Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is Fast and Furious Watergate with Guns?

There are some amazing similarities between Watergate, the scandal that brought down a president, and Fast and Furious the absurd policy operation by the Obama Justice Department.

Oddly, Fast and Furious, until the assertion of Executive Privilege, had received scant media attention. It should have it represents a major breach in public policy.   As I have traveled and worked in Mexico many Mexicans are furious about the program and its effects of escalating the drug related killings there.

Here is the story.   The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division, either with explicit attention from the Attorney General or without it, released several thousand captured firearms to Mexican drug cartels.  The theory (if one can actually claim there was much careful thought about this bozo idea) was that the ATF would then be able to track firearms movements among criminals.    The guns were transferred and ultimately have resulted in a lot of killings in Mexico and the death of at least one US border official.

In both cases the Attorney General tried to maneuver out of the problem only to become mired more deeply.  In both cases the AG seems to have been involved up to his hips at least.   In both cases there was a denial of direct responsibility.   I suspect both cases were begun by insiders, you know the kind, who walk around with tons of manila folders filled with stuff and have little or no sense of how things actually work in the real world.

One major difference is that in Watergate no one was killed and in Fast and Furious, at least one American was.   Under any reasonable standard that should merit an intense review of what led up to the problems.   It is hard to believe that the AG was not directly involved in approving this operation.  It is less clear whether the President knew about this effort.

During his last stint in DC Holder was involved in some very questionable pardons at the end of the Clinton administration.   Holder also has a long tradition of hostility to handguns.  He was an Amicus filer in the attempt to uphold the DC ban on handguns.

One other consideration.   Watergate disgraced a lot of people.  It was an abuse of power.  Fast and Furious evidences a disgraceful lack of judgment.

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