Operation Fast and Furious: Hard to Untangle
Read the whole thing here. It’s not long, but I have cut out the meaty middle.
ARIZONA is a funny state. There the full force of the law is brought to bear on the waning problem of illegal immigration, while a relatively lax approach is taken to the very real problem of gun-running. Take a couple examples from a new piece in Fortune. In one, ATF agents found that a man who purchased 476 firearms for $300,000 over six months was on food stamps. This would seem to suggest that he was a straw-purchaser of firearms—someone used by criminals to buy their guns for them. In the other, an unemployed man paid more than $10,000 for a 50-caliber sniper rifle, in what again seemed like a straw-purchase. In both cases the assistant US attorney in Phoenix warned agents about taking action against the men.
Mr Issa, for his part, has actually tried to stop ATF agents from sharing their opinions on the relevant gun laws, which one agent called “toothless” in testimony before his committee. The Republican congressman seems more interested in promoting conspiracy theories about Democratic gun-control efforts than solving the overarching problem in Arizona. Meanwhile, the administration at first denied the allegation of gun-walking, then confessed and is now stonewalling. On Thursday the House voted to hold Eric Holder, the attorney-general, in contempt for not handing over documents related to the case. The more light shed on the government’s actions, the better, but the contempt citation has little practical impact. And somehow I don’t see all this partisan bickering leading to any more clarity on the issue.
I wouldn’t describe Holder or the administration as ‘stonewalling’. Holder offered to show Issa and his committee everything they wanted to see, but not to release it to the public because of ongoing prosecutions.
A point I haven’t seen discussed yet is just how impractical the whole idea was to follow guns across the border. I don’t think there’s anybody we can trust to work with over there.