Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Operation Fast and Furious: Arizona's Fault NOT Obama Administration

After months of investigations, subpoenas, testimony and deliberation, there is finally a written report that absolves the Obama Administration of wrong doings in the gun trafficking saga: Operation Fast and Furious. According to a report to be published today by House Democrats on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, agents in Arizona's A.T.F are responsible for the missing guns and not the Obama Administration.

In an 89-page report, titled “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gun-walking in Arizona,” the Democratic staff portrays Fast and Furious as the fourth investigation, dating back to 2006, in which Arizona-based agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed the tactic “gun-walking” — failing to interdict illegally purchased guns in an attempt to build a bigger case.
“This report debunks many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, wrote in a cover letter. “Contrary to repeated claims by some, the committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was a politically motivated operation conceived and directed by high-level Obama administration political appointees at the Department of Justice.” 

Let's not forget who the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is - Darryl Issa. Yes, Mr. Issa is not someone to be absolved of responsibility here. Chairman Issa went into this leadership with a vengeance and even said that he looked to produce more subpoenas to the Obama Administration than were issued to the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Administration received over 1000 subpoenas in the 1990's. Touted as someone who is seeking to get rid of fraud, waste and abuse in the federal government, it appears that he may have just participated in a very wasteful exercise.

In Fast and Furious, which ran from late 2009 to early 2011, A.T.F. officials lost track of about 2,000 guns purchased by suspected “straw buyers.” Many weapons are believed to have reached a Mexican drug cartel. Two guns linked to the investigation were found at the site of a shootout in which a Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed.

Congressional Republicans — led by Representative Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the House oversight committee, and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee — have been investigating Fast and Furious for the past year, and much of the Democratic report consists of a synthesis of previously released information.

Still, the report fills in some new details. There has been substantial discussion of two other Arizona-based investigations in which guns purchased by suspected straw buyers also reached Mexico — a 2006-07 case known as Operation Wide Receiver, and a 2007 investigation called the Hernandez case. The report discusses a third, from 2008, called the Medrano case, in which A.T.F. agents watched suspects cross the border with weapons.

The Democrats also suggested that Arizona-based A.T.F. officials developed the tactic out of frustration because prosecutors refused to charge gun cases, even when they had a level of evidence that would have satisfied prosecutors in other jurisdictions. 

So, there is evidence pointing to a problem dating back to 2006, but somehow this is the Obama Administration's fault? Okie Dokey - Nice try Issa.

We began a very lively discussion among the team this morning so I invite you to partake. I don't need to go any further to clue you in on my thoughts.

Food for Thought
1. Is the Democratic Report sufficient proof to absolve the Obama Administration of fault?
2. Was Darryl Issa on a witch hunt or was he justified in launching this investigation?
3. Can Democrats be trusted to deliver an impartial analysis on an incident surrounding a Democratic President's administration?
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