By now, you've likely heard that a report released by the Justice Department's inspector general says federal agents and prosecutors in Phoenix are the primary culprits of the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking debacle. The report resulted in the immediate resignations of two Justice Department employees specifically criticized Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the criminal division, and former acting ATF Director Ken Melson. It found no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew of Fast and Furious until after the scandal made headlines.
That much is clear, but many unanswered questions linger. And in some regards, the mainstream media isn't asking the right ones.
For instance, the headline of a story by CNN reads, "What was 'Fast and Furious,' and what went wrong?" The problem with such a question is its implication that anything went right. Here's what went wrong: Someone dreamed up a plan to knowingly allow Mexican cartels to buy guns from U.S. dealers, and someone else approved it. While the plan allegedly had a noble goal--to find the kingpins of Mexican crime, much of which spills over onto U.S. soil--any rational person should've known it would result in much collateral damage. With the Justice Department's blessing, the ATF allowed guns to reach the hands of some very bad men. And guess what: The bad men shot people. People including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, other Americans and who knows how many Mexicans.
This plan was doomed for disaster from the start. Can you imagine any scenario--even one in which the ATF actually learned the identities of Mexican crime bosses--where nobody was shot with the walked guns?
The Justice Department's report slams this "disregard" for public safety, which is why we shouldn't ask where Fast and Furious went wrong, but who planned it, who approved it and who knew about it. These individuals endangered U.S. law enforcement, and by further arming Mexican cartels, they weakened the security of border states. Should we be satisfied that just two employees out of the entire Justice Department have resigned? And are you content with the report's conclusion that Attorney General Holder had no knowledge of Fast and Furious until after the death of agent Terry?
House Oversight Chairman " target="_blank">Darrell Issa (R-CA) maintains that Holder knew all about Fast and Furious.
"Just because you aren't convicted doesn't mean you're vindicated," he said in a Fox News interview.
Despite the report's findings, suspicions persist over Holder's actions during the last six months. The House held him in contempt for allegedly withholding documents related to the case. President Obama invoked Executive Privilege during the investigation, leading to accusations that he was protecting Holder. And Holder works with many of the men criticized in the Justice Department's report, including former acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. According to The Washington Post, Breuer has been "admonished" by Holder, but faces no further discipline. Grindler likewise faces no discipline, and now serves as Holder's chief of staff.
What do you think? Did Attorney General Eric Holder have knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious from the very beginning? Head over to Sportsmen Vote and make your voice heard.