"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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fast and Furious Gets Faster and Furiouser

While the media agonizes over when to drop the story of Newt Gingrich's infidelity in the 1990s, the Fast and Furious scandal took a remarkable turn yesterday:

The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is refusing to testify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the federal gun-running scandal that sent U.S. weapons to Mexico.

Patrick J. Cunningham informed the House Oversight Committee late Thursday through his attorney that he will use the Fifth Amendment protection.

Cunningham was ordered Wednesday to appear before Chairman Darrell Issa and the House Oversight Committee regarding his role in the operation that sent more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa Cartel. Guns from the failed operation were found at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry.
The letter from Cunningham’s Washington DC attorney stunned congressional staff. 

Well, no kidding.   This ought to be the biggest story right now.   It's a story that, if it were a Republican administration, would have already spawned special prosecutors and impeachment talk.   That it's apparently not a big deal to the current mainstream media shows that they have completely lost perspective and gone in the tank for Obama's reelection.

Think of it:   a federal government program delivers automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels, resulting in the death of a federal agent and the deaths of many more Mexicans, and a U.S. attorney is forced to plead the 5th.   Does that sound like a news story to you?   Does that ring of Pulitizer Prizes for whomever has the temerity to ask hard questions?   When did Eric Holder know about the program?   When did Obama?  Who authorized it at the highest levels?   And why?   What was the purpose?    Apparently not very many White House reporters care.   Certainly we haven't heard many questions asked about Fast and Furious in the Republican debates.

The letter from the U.S. attorney's lawyer to the House Committee that had subpoenaed him is here.   Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee investigating Fast and Furious made this statement:

"The assertion of the fifth amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department's integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees. This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department's motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.

"Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers. Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts? The committee will continue to demand answers."

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