Short version of Fast & Furious, for those who came in late: the federal government decided to try to fight the spread of illegal weapons sales among Mexican narco-terrorist gangs by… encouraging and facilitating the sale of illegal weapons to Mexican narco-terrorist gangs. No, it did not end well: the guns that were illegally resold often got lost track of, right up to the point where they appeared on Mexican murder scenes (at least one of which was a US Border Patrol agent’s). This scandal has been building for several months, and is now at the point where people are seriously starting to wonder if they’re going to be going to jail for their actions – and how they’re going to avoid that.
In other words, there’s a serious scandal going on. One that promises to be messy.
Anyway, this report from the LA Times gives some more – both new, and interesting – details about the operation. To summarize:
- Acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (BAFTE) Deputy Director William Hoover* is claiming that he called a meeting (which included members of the Justice Department) in which he demanded an early end to the program.
- This alleged demand was allegedly marginalized by the Justice Department’s (in the form of the US Attorney General’s office) need for indictments. Any indictments.
- No indictments were brought down for almost a year. In the intervening time, Fast & Furious guns appeared in murder scenes involving both Mexicans and Americans.
- Numerous BATFE officials insist that the Justice Department was responsible for delays, despite numerous requests for movement on either ending the program, or bringing in indictments.
- The eventual indictments took place in January 2011. It is not explained why Hoover, or anyone else at BATFE/DoJ, did not blow the whistle on this beforehand.
…OK, that’s me being disingenuous. A lot of these people didn’t blow the whistle because the Obama administration hates whistle-blowers, and January 2011 also – coincidentally, no doubt – was when the Republicans took back control of the House, thus offering people some sort of protection against reprisal. Thus the various mechanisms and policies grouped together as being ‘oversight’ began: so, what’s the next step?
Why, it’s seeing who in the Justice Department doesn’t want to go to jail, of course. That’s always a fun thing to find out – at least, it’s fun if you’re not the one for whom the question has a personal resonance.
PS: My usual reminder: these things take time to develop. The ‘good’ scandals usually do.
*Heritage points out that Hoover is effectively in the Justice Department himself, of course.