Fast and Furious is Barack Obama’s Watergate. The President’s decision to evoke Executive Privilege is an exact echo of Richard Nixon’s strategy to protect the Watergate Tapes—recordings that established the White House coverup of an intelligence-gathering burglary at the Watergate building. Only this time the President lied and people died. Specifically, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata and an unspecified number of Mexican nationals—all murdered by drug thugs wielding weapons enabled by the ATF’s Fast and Furious program. A program that was, in all likelihood, authorized by the President of the United States. As Andrew McCarthy kinda sorta maybe concludes over at nationalreview.com . . .
If, prior to Agent Terry’s murder, plans were already being made for Attorney General Holder to appear at the anticipated press conference to announce arrests, it is inconceivable that discussions about the case were not ongoing between the U.S. attorney’s office and Main Justice — which, of course, would already have been quite familiar with the case because of the OCDETF [Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force] designation and the wiretaps.
OCDETF cases get the attention of the Justice Department’s top hierarchy. What gets that level of attention gets the attorney general’s attention. And what gets the attorney general’s attention very often gets the president’s attention.
That would be the president who just invoked executive privilege.
That’s supposition—completely credible common sense supposition—but not a smoking gun. The Justice Department wiretap authorizations related to Fast and Furious, leaked to Representative Issa’s House Oversight Committee, signed by top officials at the Justice Department, could well be the damning documents that connect Attorney General Eric Holder to Fast and Furious. We haven’t seen them but McCarthy reckons . . .
There is little doubt that the wiretap applications would show that senior DOJ officials were aware of the gunwalking tactic long before Agent Terry was gunned down on December 14, 2010. But that’s not the half of it. Bet your bottom dollar that gunwalking was discussed in the consideration of whether to make Fast and Furious an OCDETF case in the first place. OCDETF investigations, moreover, are carefully monitored by the Justice Department throughout, to ensure that the extraordinary flow of funding continues to be worthwhile. I’m wagering that senior DOJ officials — which is to say, Obama-administration political appointees — knew about the gunwalking for close to a year before Agent Terry’s death.
Well that would be damning. Especially if that chain of information extended into the Attorney General’s office and, from there, into the office of the President of the United States.
Lest we forget, President Obama told Univision TV on March 31, 2011 that he didn’t authorize Fast and Furious. He also stated that Eric Holder didn’t authorize Fast and Furious. Click here for the CIC’s official denial (still frame above, embed code dis-enabled by CBS News).
So let’s say Eric Holder authorized or at least knew about Fast and Furious before Agent Terry’s murder. That would mean Holder lied to Obama about his involvement. The President, who appointed him, believed him. (D’oh!) Alternatively, the President lied for Holder. Alternatively or additionally, the President lied about his own knowledge of F&F, up to and/or including authorizing the program.
Best case scenario: the President should have known about Fast and Furious. And then, when he found out, done something about it. The best Obama and Holder can do on this score is to claim that they stopped the program when they heard about it (although Holder lied to Congress about when that moment arrived and can’t recall when the White House got a clue). Besides, Bush did it. Well, not exactly the same thing, but . . . pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
[Remember: not one Obama administration official has been fired for their participation in Operation Fast and Furious. Or Operation Castaway (gun store guns from Palm Beach to Honduras). Or “grenadewalker” (releasing an IED maker back into the wild). Etc.]
And then there’s all the misegos after Terry was killed. We know for a fact that the Department of Justice lied to Congress when Representative Issa and Senator Grassley began their investigations into Fast and Furious’s gunwalking—and let that “no way nuh-uh never happened” assertion remain in play for ten months, until their coverup became unsustainable.
Just like Watergate, the coverup rather than the crime may be the President’s undoing. Later this week, the United States Congress will hold Eric Holder in Contempt for his refusal to hand over documents relating to Fast and Furious. The President’s attempt to shelter these documents under Executive Privilege clearly indicates a White House connection to Fast and Furious—and Mr. Obama’s desperate need to hide the truth from the American public.
No surprise there. But this will not stand. As Richard Nixon learned, even the President of the United States is not above the law. An epic struggle has begun, one that started in a remote Arizona desert when a Mexican rip crew responded to beanbag rounds fired by CPB Agents. Using ATF-enabled firearms, the Mexicans killed a young Marine defending our borders. Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.” Agent Brian Terry was one of those patriots. While I wish Mr. Obama a long healthy life, let’s see what happens to the tyrant.