Obama's Baghdad Bob media maybe be whistling past the graveyard, but fast and furious is not going away.
Michael Walsh in the NY Post:
Today’s Capitol Hill hearing on the “Fast and Furious” mess promises drama that may well rival the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings or gangland chieftain Frank Costello’s memorable 1951 testimony in front of Sen. Estes Kefauver’s hearings on organized crime.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee insist there’s nothing left to learn about the murderous federal “gunwalking” operation: We already know who’s to blame, they report: low-level agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix, and staffers at the US Attorney’s Office there, headed by Dennis Burke, who has since resigned.
Oh, yes, and George W. Bush.
That’s the pre-emptive whitewash released Tuesday by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and his partisan cronies in advance of the confrontation between the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Attorney General Eric Holder — the man for whom the buck never stops as long as he can plausibly blame someone else.
“Operation Fast and Furious was the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the US Attorney’s Office,” say committee Democrats. “Far from a strategy that was directed and planned by ‘the highest levels’ of the Department of Justice... the committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was conceived or directed by high-level political appointees at Department of Justice headquarters.”
The operative words here are no evidence. That’s because Justice stubbornly refuses to provide any. Holder and his flunkies have spent more than a year evading, prevaricating, changing stories and outright stonewalling.
Citing that history, Issa wrote to the AG on Tuesday, “Your actions lead us to conclude that the department is actively engaged in a cover-up . . . If the department continues to obstruct the congressional inquiry . . . this committee will have no alternative but to move forward with [contempt proceedings].”
At issue is Holder’s outright refusal to turn over thousands of pages of internal documents on F&F. The AG has given some 80,000 pages of documents to Justice’s inspector general, which is conducting its own probe, but has only managed to send some 6,000 pages to Congress.
More, Holder told the House Judiciary Committee in testimony last December that his department will simply refuse to turn over any documents created after Feb. 4, 2011 — the date that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich categorically denied in a letter to Congress that ATF had ever allowed weapons to “walk” into Mexico. That letter was officially “withdrawn” in December — talk about evasion.
Among the documents that Justice refuses to share with the committee is an in-house “analytical review” by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, which included an interview with Patrick Cunningham — the Burke deputy who last month pleaded the Fifth rather than give a deposition to Issa’s investigators, and last week abruptly resigned.
No wonder Issa’s patience has just about run out.
By turns whiny, petulant and deceitful, Holder would rather accuse his critics of racism than substantively address the scandal. But with each “withdrawn” letter, Friday-night document dump and sudden resignation, it becomes ever more clear that the man who facilitated the outrageous Marc Rich pardon for President Bill Clinton is incapable of shame.
So the ludicrous Democratic report, “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona” needs to be seen for what it is: a last-ditch attempt to cast blame on already fired subordinates and past administrations.
It won’t work. By trying to conflate Fast and Furious — where some 2,000 weapons were allowed to skate unsupervised across the Mexican border without notifying Mexican authorities — with Bush-era programs such as Operation Wide Receiver (which cooperated with the Mexicans and at least tried to trace the gun-running networks), the Democrats are simply blowing smoke.
The Democrats’ strategy is now clear: Keep fouling off pitches through Election Day. So tomorrow’s hearings won’t be the end of the matter; Issa needs to get more aggressive.
Earlier scandals like Watergate have laid out the prosecutorial template: Immunize the small fry and work your way up the chain of command until you find out where the buck stops. Now that Burke’s effectively been thrown under the bus, wouldn’t it be interesting to hear his side of the story — in public, and on live TV?More here.