The facts are indisputable. On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by drug cartel members just north of the Mexican border. The weapon used in his murder was provided to the cartels by American agents through the disastrous operation known as Fast and Furious.
On February 15, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata was ambushed and killed in Mexico by cartel members. The weapons used were also reportedly tied to Fast and Furious.
As a result of Agent Terry’s killing, coupled with information provided by a courageous whistleblower, ATF Agent John Dodson, the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform launched an investigation to establish accountability and to ensure that this tragedy is never repeated.
Right from the start, it was clear that Attorney General Eric Holder was hindering the investigation. In February 2011, the DOJ submitted a letter to congressional investigators denying the allegation that our government allowed guns to illegally flow into Mexico. In May 2011, Holder testified before Congress that he, himself, had “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Like the rehearsed stories of two co-conspirators, his testimony closely mirrored the comments of Barack Obama who, during a March 2011 interview, also said that he had “heard” about Fast and Furious, emphasizing that it was “on the news.”
Maybe Obama just had more time to read the newspapers, or maybe they didn’t rehearse well enough to get their dates coordinated. Regardless, memos eventually surfaced contradicting Holder’s February letter and his previous testimony. On November 8, 2011, he casually acknowledged that “the letter could have been better crafted.” He also revised his earlier testimony, admitting that he had actually known about the operation much earlier than he previously testified.
From the start, the Attorney General has shown a well-honed ability to adjust his testimony to match whatever new evidence surfaces. The problem for Holder is that there seems to be far more incriminating documents than he has explanations for.
Hours before facing a contempt of Congress vote, Holder asked the President to assert Executive Privilege to keep the records out of the hands of Congress. Since attorneys never ask a question to which they don’t know the answer, it is safe to assume the two had previously discussed this option as a last resort.
Fast and Furious provided no useful intelligence, but did put thousands of guns into the hands of ruthless criminals. Field agents surely saw it as counterproductive and risky. Agent Dodson certainly did. It was not just “ill-conceived,” but a half-baked, dangerous operation, with all the earmarks of political intervention. Who could have sanctioned the plan?
Barack Obama’s distaste for “guns and religion” was inadvertently exposed through his now famous remarks in San Francisco in 2008. Then, during a speech in Mexico in April 2009, he announced that “More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay on our shared border.” Putting aside his inflated numbers, it does seem too coincidental that Fast and Furious would eventually achieve that exact result. Many, in fact, argue that the operation was conceived to increase public outrage over gun proliferation, leading to another assault on our Constitution, this time targeting the Second Amendment.
Anyone who objectively considers Holder’s delaying tactics, his repeated lies, and his obstinate refusal to release the subpoenaed records, even at the risk of contempt charges, can only conclude that they contain something devastating to him, or the administration. After all, if there is nothing embarrassing or incriminating in the records, their release would, at the same time, vindicate Holder and discredit the Republicans.
Yet while the committee simply wants the facts, Democrats argue that the whole investigation is partisan. But who is really making it a partisan issue? Democrats know they have a problem, and are concealing their apprehension with terms like “fishing expedition” and “witch hunt,” which brings us to wild-eyed Nancy Pelosi.
In an act of sheer desperation, they’ve brought Pelosi out to make the bizarre assertion that the investigation is really about voter suppression.
And no Democratic debate would be complete without an indictment of President Bush. They try to connect Fast and Furious to a similar program, known as Operation Wide Receiver, conducted during the Bush Administration. They cleverly argue that this same activity had been going on since then, and that they finally put a stop to it.
But Wide Receiver was vastly different from Fast and Furious, which did not begin until 2009, under the current administration. In the earlier operation, coordinated with the Mexican authorities, undercover operatives did, indeed sell guns to cartel members, but those transactions were controlled deliveries. The guns were either seized at that time, or tracked to other conspirators. It’s done all the time by law enforcement agencies, and is an effective tool that takes criminals off the street and identifies co-conspirators without releasing contraband.
Who is playing politics?
Is it those who circle the wagons to protect political allies, or the investigators who only want the facts brought out?
The documents, after all, don’t lie, and most open-minded people, including many Democrats, know partisanism when they see it. The shameful politicians determined to block this investigation are nothing less than co-conspirators in a disgraceful cover-up.
Peter Lemiska is a freelance writer and former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service. He has a BA degree in psychology.Having spent more than 28 years in government, including eight years in the Air Force, he is deeply concerned about various issues affecting our society, particularly ethics in government. Peter has lived abroad at various times for more than seven years, and had the opportunity to learn Italian. More importantly, his extensive worldwide travel has given him a broad perspective on American politics. You can see more of Peter’s opinion pieces at opinioneditorials.com. He welcomes feedback at[email protected].