ATF Death Watch 152: Is Representative Issa Caving on Fast and Furious Probe?

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Representative Darrel Issa has been the driving force behind the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious; the ATF program that put U.S. gun store guns into the hands of Mexican cartel members, contributing to the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Immigrations, Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, and an unspecified number of Mexican civilians. The Department of Justice is the agency ultimately responsible for the ATF. Its head, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, has been stonewalling the Congressional probe. Issa’s Committee was prepared to vote on a contempt of Congress citation to force Holder to release some 70k documents relating to Fast and Furious. CNN reports on the latest development . . .

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Friday he would postpone next week’s scheduled vote on a contempt measure if Attorney General Eric Holder fulfills his offer to turn over more documents on the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running sting operation.

Note: despite the Obama administration’s repeated and successful attempts to “sell” Fast and Furious as a “botched sting” it was nothing of the sort. Nor was it a simple continuation of Bush-era ATF skullduggery (as Judge Napolitano suggests).

In the Bush-era ops, the ATF tried to follow the guns.  During Fast and Furious, the ATF never attempted to follow the 2000+ firearms purchased by Mexican cartel members with the Bureau’s blessing. According to ATF Agent John Dodson, agents were ordered not to maintain contact with the weapons or their purchasers.

This is no small point. While Issa wants the Department of Justice documents to answer the critical who knew what when questions about Fast and Furious, it’s entirely possible/probable that the DOJ will withhold any and all papers regarding the nature of the program. After 152 Death Watches, a year-and-a-half after ATF enabled drug thugs gunned down Agent Terry, we still don’t know the real reason why the program existed.

Nor do we know how Fast and Furious fit into the full farrago of Uncle Sam’s pro-cartel black bag jobs. For example, what of Operation Castaway, the other ATF gun smuggling op (from Palm Beach to Honduras)? Why was captured grenade and machine gun maker Jean Baptiste Kingley released from custody on the orders of the U.S. Attorney’s office? But wait! There’s more . . .

We also know that the DEA provided money used by cartel members for the illegal purchases made during Operation Fast and Furious. We know that the DEA laundered tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for the Sinaloa cartel.

Guns yes. A criminal conspiracy to arm criminals who murdered a U.S. citizen? Obviously. But Watergate taught us a simple lesson: follow the money. Check this from borderlandbeat.com:

A case which is emblematic of the permissive policy that the U.S. government follows in money laundering cases  brings us to the Bank of Wachovia, whose executives, without running any great risk, laundered millions of dollars from drug trafficking. According to news stories, between 2004 and 2007, Wachovia handled $378.4 billion dollars that they transferred Mexican currency exchange  businesses, without the bank’s owners and executives worrying much about the source of these funds.

When the U.S. authorities detected the irregularities, they merely imposed a fine of $160 million, that is to say, less than 2% of its earnings in 2009. In effect, the punishment became an incentive for bankers and all sorts of businessmen to continue laundering money in violation of the law.

In short, Fast and Furious was but one part of a larger scheme by the Obama Administration to . . . what? One bank, three years, $378.4 billion. Is it completely inconceivable that the Obama Administration was helping prop-up the Mexican economy by allowing drug money to flow unimpeded from American consumers to Mexican financial institutions? Could Fast and Furious been part of some sort of quid pro quo?

If so, releasing documents specifically related to Fast and Furious, redacting any “tangential” information, could be a ploy by Holder et al. to contain the scandal. Gun smuggling is one thing. Doing business with Mexican drug cartels on an epic scale quite another. CNN:

In a two-page letter to Issa on Thursday, Holder promised to provide documents he has so far refused to turn over and also proposed a face-to-face meeting by Monday.

Issa responded Friday with his own letter, saying Holder’s offer would be sufficient to postpone the vote scheduled for Wednesday on a measure citing Holder for contempt.

So Holder meets with Issa, the U.S. AG spins a story about U.S. foreign policy and national security, and the two men hammer out a deal. Holder resigns or, at the least, throws a bunch of minions under the bus (awaiting a presidential pardon), Issa claims victory and it’s business as usual. Case closed. Or not . . .

“While I do have substantial concerns that these documents may not be sufficient to allow the committee to complete its investigation, delivery of these documents before the scheduled consideration of contempt at 10:00 am on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, would be sufficient to justify the postponement of the proceeding to allow for the review of the materials,” Issa wrote.

Issa said he also wants to meet with Holder and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, another leading critic of the Fast and Furious program, as soon as Tuesday. Both Issa and Grassley have been demanding information from Holder’s department on the program.

What happens next depends entirely on Issa and Grassley’s decision on the scope of their investigation. The one question that has not been answered—why did the ATF run Operation Fast ad Furious—is the thread which could unravel the feds’ profoundly misguided policy towards the Mexican drug cartels. Which includes, as we have learned over the last year or so, the ATF, DEA, FBI, DHS, DOJ, ICE, CPB, CIA, State Department and White House.

Gun rights advocates see Fast and Furious as a ploy by Obama’s Boyz to clamp down on Americans’ gun rights—as they have done (via Executive Order) with the unconstitutional long gun registry imposed on 8500 border-dwelling gun stores. Others (i.e. yours truly) see it as part and parcel of a profoundly corrupt deal to protect the Calderon administration.

