Fast and Furious Embodies Corruption at Highest Levels
After government-trafficked guns were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010, higher-ups all the way to the White House started scrambling to cover their tracks.
The gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious came to a head two years later on June 20, 2012, when the House voted to hold the United States attorney general in contempt for lying to Congress.
The same day of the House vote, the president himself publicly stepped into the fray. Obama invoked executive privilege in order to prevent long-awaited subpoenaed documents from seeing the light of day. Not surprisingly, the state-run media downplayed Obama's official entrance into the Fast and Furious scandal.
Now, after a 17-month-long investigation, the inspector general for the DOJ is releasing his findings. And another hearing has been scheduled for September 20 (the third time it has been rescheduled), with the IG appearing before Rep. Darrell Issa's House Oversight Committee.
Fox News has already obtained certain sections of IG Michael Horowitz's report. If this partial information is any indication of the rest of the report, it doesn't look like the investigation will be a shining example of transparency.
The IG's conclusion: Fast and Furious began in Phoenix, with most of the blame going to three ATF managers: Phoenix Agent in Charge Bill Newell, Supervisor Dave Voth, and Case Agent Hope MacAllister. Attorneys for all three vehemently defended their clients.
Debra Roth, an attorney for MacAllister, wrote to Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the report "fails to account for the abdication of oversight, guidance and responsibility by ATF headquarters and Main Department of Justice regarding the implementation of what is in essence a strategy to combat an international criminal enterprise.
It looks like Horowitz plans to scapegoat ATF underlings who followed orders from higher-ups at the DOJ. What about DOJ U.S. Attorney in Arizona Dennis Burke, who talked openly about "the river of iron flowing from Phoenix to Mexico"?
The report also cites "a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command." Translation: nothing to see here -- just some negligent ATF agents and their supervisors looking the other way.
"We found no evidence in Operation Fast and Furious that the ATF or the (U.S. attorney's office) attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants," the draft report says.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (BAFTE) receives its orders from the DOJ. And since the president made the decision to cover for his AG, Americans can safely assume he and Holder are up to their eyeballs in Fast and Furious.
Did Horowitz find a smoking gun leading directly to the White House? Did Obama know about Fast and Furious back in 2009? What about Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
Maybe the IG will be able to explain Holder's and Obama's "under the radar role" in a plot that killed two federal agents and scores of Mexican citizens. Perhaps one of the representatives will ask Horowitz the exact location of White House National Security staffer Kevin O'Reilly. Is he still in Iraq hiding out?
Can the IG tell us when weapons possibly linked to Fast and Furious will finally stop showing up in Mexico? Recently, a cache of firearms was found there when school authorities discovered a nine-year-old boy with a fully loaded semi-automatic gun stashed in his bookbag. A police SWAT team raided the boy's home, where they located powerful weapons -- some brand-new. The packaging suggested that they came from the United States, according to Jim Kouri* at the Examiner. Sources will neither confirm nor deny whether the guns are tied to Fast and Furious.
Will Issa then ask Horowitz why he felt it necessary to run the report by White House lawyers before making it public? Why not just let the DOJ attorneys go over it? According to Issa, because of DOJ "pushback," Horowitz delayed the hearing a week in an effort to delete sensitive information and to allow any agencies named in his final report to refute his findings.
Congressman Issa told Greta Van Susteren he is "trying to be cautiously optimistic" and taht he hopes the report and hearing get to the bottom of who really authorized the gun-walking program.
After the last four years of this administration's "transparency," odds are Issa and the rest of us are going to be severely disappointed.
The reason the Fast and Furious scandal never gets off the merry-go-round is because the Obama administration is rife with corruption. Agencies like the DOJ that police an independent IG's reports through demands to review it before the final release to the public can mean only one thing: there's nowhere to turn for real justice.
*Correction: the article was misattributed to David Codrea.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.