FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Fast & Furious coverup in Arizona.
Congressional investigators tell CBS News there’s evidence the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona sought to cover up a link between their controversial gunwalking operation known as “Fast and Furious” and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Executive background summary, for those who don’t remember/aren’t following: Operation Fast & Furious was an incredibly ill-advised program where the federal government directed various law-enforcement agencies to permit guns to be illegally resold to Mexican narco-terrorist gangs. The above quote is referencing a situation where some of those guns were traced to the Terry murder scene: the email trail indicates that the ATF was aware of the link between the two cases from the start. This is important because the ATF later attempted to stonewall Congressional investigators out the link, in the person of US Attorney (District of Arizona) Dennis Burke.
And now you know why Dennis Burke resigned (and why ATF whistleblower Kenneth Melson was abruptly transferred a few days ago). And why House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member (for now) Chuck Grassley have promptly expanded their investigation to include the Arizona District’s US Attorney’s office. And why questions are being asked about why Burke refused a routine request to designate the family of slain Agent Terry as being crime victims. And why questions are being asked in general, in fact. Questions like “Who authorized this program?” “What was the true oversight chain?” “Who in the White House knew the most about this program?”
No, the answer to that last one is not “Nobody in the White House knew anything about this program.” It’s just come out that the level of communication about Fast & Furious that took place between former ATF Phoenix field office head William Newell and White House national security regional director Kevin O’Reilly was deeper than Newell originally reported. While not a true smoking gun, it does indicate that early assurances that the administration was not involved in this debacle are at best unsupported…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: My usual comment about this investigation, at this stage: these things take time to develop. We’re starting to exit the ‘ask questions’ part and starting to enter the ‘here, let me pull on these loose threads here’ stage; patience is a virtue generally, and doubly so when it comes to a (potential) scandal of this magnitude. The real fun starts when people increasingly under the magnifying glass start realizing that while, say, the Attorney General can count on having a signed pardon covering his departure, they cannot…