House Republicans are due to push forward their frivolous contempt vote against AG Eric Holder tomorrow over Fast and Furious. Let’s establish at the outset, Fast and Furious is one operation in a larger program called Gunrunner which was started under the Bush administration. How it ended up as a politically driven Republican witch hunt is another story.
A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.
It’s a a complicated story and the longer article lays out the details but here’s the shorter version. The ATF has been trying to stop cross border gun running for many years. It’s not an easy task:
…The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF’s congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.
The agents were working in Arizona where the gun laws are especially lax and the Assistant USAGs assigned to the case weren’t particularly interested in prosecuting the perps. The ATF agents had strong evidence against many dozens of straw buyers but the prosecutor declined the cases. This adds an additional problem.
And agents could not seize guns or arrest suspects after being directed not to do so by a prosecutor. (Agents can be sued if they seize a weapon against prosecutors’ advice. …)
In other words, they had to let the “guns walk” because the AG’s office wouldn’t let them arrest the walkers. You have the NRA and the politicians they bought off to thank for the ongoing success of cross border gun running. And by bought off politicians I mean pretty much the entire Republican party and a handful of conservative Democrats.
How it ended up as the latest in GOP political theater is because of the internal bickering on the Fast and Furious team. CBS interviewed one disgruntled agent with a grudge against the team leader. He made a lot of false statements which the House Republicans picked up and pushed into the media narrative and then leveraged into their phony investigation. Read all the details for yourself.
Republicans essentially created the gun running problem by enacting ridiculously loose gun control laws. Now they’re trying to indict a Democratic administration for not cleaning up their mess fast enough. They’re clearly certain they’ll get away with it. Darrell Issa admits he has no evidence of White House wrongdoing yet he continues pushing this farce because he can. He knows no one with the ability to do so will try to stop him.