Attorney General Milo Minderbinder
It is a true pity that Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22, is no longer with us. He deserved the chance to observe his character Milo Minderbinder, come to life. Minderbinder is Heller's prototype of deceitful, arrogant authority gone so awry he undercuts the very reason for his post and its operations. I'm talking about our own Attorney General Eric Holder under whose watch arms were shipped to Mexican drug gangs, U.S. agents laundered the cartels' drug money, and hundreds of Mexicans and one -- perhaps two -- federal agents were murdered with the illegally sold guns.
Minderbinder's motive was money and he was blind to the dire consequences of his conduct to his fellow troops and country:
1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: "What's good for M & M Enterprises will be good for the country."
Holder's motivation is still less apparent -- or at least it was until he appeared this past week after a late hour document dump days before. Those documents indicate, what others had long suspected: Our government -- in particular those agencies charged with enforcing drug and gun laws -- were violating those laws and destabilizing the area along the Mexican border, Mexico itself, and jeopardizing the lives of citizens and law enforcement agents in both countries -- seemingly in order to make its case that we need more gun control. Our lives are secondary to this administration's political agenda, an agenda which , in any event, would appear to violate the Second Amendment.
Less than a week before Holder's testimony, the Department of Justice, in an unprecedented move, formally withdrew a letter it had submitted to Congress on February 4 respecting the operation known as Fast and Furious. In that letter Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said: "ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico."
Some ATF agents -- and perhaps other whistleblowers whose identities remain unknown to us at this time -- established to Congress that that statement was in direct conflict with the truth. As he had to, Holder acknowledged that in future decades more people could be killed by the guns his subordinates deliberately let walk into the hands of drug cartels .
While a number of bloggers had early on voiced their suspicion that Fast and Furious had been undertaken to support the White House's anti-gun agenda, there was little direct proof of it. CBS' Sheryl Attkisson is to my knowledge the first to provide evidence in support of this logical supposition noting that emails in the most recent document pile showed ATF officials were using the weapon transfers they demanded as justification for new gun sale regulations they called "Demand letter 3."
As IBD explains in a post which cannot be improved upon, the chutzpah of the operation beggars belief:
We say deliberate because congressional testimony by ATF agents demonstrates how the tracking of Fast and Furious weapons stopped at the border and that requests to interdict the weapons transfers and arrest the gun traffickers were denied by higher-ups.
Demand Letter 3 was so named because it was the third ATF attempt to have Southwest gun shops report all long-gun (rifle or shotgun) sales to the ATF -- even those to law-abiding American citizens with all the proper registration and other forms.
On July 14, 2010, five months before Terry's murder, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, the ATF's Phoenix special agent in charge of Fast and Furious: "Bill, can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time? We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long-gun sales. Thanks."
On Jan. 24, as the ATF was preparing to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, another email showed Newell saw it as an opportunity "to address multiple sales on long guns issue."
After the press conference, Chait emailed Newell that in "light of our request for Demand Letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of the case."
Two earlier Demand Letters affected only a handful of dealers.
As it was funneling some 2,000 guns to Mexican criminals and drug lords, the Justice Department announced April 25 that it was requiring 8,500 gun stores in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico to report individual purchases of multiple rifles of greater than .22 caliber by law-abiding American citizens to the ATF because -- get this -- such guns are "frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border."
Perhaps the reference to Milo Minderbinder is even closer than I have suggested. For as bad as the arms shipments to the cartels are, millions of dollars in laundered drug money is also involved. As American Thinker and the New York Times reported:
We now have several news outlets reporting that the DEA has decided to be in the business of laundering the money for Mexican drug cartels. Apparently, it is a new program and involves significant sums of money. The NY Times sums it up in one paragraph:
One D.E.A. official said it was not unusual for American agents to pick up two or three loads of Mexican drug money each week. A second official said that as Mexican cartels extended their operations from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the reach of the operations had grown as well. When asked how much money had been laundered as a part of the operations, the official would only say, "A lot."
Call me cynical, but I cannot imagine millions of dollars being laundered in a carelessly executed and supervised operation without a substantial amount of it ending up in the pockets of those who laundered it and those to whom they reported.
George Costanza (one of the Seinfeld comedy stable) famously said: It's not a lie if you believe it"
Contrast George's justification with Holder's testimony (summarized by the N.Y. Post's Michael Walsh):
That the recently withdrawn letter from the Justice Department to Congress denying federal responsibility for the program was not a lie, "because it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered perjury or a lie."
That the push for something called "Demand Letter No. 3" -- a new regulation to compel border-state gun dealers to report multiples sales of long guns to the ATF -- had nothing to do with the fact that the feds had just allowed some 2,000 weapons to "walk" to Mexico and were using the blowback to justify more gun control.
That Holder doesn't read the memos in his own in-box, instead relying on staffers to bring pertinent information to his attention.
And that, miraculously, of the thousands of pages of e-mails about F&F turned over to Congress last Friday night, not one is from or to Holder -- that he was just an innocent bystander as the US Attorney's office and ATF field headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., cooked up the scheme.
Adding to reasons to discredit his testimony is this: The Attorney General's first defense to charges of his failures on Fast and Furious was that that he didn't know about any of it until a few weeks before the May hearings before the House Judiciary Committee. On Thursday of last week, he said that he became aware of the operation sometime in the beginning of 2011 when Senator Grassley started inquiring about it.
In any event he's refusing to provide documentation of any internal documents after February 4 of this year.
The utter lack of candor by the Attorney General and shunning of accountability for the monstrous actions under his watch by his people defies belief.
Here's a short exchange by Congresswoman Sandy Adams of Florida, who was a law enforcement officer and whose late husband was one. It gives you the flavor of the hearing as well as anything else might:
The Attorney General remains in office and announced he has no intention of resigning. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has said impeachment is an option, Obama remains silent on the issue. Let's hope Congress has no intention of letting up and that the dominant media finally realizes the breathtaking scandal they (with rare exceptions) have been sitting on in its efforts to protect the President they did so much to put in office. I doubt the public will find the Holder confection palatable.
1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: I want to serve this to the men. Taste it and let me know what you think.
[Yossarian takes a bite]
Yossarian: What is it?
1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: Chocolate covered cotton.
Yossarian: What are you, crazy?
1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: No good, huh?
Yossarian: For Christ's sake, you didn't even take the seeds out.
1st Lt. Milo Minderbinder: Is it really that bad?
Yossarian: It's cotton!