"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mark Steyn is Furious About Fast and Furious

UPDATE:  Bumped to the top.   Darrell Issa of the House Government Oversight Committee has fired off a letter to Eric Holder that is a remarkable (and remarkably blunt) document.   Here are some highlights:

From the beginning of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations to justify its involvement in this reckless and deadly program. These defenses have been aimed at undermining the investigation....  

All of these efforts were designed to circle the wagons around DOJ and its political appointeesTo that end, just last month, you claimed that Fast and Furious did not reach the upper levels of the Justice Department. Documents discovered through the course of the investigation, however, have proved each and every one of these claims advanced by the Department to be untrue. It appears your latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in your letter from Friday you now claim that you were unaware of Fast and Furious because your staff failed to inform you of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to you. At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt....

The Department has actively engaged in retaliation against multiple whistleblowers, and has, on numerous occasions, attempted to disseminate false and misleading information to the press in an attempt to discredit this investigation.

Your letter dated October 7 is deeply disappointing. Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Department's responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program....

In the summer of 2010, at the latest, you were undoubtedly informed about Fast and Furious. On at least five occasions you were told of the connection between Fast and Furious and a specific Mexican cartel – the very cartel that you had vowed to destroy. You were informed that Manuel Celis-Acosta and his straw purchasers were responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. Yet, you did nothing to stop this program....

On May 3, 2011, I asked you directly when you first knew about the operation known as Fast and Furious. You responded directly, and to the point, that you weren't "sure of the exact date, but [you] probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." This statement, made before Congress, has proven to be patently untrue. Documents released by the Department just last week showed that you received at least seven memos about Fast and Furious starting as early as July 2010.

In your letter Friday, you blamed your staff for failing to inform you about Operation Fast and Furious when they reviewed the memos sent to you last summer. Your staff, therefore, was certainly aware of Fast and Furious over a year ago. Lanny Breuer was aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010, and Gary Grindler was also aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. Given this frequency of high level involvement with Fast and Furious as much as a year prior to your May 3, 2011 testimony, it simply is not believable that you were not briefed on Fast and Furious until a few weeks before your testimony....  

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this intransigence is that the Department of Justice has been lying to Congress ever since the inquiry into Fast and Furious began....

Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.

Operation Fast and Furious was the Department's most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives – destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.

My new hero.


One of the things I try to read every week is the weekly interview Hugh Hewitt does on Thursdays with Mark Steyn.   Steyn is one of the most incisive and funny commentators going today, and his take on the exploding "Fast and Furious" gunrunning scandal last week was classic:

It’s not about Eric Holder being aggressive about gun running. In this case, the government of the United States is the gun runner. That is basically what’s happening here. There would be no guns running to these Mexican cartels if the United States government hadn’t instituted a program to facilitate it. Now real Mexicans are dead. Does the president of the United States, does his Attorney General, does the New York Times, does CNN, does NPR, do they not care about dead Mexicans? I mean, forget the United States Border Patrol guys who were killed with these Fast and Furious guns. Real live, or previously live citizens of third world countries, the kind of people that NPR and the New York Times claim to love, are dead because of this. Why isn’t that a national scandal? This is absolutely amazing. Iran Contra didn’t rack up that kind of body count. Watergate didn’t rack up a body count. Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mother, or whatever stupid story they were chasing around Wasilla for months, that didn’t rack up a body count. There are hundreds of dead Mexicans from a gun running program run by the United States.
Meanwhile, Darrell Issa in the House is planning to subpoena Eric Holder to ask him, I guess, why he perjured himself the last time he was before the House when he said that he had only just learned about the Fast and Furious program (when he had actually known about it all along).  

Things are getting interesting.   At what point does the Democratic Party start thinking about dumping Obama?   I think we've reached that point, and that the rumblings are going to get louder.

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