Rep. Maloney Lies about Fast and Furious

Shilling for Dems desperate to pass off the hot potato known as Fast and Furious to the nearest Republican, Congresswoman Maloney (D-NY) wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Daily News last week entitled "Fast and Furious 'scandal' is a Republican red herring: What we really need are tougher gun laws."

Maloney followed the DOJ playbook on Fast and Furious.  Terms like "gotcha games," "ill-conceived operation," "political fodder," "political sideshow," "witch hunts," and "lax gun laws" are everywhere.  But that's not the worst of it.  The facts don't fit her agenda, so what does she do?  The congresswoman piles lies on top of the propaganda.

If not for the unspeakable grief of the Terry and Zapata families, as well as thousands of Mexican citizens, Maloney's rant wouldn't merit a response.  But people died, and their loved ones deserve better.

Lie: The "Fast and Furious Scandal is a Republican Red Herring."

Truth: The guns retrieved at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder were real; they were later traced to the gun-walking operation.  Senator Grassley and Congressman Issa did not manufacture a crisis, and the only "red" involved is the blood of the victims.

Lie: "Holder is being blamed for a program that is not his creation."

Truth: Fast and Furious was initiated under Holder's watch in the fall of 2009.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms falls under the Department of Justice, therefore he "owns" it.

Lie: "But this initiative, which was identical to one launched under the Bush administration, spiraled out of control, with ATF agents losing track of the guns as soon as they crossed the border."

Truth: The experienced ATF agents deposed by Issa's House subcommittee said they were ordered by higher-ups not to intercept guns "being essentially just bee lined to the drug trafficking organizations" -- a practice one seasoned 21-year veteran agent called "inconceivable ... never, ever in my wildest dreams would I have thought this was a technique ... You don't lose guns ... you don't let guns out of your sight."

Operation Wide Receiver involved approximately 450 guns, not thousands; there was a serious attempt to track the weapons; no one was killed; and Mexican authorities were told about gun-trafficking suspects.  By all accounts, the program was shut down in 2007 after some weapons went missing.

By contrast, Operation Fast and Furious kept ATF agents stationed in Mexico as well as Mexican officials out of the loop; guns were allowed to walk without interdiction; and despite agents' vocal protestations of "outrage and disgust" about the deadly program, Fast and Furious continued until Brian Terry's murder.  Those in charge at the ATF Phoenix field division "ignored their concerns" and told the agents "to get with the program" because senior ATF officials like Special Agent in Charge William Newell had "sanctioned the program."  Hardly "identical."

Lie: "Americans who are outraged at Terry's death rightly want to know whether it has been scrapped and whether Attorney General Eric Holder who oversees ATF, is aggressively investigating Fast and Furious. I can report that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes."

Truth: Holder has stonewalled the investigation at every turn, and he perjured himself on May 3 at a House Judiciary hearing.  Both he and President Obama have denied any knowledge of or involvement in the operation.  When faced with questions from the media, each defers to the ongoing investigation by the DOJ's inspector general, who, coincidentally, worked under Holder as assistant attorney general in D.C. from 1994 to 1997. This faux oversight amounts to Holder investigating himself.

Lie: "But for Republican congressional leaders, one botched operation is not enough to serve their political goals. They need a scandal -- and are desperate to create one."

Truth: The word "botched" might be applicable if the operation out of the Phoenix division of the ATF had been stopped as soon as Agents like John Dodson and Olindo Casa related their fears about the deadly program to superiors.  Agent Dodson reported the general feeling among those in charge was that "if you're going to make an omelet, you need to scramble some eggs."

Agents testified they were essentially told to "stand down" when requesting permission to interdict guns -- that "all of this was sanctioned" and was an "acceptable practice."  At one point, an agent confirmed for the questioner that Phoenix supervisor David Voth regarded the increasing violence (958 killed in March 2010 according to one e-mail) as proof that they were on the right track.  According to a June 14, 2011 staff report prepared for Issa and Grassley, "the agents within Group VII described Voth's reaction to all this gun violence in Mexico as 'giddy'" (36).

The chilling accounts of Phoenix Group VII special agents, who were repeatedly ordered not to intervene when they witnessed suspected straw purchases buying "enormous quantities of assault rifles," made this a full-blown scandal from the beginning.

Lie: "According to recent media reports, another Bush-era AG, Michael Mukasey, received a detailed Fast and Furious briefing in 2007. But only Holder took decisive action in response to these dangerous tactics."

Truth: Here is the memo and supporting documents from 2007.  Congresswoman Maloney's deliberate use of "Fast and Furious" in the same sentence as the year 2007 suggests that specific program began before the 2008 election.  It did not.

Furthermore, Holder has not taken decisive action.  If former AG Mukasey was briefed on ATF's Project Gunrunner two months after taking office, as the memo indicates, Holder's persistent denial that he knew anything about Fast and Furious until April of 2011, more than two years after he took over, can mean only that he's lying or seriously unhinged.  To date, no one has been held criminally accountable for giving orders to "stand down" while mass murder took place.

Lie: "Given the ongoing violence on our border and the glaring loopholes in our gun trafficking laws, it's time for Congress to drop its witch hunts and get serious. We cannot continue allowing weapons to end up in the wrong hands."

Truth: I doubt that the Terry or Zapata families would consider Congress' efforts to thoroughly investigate the murders of their loved ones a "witch hunt."

Congress happens to be dead serious.  For some unknown reason, those "glaring loopholes" became craters on Holder's watch.  The distinct feature of Fast and Furious that sets it apart from previous operations "is that absolutely no effort to track the guns was ever in place."

So far, big media has gone along with the "lax gun laws" and "Bush started it" defense.  But Americans are growing tired of the lies -- to say nothing of representatives like Maloney who spew them and an administration who continues to blame a former president while ratcheting up its own so-called failed programs.

Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.

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