Fast and Furious Report Destroys Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories

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For more than a year and a half, everyone from House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa to right-wing provocateurs on Fox News have been lobbing fiery accusations about Operation Fast and Furious, including that it was a plot conceived by the White House for a variety of nefarious purposes.

Fast and Furious, you will remember, was the name of an investigation run by ATF agents and federal prosecutors in Arizona that allowed thousands of guns to be sold to operatives of Mexican drug gangs who then smuggled them across the border for use in the drug war. The operation was exposed after a U.S. border agent, Brian Terry, was killed and two guns that ATF and prosecutors had allowed to “walk” as part of Fast and Furious turned up at the scene of the crime.

You will also remember that Republicans worked themselves into a rabid fever on the subject. One expects a certain amount of irresponsible and baseless accusation from far right commentators, but it’s worth remarking on just how outlandish the accusations were. Ann Coulter declared that the operation was run by Holder for the White House with the intention of killing American law enforcement officials for the purpose of advancing gun control:

Until someone can tell us otherwise, there is only one explanation for why President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug dealers: It put guns in their hands to strengthen liberals’ argument for gun control… Innocent people dying was the objective of Fast and Furious, not collateral damage.

And after the Obama administration cited executive privilege and refused to provide documents to Congress (documents later made available to Horowitz for his investigation), Michelle Malkin said Obama himself was involved:

The maneuver that they undertook yesterday just underscores something that some of us have been emphasizing since day one of this scandal over the last year and a half – and that is that Obama is at the center of it.

That kind of talk may be standard operating procedure for those people who make a living exploiting the basest fears of people on either end of the political spectrum. But House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., himself got in on the action last summer, alleging that Obama or his senior advisers “were involved in managing Fast and Furious and the fallout from it.”

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Sept. 7-14)

Yesterday, the Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, released his long awaited report on the scandal, meticulously detailing responsibility for the operation and the cause of false statements made to Congressional investigators by members of the administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder.

Horowitz managed to impress the House GOP in briefings over the past week, and the report itself was met with support from all quarters. GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah complimented Horowitz at a House Oversight hearing Thursday for his “tenacity” and his “wonderful report.” Issa himself called Horowitz and his report “courageous.”

What none on the right are admitting is that Horowitz’s report systematically reveals how irresponsible and speculative the accusations from their side have been. The report criticizes Holder’s Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer for failing to inform Holder or his deputy that “gun walking” had taken place in the Bush administration in another case in Arizona called “Wide Receiver”. But the report shows that Breuer knew nothing about gun walking in Fast and Furious, and that therefore the scandal existed three levels below Holder (let alone the White House). Says the report:

[Breuer] did not learn about Operation Fast and Furious and the allegations about the use of improper investigative tactics in that investigation until after Sen. Grassley’s January 27 letter.

And:

Breuer did not supervise Operation Fast and Furious and did not authorize any activities in the investigation… Breuer had no role in authorizing [F&F] wiretap applications…

As for the source of the false statements to Congress, Horowitz finds they were the result of inaccurate reassurances given to Breuer’s deputy Jason Weinstein, by the U.S. attorney in Arizona, Dennis Burke. As Congressional inquiry began into the matter in January 2011, the lead prosecutor on Fast and Furious, Emory Hurley, informed Burke that guns found at the Terry murder site had been part of Fast and Furious. Burke, however, told Weinstein that they were not. Weinstein, and the rest of the Justice department, ran with that assurance in response to Congressional questions. Only later did the Justice Department’s central office discover they were wrong.

Horowitz does dispense with one unsubstantiated claim from the left side of the aisle. Some Democrats have said Fast and Furious shows lax gun laws are to blame for the weapons trafficking that contributed to agent Terry’s death. Horowitz finds that prosecutor Hurley and ATF agents in the case did believe they didn’t have sufficient probable cause to seize weapons during Fast and Furious, and Horowitz rejects their “narrow view” of “the quality and quantity of evidence that was necessary to take enforcement action.”

