The Fast and Furious Scandal gets worse for AG Eric Holder and his Department of Justice. The Watergate adage that it is not the crime, it's the cover-up that matters comes to mind, with the reservation that the crime in F&F -- supplying thousands of sophisticated firearms to a drug cartel -- dwarfs a third rate burglary in gravity. Hundreds of Mexicans have been slaughtered, and two US sworn agents murdered.
The fact that the Department of Justice has now acknowledged that it has lied to Congress, covering up its involvement, should make this a headline-grabber of a case, dominating the news. But because the incumbent president is a Democrat, the mainstream media is yawning and pretending that serious crimes have not been committed by senior law enforcement officials, and that the carnage of Mexican and American victims matters not a whit.
Investor's Business Daily editorializes about the admitted lies to Congress:
The Justice Department has formally withdrawn a letter to Congress denying it sanctioned or allowed guns to be transferred to Mexico because it contained "inaccuracies." That's one way of putting it.
Back in February, Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch, in response to the investigations by Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Fast and Furious gun "walking" program run out of ATF's Phoenix office, wrote a letter stating that the "allegation that ATF 'sanctioned' or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons is false."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Welch contended, "makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico." Another Friday document dump has confirmed what agent testimony and other information have already shown - this letter, and almost everything in it, was a complete fabrication.
Coincidentally on Friday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, in another letter to Congress, wrote: "Facts have come to light during the course of this investigation that indicate the Feb. 4 letter contains inaccuracies." In other words, the Department of Justice lied to Congress.
We already knew Fast and Furious was not just a "botched" operation intended to combat firearms trafficking in which the government simply "lost track" of thousands of weapons that eventually wound up in the hands of the Sinaloa cartel.
It was intended to let guns be delivered to Mexican drug cartels and was discovered only when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered and two of the weapons were found at the scene.
Lying to Congress is a crime. No doubt the DoJ will plead incompetence, just as AG Eric Holder already has, about telling Congress he knew nothing about F&F when he had received a briefing memo on the program. Holder claimed he hadn't read the memo, essentially averring that in his preparation for Congressional testimony he didn't bother with any details before committing himself under oath to a lie.
But there is a much more serious underlying crime here. James K. Stinebower helped draft the law in question, and discusses it on PJ Media:
I refer to the apparent violation of at least one (probably two) major U.S. laws by the Holder Justice Department. A few years ago, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701, the follow-on to the Trading with the Enemy Act) was expanded in order to criminalize any transactions between U.S. entities - to include departments and agencies of the U.S. government - and all foreign drug cartels.
I am familiar with these prohibitive statues because several years ago, while serving as the senior drug analyst for the Senate Intelligence Committee, I was tasked to initiate and became the principal drafter of legislation which became known as the Kingpin Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 1901-08). The Kingpin Act is an extension of the highly successful IEEPA sanctioning program specifically targeting Colombian drug cartels. It expands sanctions authority against various drug cartel operations worldwide - including Mexico - which have been determined by the president to be threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.
A violation of any of the IEEPA sanctioning programs or the Kingpin Act carries stiff penalties, both criminal and civil, and potentially totaling decades in prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines. It is not necessary that an individual or governmental entity be shown to have "knowingly" violated any of these programs: it is illegal for any U.S. entity or individual to aid, abet, or materially assist - or in the case of Operation Fast and Furious, to facilitate others to aid, abet, or materially assist - designated drug traffickers. There are no exceptions within IEEPA programs for unlicensed U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agency operations.
Fast and Furious is a wild card in the coming election season. It is a bloody mess, quite literally. Imnagine if Mexico had been discovered to be supplying weapons to American gangs. That would be considered an act of war.
Eric Holder may be coming a bit unglued under the pressure. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) thinks so:
"I don't know how he [Holder] could have allowed this to occur," Gosar told The Daily Caller. "When you go back in the timeline - and I'm very meticulous about timelines - back in 2009 he [Holder] talked about changing the whole mantra of following gun-walking and trying to follow these guns. The president even followed up by utilizing false numbers. He said 90 percent of all the guns going into Mexico come from the United States, when that didn't occur. You can see that this was on their radar screen."
In a separate but parallel operation, news comes to light of the DEA being involved in money laundering for drug cartels, on the purported mission to track down miscreants. Yet no arrests or enforcement actions have resulted.
When the federal government becomes involved in the operation of foreign drug cartels as an ally, we have a problem. A big problem.
The media will do its best to ignore the situation, but it is so evil that a cover-up is hazardous at best for the president, his AG, and his administration. Stay tuned.