Fast and Furious: Let It Bleed

Be careful what you wish for, House Republicans, over the metastasizing Operation "Fast and Furious" scandal at the U.S. Department of Justice. You just might get it.

A Special Prosecutor, I mean. That's exactly what, as we move into the 2012 election year, the GOP shouldn't want.

From a GOP political perspective, Operation "Fast and Furious" is the kind of thing you pray to Jesus for.  A year before a national election, the story breaks that some numb nuts at Main DOJ --  the agency formerly known as ATF, to be specific -- conceived a novel idea for catching Mexican cartels (and their U.S. firearms suppliers) in illegal gun smuggling.  Here's how:  let's have the U.S. Government give the gun dealers guns so they can be smuggled.

Lots of guns -- at least count, at least 2,000 of them.

It worked too. Oh, my, how it worked.

 The US government-supplied weapons were duly purchased by the bad guys. They were then duly "walked" into Mexico. You'll never guess what happened next.

The Mexican gun cartels used the U.S.-provided guns to kill Mexicans. Lots of Mexicans. The complete death toll is still being tallied.

The Mexican government is beside itself. And ATF has a new acting head.

That's only the beginning. The paper trail for this too-stupid-to-live idea, it's emerging, leads directly into the top level of DOJ - to Attorney General Eric Holder and the head of the Criminal Division, to be precise.

Wait, I'm not done. It gets better.

The trail of e-mails also leads into the White House. and it appears that testimony by Attorney General Holder before the House Judiciary Committee about when he first knew about Operation "Fast and Furious" can reasonably be viewed as being false. In response to a question, Holder said he first heard of it only recently, when the scandal broke. Documents produced this week in response to Congressional subpoenas suggest otherwise.


The Obama White House knows it has a real problem on its hands (another one, I mean, besides all the others). The whole thing's going viral as we speak.

In Washington-speak: this baby's got legs.

Yesterday, CBS reporter Sharyl Atkisson told Laura Ingraham on her talk radio program that both the White House and DOJ are yelling (or screaming) at her to sit down and shut up. Apparently, in the Obama White House's view, Attkisson is being  "very unreasonable."

The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times are all being reasonable, Attkisson said the White House spokesman screamed at her. Why can't you?

Or, as President Obama recently said to the Congressional Black Caucus: "stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying."

As I say, fun. Couldn't happen at a better time.

Comes now House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R. Texas) to spoil our fun.

Chairman Smith yesterday called for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to look into whether General Holder committed perjury before the Judiciary Committee when he denied knowing anything about Operation "Fast and Furious" until quite recently. The AG, Chairman Smith's press release says solemnly, has an inherent conflict of interest. He cannot, you see, investigate himself.

Well, duh, now.

God bless you, Chairman Smith. Are you still, 37 years on, seeking revenge for Watergate? Are you like what Talleyrand said about the Bourbons: you've learned nothing and forgotten nothing?

Losing in a landslide is the ultimate sanction for screwing up in office or fudging facts to Congress. That's politics -- and next year is an election year. We don't want a Special Prosecutor, operating in secret. We want a media firestorm.

Let it bleed, I say.

You think they lied to your Committee, Mr. Chairman? Fine. Help us throw the bums out. Raise holy hell about this:  call it a conspiracy at the highest levels, a culture of corruption, perjury, obstruction of justice.

Talk about a cover-up. The arrogance of power. Say it's "another Watergate."

You know what to do - pour it on! Every day,  in front on the TV cameras, on the talk shows and on the floor of the House. Deplore, condemn, express shock. Demand answers. Hold more hearings. Subpoenas, depositions.

Leak like crazy.

Not your style? Okay, pretend you're Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid: look sad and talk about how "concerned" you are.

But, please, sir, shut up about bringing in a Special Prosecutor.

An SP, Mr. Chairman, will give the Obama White House the perfect excuse to bury this thing until after the 2012 election.  

Grand jury secrecy, don't you know.  Can't talk, sorry. "We don't want to prejudice the special prosecutor's  inquiry," Presidential Secretary Jay Carney will piously intone from the White House Press Room podium. We want to, but we can't.


"People's reputations are at risk here," the President will say. "I can't possibly comment."


And the story will die away, just when it got legs.

Who the hell wants that?

So, please, Chairman Smith: put a sock in it. I'm sure you're a good guy. But we don't need no stinkin' Special Prosecutor. This is blood sport - and they're bleeding. We need publicity, lots of publicity, about Operation "Fast and Furious."

Let it bleed -- all over the front pages, PC's, Blackberries and plasma TV's of America.

Update: John Hinderaker at Powerline has further thoughts on the role of CBS.

William La Jeunesse has been working this story hard for FoxNews for some time, it was Sharyl Attkisson at CBS who got the scoop.   While the DOJ documents were leaked exclusively to CBS News ( which therefore gets credit for breaking the story), I should point out that William La Jeunesse of FoxNews has been dogged in his pursuit of the "Fast and Furious" story as well.

Here's Michael Walsh's take at NRO, which adds a few facts (and also credits La Jeunesse).