So. Somebody in the Obama administration is telling lies to the House Oversight/Government Reform Committee. That's not smart. When people tell lies to House committees, people go to jail.
Background on this: this is all about the BATF/Justice Department Operations Gunrunner and Fast & Furious, which were originally purported to be methods by which [illegal purchases of] guns could be detected and arrested*. However, they instead turned into methods by which Mexican drug cartels were able to get their hands on [illegally-purchased semi-automatic] weapons. You see, the problem was that while selling the guns to middlemen ('straw purchasers') [who intend to sell the guns illegally] is in itself a standard 'sting' operation, somehow the guns continued on down the supply chain until they resurfaced in Mexico. The end result was inevitable: somebody used a BATF-supplied gun to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
As you can imagine, nobody in the BATF or DoJ wishes to be officially responsible for selling criminals the guns that said criminals used to kill federal agents, so there has been a remarkably comprehensive drive to stonewall the investigation; alas for the administration, the House of Representatives flipped last November. And new Chairman Darrell Issa is very keen to get to the bottom of this.
Hence, the lying. But who is lying?
- Are they the ATF agents who testified today that they were under orders to let guns illegally sold to middlemen go on to resurface in Mexico, despite their strenuous objections?
- Is it Deputy Attorney General Ronald Welch, who originally claimed to Senator Grassley of Judiciary that the ATF did not sanction letting guns go onto Mexico? - and who will be discussing that letter today in the House?
- Or is it Attorney General Eric Holder, who similarly denied responsibility to Issa last month?
It's an interesting question, but let me summarize these emails released by Issa's office: the Acting Director and Deputy Director for the ATF were getting weekly briefings; ATF's Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations got at least one special briefing; and the Acting Director was at one point watching the live feed of guns being sold to the middlemen. So I think that we can safely assume that the standard 'overzealous underlings' defense is not likely to fly...
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: You can read Issa's/Grassley's report here. 'Scathing' doesn't begin to cover it.
*It is also widely believed to be a government operation by which gun sellers could be surreptitiously and deniably harassed by the gun-grabber faction in the Obama administration, but never mind that right now.
[UPDATE: Corrections made after publishing. - ML]