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I’m still waiting to see if the “Fast and Furious” scandal, in which ATF agents reportedly allowed guns to be transported across the border into Mexico, is a real scandal or yet another fake right wing outrage, but I’m currently leaning toward the latter option.
And here’s one reason why. Last year, the main Republican pushing this story, Darrell Issa, was given a “highly specific” briefing on the program by ATF officials — yet he raised no objections.
A chief Republican critic of a controversial U.S. anti-gun-trafficking operation was briefed on ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program last year and did not express any opposition, sources familiar with the classified briefing said Tuesday.
Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), who has repeatedly called for top Justice Department officials to be held accountable for the now-defunct operation, was given highly specific information about it at an April 2010 briefing, the sources said. Members of his staff also attended the session, which Issa and two other Republican congressmen had requested.
Fast and Furious targeted Mexican gun traffickers but was linked to the killing of a U.S. law enforcement officer. Republicans in Congress have criticized the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over its handling of the operation, with Issa calling it “felony-stupid bad judgment” during a hearing last week in which he grilled a Justice Department official.
At the briefing last year, bureau officials laid out for Issa and other members of Congress from both parties details of several ATF investigations, including Fast and Furious, the sources said. For that program, the briefing covered how many guns had been bought by “straw purchasers,’’ the types of guns and how much money had been spent, said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the briefing was not public.
“All of the things [Issa] has been screaming about, he was briefed on,’’ said one source familiar with the session.
I think it’s clear that this program didn’t work out very well. But the outrage expressed by the right wing seems highly opportunistic.