The Fast and Furious Investigation: Quick or Dead?


On June 28 the US House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents subpoenaed by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Although the vote was largely along party lines, it still represented the first time in American history that a cabinet member has been found in contempt of Congress.

Partisan or not, the contempt vote was more than justified by the facts. The attorney general has stonewalled Congress’ investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, a crazy policy which amounted, in substance, to running guns into Mexico with the expectation that this would lead to prosecutions and the interdiction of weapons trafficked to Mexican drug cartels. One US border patrol agent has already died as a result of Fast and Furious, as have an untold number of Mexicans. Hundreds of the guns remain in the hands of criminals who will not hesitate to use them to kill people. While it should be noted that tactics resembling Fast and Furious were first employed by the Bush Justice Department, the stupidity was ratcheted up in a big way under Holder. In any case, the attorney general has provided Congress with about one tenth of the documents under subpoena, and contradictions have cropped up in his congressional testimony. The whole business stinks, and yet the scandal remains (except on the Fox News channel) for the most part under the radar screen.

On the day of the contempt vote I heard some talking head on a cable news program declare that the timing of the vote showed that the Republicans were not veryserious about pursuing their investigation. On the contrary, the vote was scheduled to coincide with what the Republicans thought would be an overturn of Obamacare by the Supreme Court — the second blow of a double whammy that would jumpstart the Republican effort to take the White House. This plan backfired when Chief Justice John Roberts found a way to declare Obamacare constitutional. The unexpected reversal of fortune for Obamacare washed the contempt vote right out the public consciousness.

It is a fact that the New York Times and the Washington Post have done little to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious. Nothing illustrates the mainstream media’s bias in favor of Obama more than its (non)response to this scandal. Even less surprising is the absence of a Democrat version of Howard Baker asking publicly “What did the attorney general (and possibly the president) know, and when did he know it?” Obama is no Nixon, but Holder might be another John Mitchell. We’ll never know for sure, because Holder, unlike Mitchell, will never wind up in the dock (the Justice Deptartment is not about to file criminal contempt charges against its own AG). So much in life depends on who you are, and even more on who your friends are.

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This will probably be the extent of the contempt citation. The weak-kneed Republicans don't exactly have a great track record on holding Democrats accountable for anything. If anyone is looking for the investigation to go any farther than this I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for you to look at, for sale cheap.

Fred Mora

I completely share your opinion about the efforts of the MSM to cover up any scandal that could hamper Obama's campaign. See my own article in Liberty.

I'm intrigued by your statement that Obama is "no Nixon". How do you mean that?

Jon Harrison

I did read your article, Fred.

"Obama is no Nixon" -- Nixon was paranoid and had an inferiority complex. He committed impeachable offenses (I say this even though I believe he was set up at the beginning of Watergate). Obama is no Eagle Scout -- no politician is -- but I won't join the chorus of conservatives and libertarians who demonize him. He has a different philosophy of government than I do, but that doesn't make him a monster. And although I believe the US needs foreign and defense policies that are much more modest than Obama's, his handling of foreign policy overall has been far superior to the neocon nonsense that preceded him.

Nixon was a bad guy. Obama, whatever you think of his policies, isn't.


If this scandal is shown to have gone all the way to the top, the possibility of which you accept, then we may have to say that Obama is a very bad person. What motive(s) possessed those responsible for the implementation of Fast and Furious?

Jon Harrison

I think we have to accept the possibility, because we simply don't have the evidence that could tell us one way or another. Personally, I doubt a president would be involved at this level of operations, but who knows? My inclination is to dismiss any presidential involvement in Fast and Furious, but then who thought the Gipper would get involved in trading arms for hostages? Even the idea of Nixon being heavily involved in a coverup seemed unlikely until McCord's letter to Judge Sirica in March 1973. I doubt Obama is involved; but we won't know for sure unless more information is released or ferreted out by Congress. Don't hold your breath on that.

I'm not sure what beyond stupidity got Fast and Furious or its predecessors (which were smaller in scale but equally stupid) off the ground. The government line, as I understand it, is that people in the ATF were responsible. It seems fishy to me, but we just haven't gotten the info from the Justice Dept. that would allow us to go beyond speculation. And unless I've missed something, the mainstream media seems to be buying the story that's been fed to them. Very different state of affairs from the attitude of the press in 1972-74.

Fred Mora

I guess it boils down to the definition of "bad guys".

The problem with Obama is not so much policies that you might disagree with. It's the fact that he knows he is screwing over people, and therefore covers up his intents by constantly lying. This is the hallmark of a conman and a wannabe dictator.

As an engineer, I put truthfulness rather high on my list of moral imperatives. Conversely, I find compulsive lying rather obscene.

Obama is a politician that lives by Alinsky's injunctions. He lies ordinarily, without qualms or second thoughts. He is manipulative and hypocritical. More importantly, he has always chosen to live in the company of people who demonstrably hate the USA and its constitution: his pastor Jeremiah Wright, his mentor and ghost writer Bill Ayers, and arguably his wife (who was ashamed of being American until 2008 by her own admission).

In my opinion, this constitutes a valid, time-honored category of "bad guys". Nixon looks somewhat pedestrian in comparison.


Fred, you're so correct. Obama's first impulse is to lie. He's a socialist and he knows that to say so will lose more votes than his reelection efforts can afford. This doesn't mean he's not a likable human being .... surely be more relaxed and fun to have a beer with than Nixon. He's a clever speaker and uses his speech to constantly mislead. Remember, "Any President standing for reelection would have to be crazy to be for higher gas prices"? Well, he and his Secretary of Energy have been for higher gas prices throughout their academic and political careers. Notice in the above statement he does not say that he's against higher gas prices.

Jon Harrison

I just don't agree with you, Fred. But thanks for reading and providing your thoughts.

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