October 31, 2011
One Pivotal Week For Fast and FuriousBy M. Catharine Evans
This past week, top government leaders continued to spin the deadly 2009 gunwalking Fast and Furious operation as some low-level rogue operation. In addition, there were inside-the-Beltway rumors, letters sent between key players, and demands for Holder's resignation.
The heroic online journalists at sites like Sipsey Street Irregulars, PajamasMedia, and Townhall have worked for months uncovering facts leading to the foul murders of federal agents and Mexican citizens. During the week leading up to Halloween, certain signs appeared suggesting that their diligent work is beginning to yield some interesting fruit.
Working backwards Memento-style, here are the highlights in what may turn out to be a watershed week in the high-stakes scandal known as Fast and Furious.
Katie Pavlich reports from Townhall.com that Attorney General Holder will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8.
Will he take the fifth?
Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, penned a letter to Chairman Issa suggesting that Kenneth Melson, the former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, appear before the members to "help the Committee and the American people better understand what mistakes were made in Operation Fast and Furious, how these tactics originated, who did and did not authorize them, and what steps are being taken to ensure that they are not used again."
The tone of Cummings' letter should have interested parties a bit perplexed. The congressman sounds a lot more subdued and respectful towards Congressman Issa. Two weeks ago, an angry Cummings disparaged the chairman's investigation into Fast and Furious as a "deep-sea fishing expedition" and "political stunt." What's up, Mr. Cummings?
Big media shill Jonathan Alter pens a comically dead serious editorial for Bloomberg.com entitled "Obama Miracle Is White House Free of Scandal."
How terrified are these people? Alter mentions Solyndra, a scandal covered by the mainstream media, but only alludes to Fast and Furious via Congressman Issa. This kind of over-the-top damage control must mean that F and F is sending shudders through the halls of power.
Blogger Anthony Martin at Examiner.com reveals that there's a rumor swirling around D.C. that former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, who abruptly resigned in December 2009, has turned over a stack of documents to Congressman Darrel Issa's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Issa's office won't confirm or deny according to Martin.
One thing is for sure: by his own admission, Ogden was in on the ground floor of whatever the higher-ups were planning in secret meetings back in 2009. On March 24, 2009, Ogden spoke at a Department of Justice briefing and announced, "The President has directed us to take action to fight these cartels and Attorney General Holder and I are taking several new aggressive steps as part of the Administration's comprehensive plan."
If Ogden handed over documents that truly "vindicate ATF whistleblowers" and "confirm the guilt of the perpetrators of the scheme within the DOJ," then Issa needs to play it close to the vest. If this turns out to be just cover-up "disinformation," could Ogden be the administration's designated fall guy?
Appearing before the House Foreign Affair Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Representative Connie Mack (R-Fla) that the State Department had not issued a license or waiver to "allow for the transfer of thousands of weapons across the US.-Mexico border." Clinton stated that "there is no record of any request for coordination. We have no record of any kind of notice or heads up."
Asked when she first heard about Fast and Furious, Mrs. Clinton stated, "[F]rom the press." When interviewed by a reporter from CNN Español in March 2011, President Obama gave a similar response, saying he first heard about the gun-trafficking program "in the news."
If anyone thought the internet would make old-fashioned letter-writing obsolete, think again. Hard-copy correspondence is making its way to major players allegedly involved in Fast and Furious. Representative Joe Walsh (R-Ill) joined the fray and wrote a no-holds-barred letter to Attorney General Eric Holder telling him "to resign immediately and issue an apology to the American people he has failed to serve." But the best part centered on Walsh's reference to the current "anti-gun administration."
Representative Joe Walsh became the fourth congressman to demand Holder's resignation.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano got a grilling during a House Judiciary hearing from Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Representative Trent Gowdy (R-SC), and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) (see video).
The "testy" stone-faced secretary showed little empathy for the murdered agents despite her defensive remarks.
Napolitano then called Operation Fast and Furious "troublesome" and denied any involvement, conveniently passing the buck to the Department of Justice. She spoke in the customary cover-up language, advising committee members not to "rush to judgment" and promising that "there will be lessons learned from this."
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Ca), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Holder, head of the Department of Justice, demanding answers on the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011. Zapata was shot to death while driving on a highway near the northern city of San Luis Potosi. A fellow agent was wounded in the deadly attack.
The letter "raises red flags about the nature of the ATF investigation" into Zapata's killing. The opening paragraphs cites a March 1, 2011 ATF press release denying knowledge of Otilio Osorio's purchase of the weapon on September 17, 2010 used to kill Zapata in February 2011.
The ATF did not submit a Report of Investigation (ROI) on a November 9, 2010 transfer of firearms among the Osorio brothers, Morrison, and a Dallas ATF confidential informant until February 25, "the same day ATF received the report tracing the Zapata murder weapon back to the purchase by Otilio Osorio."
The letter implicates Operation Fast and Furious as a game of Russian roulette with other people's lives.
At the heart of the Operation Fast and Furious debacle stands the memory of the victims and their families' search for the truth. It's becoming clearer and clearer each day this investigation may end at the White House. AG Holder has already perjured himself in front of a congressional hearing, and what the mainstream media once termed a "botched sting operation" is turning into a mass murder tragedy threatening to upend our rule of law.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.
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