Columnist: “Fast and Furious” is a bust • Fred Johnson
The "Fast and Furious" gun operation became known to the public when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered using a weapon that had been “walked” to Mexico under the Fast and Furious program. Under this program gun shop owners in the U.S. were told by ATF agents to break the law and sell weapons to Mexican drug dealers. ATF agents were warned not to intercept those weapons and allow them to “walk” to Mexico. Four federal agencies under the Department of Justice were involved.
Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress after the death of Brian Terry and a Congressional investigation was begun into the Fast and Furious program. The head of the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, stated under oath that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious and President Obama said that he only learned about it from news reports.
However, Holder refused to produce the documents requested by Congress concerning Fast and Furious and the Congressional Committee scheduled a vote to cite him for contempt of Congress. But on the day scheduled for the vote, President Obama invoked executive privilege to withhold those documents. You might recall that Richard Nixon invoked executive privilege in an attempt to hide damaging Watergate documents from Congress.
Now we have the interesting situation where President Obama, who said he only learned of the program from the news, is claiming executive privilege to withhold the documents. One can conclude that either the President was in the middle of it all along or is protecting his Attorney General who swore under oath he knew nothing about it.
One of the claims from Democrats is that Fast and Furious was initiated under the Bush administration. George Bush did start a program called "Wide Receiver," where guns were sold to drug dealers with hidden tracking devices to allow them to be traced. The Mexican government assisted in the operation and over 1,400 arrests were made. However, drug dealers eventually began to disable the tracking devices and the program was terminated in October 2007.
Fast and Furious was begun in October 2009 under the Obama administration. The Mexican government was not told about the program and no tracking devises were used. The purpose of Fast and Furious appears to be to allow weapons from U.S. gun dealers to be found at scenes of crimes which would then allow Democrats to demand stricter gun laws. The program has resulted in numerous deaths on both sides of the border including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
A better name for Obama’s program might be "Sneaky and Devious."
Printed in the June 28, 2012 edition