But ultimately Horowitz says it was not the legal view that prevented ATF or U.S. prosecutors from interdicting the guns in Fast and Furious, but a tactical and strategic decision to let the guns walk in order to pursue higher-ups in the gun-running, drug-smuggling and money laundering operation they were investigating.

Horowitz destroys the conspiracy theories on both sides of the aisle over 471-pages, but it’s the right wing screamers who come out looking worst. Horowitz shows definitively that the Arizona ATF agents and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s office there were responsible for the operation, not the White House or the Justice Department in Washington and that the primary source of the inaccurate testimony given to Congress was the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke.

110 comments
Ike Konoclast
Ike Konoclast

"Report Destroys Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories"?   A report by the very agency that created the problem?  A report based on "interviews" not under oath?  A report by an IG with no authority outside his own agency?  A report denied cooperation with the White House?  And denied cooperation with any other agency?   Oh, yeah....  Accurate report?  The only people vindicated are Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley. 

Jill Louis
Jill Louis

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Jill Louis

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Kate Umphrey
Kate Umphrey

Why the executive order?  Why the Black out of page after page of only 2 or 3 readable lines on the few documents they did release.  They kept thousands of docs.  Their answers were vague.  They changed their story 3 times.  They even came up with a new cliche for lying.  Called it evolving? They didn't lie.  They evolved!  People on the left still believe O J is innocent too.  They are all star struck and looking for the next party. The media is in their pocket and Their fact and data all all altered. They don't give a damn about what is right.

rshawk
rshawk

Much of the reporting on Famp;F was the work of Sharyl Attkisson of CBS.  She provided a copy of the Chait memo asking for anecdotal cases to support demand letter 3.  

John D
John D

Good article. But Republicans will cling to their conspiracy theories no matter what. 

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom

News flash, Eric Holder clears himself in Fast and Furious case and Time accepts it like the good little lapdogs they are.

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom

Why don't you tell these ignorant liberals that Wide Receiver was stopped in 2007 by the Bush administration long before Obama was elected,  let alone in office.  You can't say it was started under Bush with any credibility. 

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom

Any comment on Horowitz saying he was prevented from following certain leads?

rshawk
rshawk

I believe Mr. Horowitz was prevented from talking to Kevin O'Rielly who was sent to Iraq last year by the WH.  

John Ramirez
John Ramirez

If he actually was not involved, then he is too incompetent to hold this position. If he knew about it then he was involved, so either way he should be removed from office.

peter_principle
peter_principle

Obama does have to take the wrap for appointing Burke -- a Napolitano crony.

But of course, if appointing incompetent cronies is a crime, then Shrub should have been impeached for the fiasco in Iraq.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

It is a very simple proposition (sort of)... If the majority decide they want to raise the taxes on the super wealthy, they will do so.

If you believe in democracy, and have any respect for it, you ought to know that it is, as imperfect as it may be, the best form of government available...

and as such should accept the people's will...  If however you are a

wanna be oligarch like Romney, you see a different picture.

Here is a graphic, clearly illustrating the dynamic between the rulers and the ruled.

http://immizen.com/wp-content/...

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

It is a very simple proposition (sort of)... If the majority decide they

want to raise the taxes on the super wealthy, they will do so.

If you believe in democracy, and have any respect for it, you ought to

know that it is, as imperfect as it may be, the best form of government

available... and as such should accept the people's will... If however you are a wanna be oligarch like Romney, you see a different picture.

Here is a graphic, clearly illustrating the dynamic between the rulers and the ruled.

http://immizen.com/wp-content/...

ahandout
ahandout

I know, it was all due to a youtube video; yeah that's it. 

The White House just spent the last two weeks lying and changing the subject.  The liberal media are the pets of Barry Obama.  They jump at the chance to please their icon. 

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Shorter handjob:

"WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!     MOMMMIEEEEE!!!!!!!   HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!   WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

paulejb
paulejb

Mr Calabresi seems to have missed this little item.

