The fact that the sordid details about Operation Fast & Furious (short edition: the federal government allowed guns to be illegally resold to Mexican narco-terrorists, who then proceeded to murder people with them) are all breaking during the debt ceiling situation is either the absolute best or the absolute worst luck for the Obama administration. On the one hand, the administration is not getting hammered with new details and demands for information every day: on the other, eventually the debt ceiling situation will be over, and when all that happens, the details will have piled up most alarmingly.
Don't believe me? Let me just list the stuff that we've learned this week.:
- Let's start with this report from the House Oversight Committee, which helpfully informs us that BATFE officials active in Mexico were allegedly deliberately not told by their superiors - and the rest of the government - that there was a program in place to allow guns to be illegally resold to Mexican narco-terrorists and then lose trace of the guns. Once those officials found out about this on their own, they were allegedly told that the program had been completed several months before it actually was... only by which time both Mexican and American personnel were dead. To say that these officials are displeased that their own organization violated their training and made them unwitting dupes in an international incident is, to put it mildly, a vast understatement.
- Please also note this Heritage piece on the damage that this has done with our relationship with Mexico; the only problem with said piece is that the phrase 'ugly American' appears nowhere in it.
- Which is why we're having BATFE officials apologizing to Mexico right now. Naturally, they're not the officials that caused the problem.
- Oh, and in case you were wondering: House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R) has indicated that the government is attempting to intimidate whistleblowers out of providing full details on this debacle.
- BATFE, by the way, attempted to stonewall Issa by claiming that no F&F guns were used to actually kill Border Agent Brian Terry (F&F guns were found on the scene). Guess what? The FBI's own ballistic reports didn't rule out the possibility.
Oh, it only gets better from here, for a given value of 'better.' For example... who was involved in this disaster, anyway?
- Well, according to BATFE former Phoenix field office head William Newell, the program was shared out by BATFE, DEA, IRS, and ICE.
- And watch the video below, in which an exceptionally angry Pat Meehan (freshman Republican Congressman* and former US Attorney) rips Newell for trying to claim that they had no intention of letting the guns go to Mexico when the plan was to let sellers go to Mexico and successfully sell guns there. No, really, watch it: it will give you an idea of how seriously our legislators are taking this story.
- Needless to say, we already knew that the Justice Department was likewise in this up to their necks, but it's nice that they're admitting it.
- And - this is the revelation that threatens to really upset the applecart - Newell testified that he shared information on F&F with National Security Director (North America) Kevin O'Reilly (in other words, somebody in the White House). The White House's response was that... O'Reilly may have been told; but he wasn't told-told, if you know what they mean.
And this is just Wednesday. Imagine what we may know by Friday.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I've said this before, but let me repeat: government scandals take a while to mature and ripen. Much like garbage in the sun.
*Guess Joe Sestak shouldn't have run for Senate, huh? - Elections matter, folks.