To achieve the goal of letting weapons lead law enforcement to senior criminal figures, Operation Fast and Furious embraced a controversial tactic that outraged some veteran ATF agents: gunwalking. In Operation Fast and Furious, it was not that some weapons got away from agents, but rather that agents were purposefully directed to allow the flow of guns from straw purchasers to third parties. Instead of trying to interdict the weapons, ATF purposely avoided contact with known straw purchasers or curtailed surveillance, allowing the guns to fall into the hands of criminals and bandits on both sides of the border. ATF agents have explained that this practice was at odds with their core training. – Memorandum to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Darrell Issa
FAST AND FURIOUS allegations against Attorney General Eric Holder have now unfolded into a contempt hearing set for June 20th.
Rep. Ben Quayle let slip what this is really about and that’s pressure to appoint a special prosecutor, which the Daily Caller was all too happy to trumpet. That would be political suicide.
Rep. Issa’s Committee intends to hold A.G. Holder in contempt of Congress for his Department’s refusal to provide subpoenaed documents. Issa claims 30 Democrats will join Republicans in the contempt vote.
“Congress has given Attorney General Holder more than enough time to fully cooperate with its investigation into ‘Fast and Furious,’ and to help uncover the circumstances regarding the death of Border Agent Brian Terry,” Boehner added. “Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested, or Congress will have no choice but to move forward with holding the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing investigation.”
There are no Executive Privilege claims or any other privilege, but Rep. Darrell Issa continues to demand documents that Holder is allegedly refusing to produce. The Justice department has “produc[ed] or [made] available over 7,300 pages of documents to the Committee,” which Issa claims is “a small fraction” of the documents requested.
One angle of this investigation is the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, many of whom believe died at the hands of individuals using the trafficked weapons. CNN’s Sunday article on Mexico and gun running is an interesting read, especially for those new to the subject.
The federal bust here parallels a bigger U.S.-arms-to-Mexican-cartels crisis — “Operation Fast and Furious,” a federal sting that went awry when about 2,000 weapons reached Mexican cartels and two of the weapons were found at a site where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in 2010.
Until “Fast and Furious,” Americans knew “very little” about the flow of U.S. firearms to cartels, said Josiah Heyman, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso and an expert on violence in Mexico and its relationship to U.S. policy.
In a more direct manner than the botched federal operation, the Columbus scandal confirmed that narco-corruption — so endemic to the Mexican side of the border, where cartels are believed to have even murdered mayors and police officials — has infected the U.S. side.
“The part about this [Columbus] story that is very horrifying is not just the corruption of this whole town in a terrible way, but it’s so closely related to an increasingly high level of violence and death next door,” Heyman said…