They want to know more about the guns used in the attack, and whether any of them were tied to the U.S. government’s Operation Fast and Furious, which failed to track weapons that ended up in the hands of Mexican cartel members.

“I feel like I’m not getting the truth,” his mother said Friday in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

I feel the same way. . . .

ROBERT FARAGO: ATF Death Watch 107: How Many Guns? “The funny thing about all this ‘how many guns did the FBI recover’ skirmish is that Fast and Furious unleashed at least 2000 weapons during its ten-month tenure. What’s a gun or three here and there compared to this “iron river” of weapons walked across the border to the Sinaloans with Uncle Sam’s blessing?”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: So much for Obama’s ‘new era of open government.’

Justice Department documents made public Tuesday by Judicial Watch exposed an “accomplishment” of President Obama that his many admirers and enablers in the liberal mainstream media likely don’t want to talk about: a secret meeting on transparency in government. It happened on Dec. 7, 2009, and was convened by the Office of Information Policy in the Justice Department headed by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder. The meeting’s purpose was to train Freedom of Information Act officers from federal agencies how to respond to FOIA requests, including tips on resolving disputes over what government documents can be made public.

Judicial Watch obtained a series of pre-conference emails in which Justice Department officials sought approval from White House media officials for closing the meeting to reporters. That the December meeting was closed was no isolated incident. In one of the emails, Melanie Pustay, OIP’s director, said she has “always held parallel meetings, one for agency ‘ees [i.e. government employees] and then one that is open.” We can only wonder what Pustay tells government FOIA officers that she doesn’t want journalists to hear. . . .

Unfortunately, keeping the meeting secret isn’t the only area in which the Obama administration’s record on this issue has proven to be woefully short of what the president promised. In both the Fast and Furious and Solyndra scandals, for example, Obama appointees have held back thousands of documents legitimately sought by congressional investigators while defending their refusal with arguments coined by President Nixon.

Similarly, Obama’s secretary of labor, Hilda Solis, has gutted transparency regulations that required labor unions to disclose information about the organizations’ financial health, including union officers’ total compensation packages. Also killed was a requirement to report on union trusts, which often function like offshore accounts for corporations in providing a means of hiding assets. And gone is a requirement that would have made unions report on “no-show” jobs — positions for which the union is paid but nobody actually does the work. The biggest losers when unions are able to conceal such information are union members.

It’s as if all that good-government talk was just B.S. to fool the rubes.

TOM MAGUIRE ON OBAMA, HOLDER, AND FAST AND FURIOUS: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again.

Related: Big media outlets ignore subpoena of entire top tier of Obama Administration. (Via Ed Driscoll, who comments, “Say, it’s a good thing the media has Occupy Wall Street to focus on right now to deflect attention not just from this story, but from all of the other high-speed Obamacontinental train wrecks crashing into each other right now, isn’t it?”).

WHITE HOUSE AIDE ERIC SCHULTZ subpoenaed in Fast and Furious probe.

Related: Obama Spoke About “Fast & Furious” Before Holder Claimed He Knew.