One Pivotal Week For Fast and Furious
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.
- Friday, October 28 2:24PM
Katie Pavlich reports from Townhall.com that Attorney General Holder will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8.
Holder better get his lies, the lies of President Obama and the lies of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in order before promising to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth about this deadly program. His testimony is sure to be "consistent and truthful" with his efforts to cover-up Fast and Furious since the beginning of the House Oversight Committee investigation.
Will he take the fifth?
- Friday October 28
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?
- Thursday, October 27
Big media shill Jonathan Alter pens a comically dead serious editorial for Bloomberg.com entitled "Obama Miracle Is White House Free of Scandal."
President Barack Obama goes into the 2012 with a weak economy that may doom his reelection. But he has one asset that hasn't received much attention: He's honest.
Although it's possible that the Solyndra LLC story will become a classic feeding frenzy, don't bet on it. Providing $535 million in loan guarantees to a solar-panel maker that goes bankrupt was dumb, but so far not criminal or even unethical on the part of the administration
Every time Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who leads a House investigative committee, calls the Obama administration "corrupt" without offering any evidence, he hurts his cause. It's much harder to make a story register as a bona fide scandal when the political motivation is so obvious.
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.
- Thursday, October 27
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?
- Thursday October 27
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."
- Wednesday, October 26
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."
This not only raises serious questions about your ability to serve as the head of the Justice Department, but also begs the question of why an anti-gun Administration would knowingly force licensed firearms dealers to sell guns to violent criminals. I raise this because Operation Fast and Furious - if the facts of this case had not come to light - would have been used by this Administration as another false argument to attack law-abiding American gun owners.
Representative Joe Walsh became the fourth congressman to demand Holder's resignation.
- Wednesday, October 26
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.
I think we all should be outraged at the death of Agent Terry and I think the first thing is to recognize who actually killed him and that our No. 1 priority was to make sure the shooters were found - some had gone back into Mexico - and that the FBI was in charge of that investigation.
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."
- Tuesday, October 25
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.
According to ATF documents, however, the agency had reason to believe as early as September 17, 2010, that Otilio's brother, and co-habitant Ranfari Osorio, and their next-door neighbor Kelvin Morrison were straw purchasers. Yet the ATF apparently made no effort to contact Ranfari Osorio or Kelvin Morrison and inquire about how their weapons came to be trafficked to Mexico within 2 weeks of their purchase.
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.