Why so Secretive on Fast and Furious?

Posted on July 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

Ok, so the House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding information regarding the flawed Southwest gun operation known as Fast and Furious.

And, the Justice Department responded by saying it will not prosecute, relying on a 1984 opinion by Reagan administration assistant attorney general Theodore Olson that says it doesn’t have to.

Holder, who last week became the first attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress, could still face civil litigation if the GOP-led House has the time and the stomach to pursue the issue in court.

But regardless of the outcome of the contempt vote, the question that’s on our mind is why has the Justice Department been so secretive about an affair they claim to have had no knowledge of?

Here’s what we know. Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives based in Phoenix devised the Fast and Furious plan in 2009 as means of investigating a gun-smuggling network linked to a Mexican drug cartel. The plan was to try and track straw purchases of guns in the hopes they would lead to higher-ups in the operation. It didn’t work and the straw purchasers got away with about 2,000 guns, two of which were found at the site of the shooting of Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.

Some Republicans believe the idea to let the guns walk was orchestrated in Washington by senior Obama administration officials. They must have authorized it, or at least known about it, these critics say.

As evidence, Republican investigators point to an application for a wiretap in the case to show that the gun walking operation proceeded with the Obama administration’s imprimatur.

Administration officials have denied this, insisting instead that while the operation may not have had its intended result, it was carried out locally without the sanction of the Justice Department leadership.

The documents that are being sought are from 2011, after Fast and Furious was concluded, which would suggest House investigators are checking to see if there was some kind of cover-up. That is certainly possible.

Holder continues to insist the department has nothing to hide: “There is nothing in those affidavits as I’ve reviewed them that indicates that gunwalking was allowed,” he said most recently.

So if there’s nothing there, if the administration has nothing to hide, why not just release the documents and get this thing over with? Just asking.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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2 Responses to “Why so Secretive on Fast and Furious?”

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You don’t cover up something if there is nothing to cover up. I’ve heard speculation that the administration was looking for a way to make a case for gun control. When you think about that prospect, if true, it would be truly amazing, as the way to increase gun control is to have some sort of massacre or other mass criminal behavior. If that is what Obama is covering up, the consequences are serious.

There is a difference between covering up something and failing to give the answer someone wants to hear. This Republican political effort seeks something to damage the President politically and insists anything else- including perhaps the factual truth- is non cooperation. As I understand it, the AG has made scores of appearances the DOJ has turned over volumes of documents. This operation began before the Obama Presidency and the link of the guns and a killing is simply irresistible to Mr. Issa. Guns from the US causing deaths in Mexico is the problem true, guns enable deadly violence and should be severely controlled.

Pres. Obama has demonstrated some remarkable skill and results in managing covert operations– the bin Laden case is one in point- as I recall Bush failed to deliver his vow to get bin Laden, featured him in re-election ads, and it appeared we following his policies paid Pakistan in so many ways and in the end they may have been shielding him. Pres Obama’s leadership was more effective. So the party that failed in the most important covert operation of our age, now seeks to find a covert operations failure–we have already seen one, and maybe another before 9/11 by the GOP. On that record, they should hardly be regarded, or even taken seriously on the subject by the public.

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