"IG: White House ‘Made it Impossible’ to Pursue Lead in Fast and Furious Probe"

"CNSNews.com) – The White House’s refusal to release communications related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking program and the refusal of a White House official to be interviewed about the matter “made it impossible” for the inspector general (IG) of the Justice Department to “pursue that aspect of the case,” the IG, Michael Horowitz, testified." 

http://cnsnews.com/news/articl... 

You might have wanted to read the IG report a little closer before spouting off this nonsense, Mr Calabresi.

peter_principle
peter_principle

Oh yeah, Pat Robertson's news network. Now THERE'S a credible source.

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom

It's on the record.  I feel the same way about this garbage organization as you do about CNS.

peter_principle
peter_principle

So that's why you read it and post here?

Are you TRYING to make Jesus weep?

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

  Shorter Paulejb :

"WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!     MOMMMIEEEEE!!!!!!!   HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!   WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

ahandout
ahandout

 It's stick you nose up the White House's behind week here at Time.  There can be no other explanation for the crap that has been written. 

Holder is in contempt of Congress.  Obama lies to the American people, and Time kisses @ss.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Shorter handjob:

"WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!     MOMMMIEEEEE!!!!!!!   HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!   WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

ahandout
ahandout

 Glen you should write speeches for Sandra Fluke.

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

Granted, the Fast and Furious operation was so wrongheaded, incompetent and evil that no further conspiracy theories are necessary. However, if the people at the top were this incredibly clueless, the blame still falls on them. It is called accountability.

Stanley Plopper
Stanley Plopper

So Obama is accountable for the actions of every one of the 2,000,000 federal employees? I think Glen Fiddich nailed it when he said WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! MOMMMMIIEEEE!!!! WAHHHHHHHH!!

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

Dear Stanley, we are not talking about a postal clerk in Kalamazoo that pocketed a 1-cent Tiffany Lamp stamp. However do like that hat. 

Jason Miller
Jason Miller

Would you elect someone who:A) Will not fully disclose a minimal amount of tax returns? B) Stashes millions in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes? C) Says on tape he hates disadvantaged Americans? D) Writes off diplomacy in the Middle East? E) Has a wife that calls the common man "You People" as she protects her husband's suspicious tax returns? F) Has flipped on every issue imaginable to appease his constituency? Really. Would you, in good conscience. Vote for this Used-Car Salesman? 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Jeff Bloom
Jeff Bloom

Everything you said is demonstrably overstated or a distortion.  Typical liberal.

J
J

Oh you mean the new right wing Whitewater turned out to be a nothingburger with cheese on it? I'm just shocked!!!!

VidereLicet
VidereLicet

This article essentially states that:

1. The Attorney General of the United States had no clue that a rogue, out-of-control, across-the-border  major arms-trafficking operation was run by both ATF agents AND federal prosecutors because nobody bothered reporting to him.

2. His Criminal Division chief didn't know anything about it because nobody notified him either.

3. The Criminal Division chief's deputy simply took "inaccurate assurances" by U.S. Attorney in Arizona on their face value and didn't bother reporting it up the chain.

So, if all of this is correct, and there was no conspiracy, then the only logical conclusion is that the Attorney General was stunningly and unbelievably clueless and incompetent. As in criminally incompetent and then some.

And THAT, to me would be even more of a cause for "working ourselves into a rabid fever" you mention in the article. All of us, left- and right-wing alike, because of all the obvious repercussions.

And Nixon didn't know anything about the tapes either...

Stanley Plopper
Stanley Plopper

the logical conclusion is that .... you're trying to make something out of nothing.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 http://www.washingtontimes.com...

Look at the date of the article and work your way forward..The birth of "Fast and Furious."

Yet no one in the Justice Department or Obama Administration knew about the operation..Right..Sigh..

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Shorter Terry  "Maweenie" Clifton:

"WWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!     MOMMMIEEEEE!!!!!!!   HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!   WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

Bill Pearlman
Bill Pearlman

You think an internal whitewash changes things.