It could be both. Or neither. But until that question is answered in full, the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious will not be complete. Americans deserve to know the truth about Uncle Sam’s gun running. As do the families of Agents Terry and Zapata.

comments

  1. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I was told once by a retired Isreali tank commander that democracy worked too slowly for him. Dictatorships were much quicker and more efficient, but the benefit of of a slowly working government is the ability to change course without wrecking the whole train in a crash. I can see Rep. Issa agreeing to wait until after these new documents are produced and given an examination. Then let us see what happens.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I can see Rep. Issa agreeing to wait until after these new documents are produced and given an examination. Then let us see what happens.

      That’s the prudent thing to do. The threatened contempt citation against Holder is NOT punitive; it’s intended to compel disclosure. If Holder does disclose, then there’s no further reason for the citation.

      1. avatar theaton says:

        I agree that postponing the contempt citation is prudent if documents are turned over. However, accepting a subset of the documents requested in the subpoena as a basis for halting the contempt citation is wrong. If it happens, Issa should be replaced by the voters. No matter what happens, Boehner must at the very least be removed as speaker and at best, removed from office.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Others (i.e. yours truly) see it as part and parcel of a profoundly corrupt deal to protect the Calderon administration.

    I share that point of view. The conduct of the alphabet-soup agencies is transparent. The purpose was and remains to support the Sinaloa Cartel (the one that Calderone “likes”) against the Zetas, a paramilitary group that otherwise would be quite capable of destabilizing Mexico and exerting undue influence on Mexico’s upcoming presidential election. So, our government has laundered Sinaloa money, supplied the Sinaloas with guns and “donated” airplanes to transport their dope, all in the hope that the Sinaloas would be able to kill off the Zetas in a gang war to save democracy.

    The G’s done stuff like this before by embracing one evil to beat another. The FBI made a deal with the devil with Whitey Bulger and other stone killers here and with dictatorships all over the world. So, really, the pact with the Sinaloas is nothing but business as usual.

    Unfortunately, having a favored cartel is a lot like keeping a pet alligator in your backyard pool. You can feed it, care for it and even love it, but in the end it won’t make a difference. A gator is a predator. It has no loyalty except to its own need to feed and make little gators. So, sooner or later, “your” gator is going to climb out of that pool and bite your damn head clean off at the neck.

    1. avatar Parthenon says:

      This
      How to think the Taliban got started? It was sponsored by the US as part of a program designed to weaken the Soviet Union.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Nope, you’re a little off there. The US supported groups like those headed by Ahmad Shah Massoud while Pakistan supported groups that later became the Taliban. After the US dropped interest after the Soviets pulled out, Pakistan continued to fund the Taliban elements allowing them to take control.

      2. avatar Steve says:

        Whoops, let me correct that. Most of the US support went to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, due to poor intelligence. There were supporters of Ahmad Shah Massoud in the State Dept, but CIA support was not significant.

  3. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Well he has till Wednesday 10 am to back up the u haul and unload all the documents. If it doesn’t happen or if he shows up with a Toyota and 10,000 pages which half is blacked out then the contempt vote would proceed as I understand it.
    Yes I feel Eric is stalling. I have serious concerns and beliefs that this is nothing, and would implicate a broad range of folks in Washington.
    We really don’t know but until we get documentation and I mean all of it, then it is a stall tactic. I think the question is why? If there was nothing to hide and it was in fact just a bad sting operation then cough it up and put it to rest. The stone walling is doing more damage, but then again maybe not.

  4. avatar Levi B says:

    It’s simple: if you stonewall a CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION, you should GO TO JAIL until you comply.

  5. avatar Not Too Eloquent says:

    It’s all theater controlled by the puppet masters. The rest of us are just pawns to be controlled.

  6. avatar Mozart says:

    Given the over reach of the federal govt. since 9/11 and if one was honest with themselves some 70-80 years prior if not well prior to that.

    Claiming to be dumbfounded or taken by surprise by the federal government is at best willfully ignorant, at worst complicit.

    Really folks have we become so caught up within ourselves not to recognize the continuing onslaught and complicity within the rank and file of bureaucrats?

    Are we so self consumed with our daily struggles not to recognize the selfish contempt our federal government has for the citizen?

    It has been made very clear for many years (due to the ignorance of the electorate) the republic is sitting on a razor’s edge, those that believe in a republican form of government (not to be confused with democrats and republicans) are a minority and dwindling as we pontificate!

    Fast and Furious is a diversion a way to blur the vision of the few still able to see the forest for the trees.

    1. avatar theaton says:

      The fact that we do nothing in the face of continued over reach is proof that we are complicit and not just willfully ignorant. We just don’t give a damn.

  7. avatar FYI says:

    The Federal Reserve Bank isn’t federal, isn’t a reserve and through the fractional banking system trillions of dollars are owed by the taxpayers to the FRBankers. Money that never had a tangible basis and has been created out of pure ether.
    The Central Bankers of the U.S. are key players in collapsing the economy with fed.gov intent on continuing to plunge the U.S. into a socialist nation.
    The next phase of the Agenda is to solidify the Union of the Americas.
    Beginning with the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Union will structured on the European Union model, ( orchestrated by the same group and their Trilateral Commission C.F. Relations flunkies, ) complete with appointed officials, bureaucrats and functionaries. The Union will have legislative, regulatory, taxing and law enforcement authority. The drug wars on the border are impeding progress. Had this not been the case, the Union would already be official. Whether or not the Amero currency is introduced to replace the U.S. dollars is yet to be determined, but the U.S. Dollar with be devalued significantly as a result. Money laundering, drug running, supplying guns to cartel members and amnesty for millions of illegals is all part of the Agenda.
    Whether it’s thru Obamacare or enacted through U of the Americas legislation, sooner or later, it’s to be expected that certain classes of firearms will be banned and registration required for all civilian owned firearms.

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