Over this past weekend, two new news stories on Fast and Furious have surfaced that are worth mentioning (then again, most, if not all, stories on Fast and Furious are worth covering).
First of all, it’s been reported that Darrell Issa is going to sue Eric Holder for civil contempt in the federal circuit court for the District of Columbia, according to Rollcall. However, the Daily Caller gives a fuller explanation, including the following:
Holder’s Department of Justice directed Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to not enforce the criminal contempt resolution after the House of Representatives approved it….
Because of the fear Machen wouldn’t be able to separate politics from the law, a bipartisan group in the House also approved a civil contempt resolution against Holder. That resolution allowed for Issa’s team to hire attorneys, and provided for resources to sue the administration over the release of documents Congress has not yet seen.
It should come as little surprise, of course, that Eric Holder would order a U.S. Attorney to not enforce a criminal contempt resolution against himself, so we can only hope that the D.C. Circuit will order the release of those documents Obama has protected under executive privilege.
The second story comes to us from a new book that will be released on August 14th (tomorrow).
In Martin A. Lee’s new book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana — Medical, Recreational, and Scientific, he notes that Eric Holder has gone on a “reefer madness” like campaign to distract from the fallout of the Fast and Furious scandal. The Daily Caller has posted some excerpts from the book. The essential gist is that the “shiny object” Holder was trying to direct our attention to in this case was California’s medical marijuana dispensers. From the book (and courtesy of the DC):
“On October 7, the same day Holder wrote a detailed letter to Rep. Issa, defending his handling of the Fast and Furious affair, four federal prosecutors in California held a hastily organized press conference in which they threw down the gauntlet and announced the start of a far-ranging crackdown that would nearly decimate the Golden State’s medical marijuana industry.”
“Within ten months, close to half of California’s 1400 dispensaries would shut down as the DEA waged an all-out vendetta against what Proposition 215 had unloosed,” Lee continued.
Then, Lee notes:
“Team Obama’s decision to crack down on the medical marijuana industry wasn’t motivated by public health concerns,” Lee writes, answering his own question. “The Justice Department green-lit a scorched earth campaign against medicinal cannabis in order to placate law enforcement and control the damage from the Fast and Furious scandal by deflecting attention to other matters.”
We can agree or disagree whether marijuana (medicinal or otherwise) should be legal or not, but the fact of the matter is that Eric Holder was trying to distract our attention from a failed government gunrunning operation–one that has led to the deaths of 300 Mexican citizens and two Border Patrol agents. It’s not just that, though, over 1000 of the guns from this failed operation are still unaccounted for, and they all might never be found.
If we backtrack a little in the DC’s article, though, there’s one other thing about Martin A. Lee’s book that needs to be commented on. Per the article, Lee says:
“The fact that Fast and Furious had its roots in a similar Bush-era ATF operation mattered little to GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the grandstanding chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who went so far as to accuse the Obama administration of purposely allowing the guns to escape as part of a liberal plot to impose new gun control laws,” Lee writes. “Issa was not credible; nor was Holder.”
He gets this wrong. The operations that the Bush administration did were done in concert with the Mexican government. There are other differences, too, and this article from The Blaze does a great job of breaking down the five biggest ones (including the one I’ve already mentioned). Perhaps Mr. Lee should have done his research a little better.