That is precisely what has happened. So far eleven crimes in the U.S. have been linked to Fast and Furious, including the killings of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata. At least two guns found at the crime scene of Terry's death were traced to guns supplied by the U.S. government through the Fast and Furious program, and another gun was traced to the program in Zapata's murder. In 2010, another 40 illegal firearms from the program were found in El Paso, TX. Meanwhile, Mexico's Attorney General said at least 200 Mexican citizens have been killed by guns obtained through Operation Fast and Furious.
A report released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s office shows ATF agents working in Mexico were left in the dark about the details of Operation Fast and Furious. The report also shows that in late 2009, ATF officials began to see increasing amounts of guns traced to the Phoenix ATF Field Division office showing up at violent crime scenes.
When these issues came to light, some then tried to blame the crimes and killings of the U.S. agents on loose gun laws in America and used the incident to try to justify the need to repeal the Second Amendment. It is outrageous that our own government under President Obama supplied the guns that were used in crimes against U.S. citizens and the incident is now being used to try to take away the right of all citizens to bear arms.
Issa launched an investigation into the matter, particularly to determine what - and when - President Obama's administration knew about all of this. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in 2011 that he had nothing to do with the program and only "just recently learned of it two weeks prior" to testifying in 2011.
President Obama said he only heard of the Fast and Furious program on a television news program after the U.S. agents' deaths. He first spoke about the topic during an interview with Univision in March 2011 (yet Holder said he didn't "know" about the program until May 2011). Either there is very poor communication between the president and attorney general about major operations, or both are lying.
Since then Holder has been accused of lying under oath about when he knew of Operation Fast and Furious, and has been subpoenaed for documents that allegedly shine more light on the issue -- but he refuses to supply those documents. He now faces contempt charges.
Holder contacted Obama sometime yesterday asking him to invoke executive privilege to delay the turning over of these documents ahead of a scheduled committee vote to begin contempt of Congress proceedings against the attorney general. In his letter to the president, Holder said release of the documents would have "significant, damaging consequences." President Obama quickly granted Holder's request.
Obama's move sparks serious questions about just what he knew and when he knew about Operation Fast and Furious himself.
"How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?" asked Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. "How can he invoke executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen? Something very big must be being hidden to go to this extreme. The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances. The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it's never repeated again."
Speaker John Boehner said, "The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?"
After rendering President Obama's invocation of executive privilege not applicable to this case at this time, the House Oversight Committee went ahead today and voted 23-17 to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. The charge will now move to the full House next week.
Yet the other question still remains: What does President Obama think he stands to gain by his actions? What in these documents is so bad that he would do something this politically damaging?
Most likely, he is merely stonewalling until after the election, thinking that, since he has never been held accountable for anything before, he can drag this out as long as possible. He will no doubt paint this issue as nothing more than a Republican witch hunt to derail him in an election year. Remember, the buck doesn't stop with President Obama - it stops with everyone but him. But don't Americans have the right to know before the election what our president and attorney general are hiding in those documents?
Meanwhile, the media, who love to excoriate President Richard Nixon for invoking executive privilege during Watergate, are treating Obama with kid gloves - in fact, they're barely covering this at all. But nobody died in Watergate. People died because of Obama's Fast and Furious operation, which has been furiously covered up ever since. Can you imagine the media coverage if this were a Republican president involved in such a mess?
The other question is, what will it take for people to open their eyes to see how bad this president is for America? Not only do we face the largest tax increase in American history come January 1, 2013, huge cuts in spending on our country's defense in very dangerous times, violation of fundamental freedoms, a diminished respect on the world stage, and rule by decree from a president who bypasses Congress any chance he gets, we now have indications our own president is involved in a cover-up of a government program that resulted in innocent American citizens being murdered with guns supplied by this administration.
Despite this, Obama shows more interest in campaigning so we can have four more years of his destruction of America and our Constitution. What more has to happen for every American to see what is unfolding right before our eyes?
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