Still getting back up to speed after Christmas, so here are a few links that I’ve been squirreling away like nuts for winter:
Additional hat tips to Insta and Ace.
Continuing her excellent reporting on the issue, Sharyl Attkisson drops another bombshell: Just like us “paranoid” right wingers thought all along, Fast and Furious was about promoting gun control:
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.
ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.
On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:
“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”
On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.”
Read the whole thing.
The best, most favorable explanation is that Fast and Furious was instituted for some still-undisclosed purpose, and that some ATF agents saw it as a ghoulish opportunity to promote gun control.
The worst: The Obama Administration designed and implemented Fast and Furious in a premeditated fashion, breaking the law and helping kill hundreds of Mexican citizens and U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry, all for the sole, express purpose of promoting gun control.
They had to kill people with guns in order to save them from getting killed by guns.
It shows that just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Hat tip: Powerline, where John Hinderaker says: “If the Obama administration did arrange for the shipment of arms to Mexican drug gangs, not for any legitimate public purpose but in order to advance a left-wing political agenda, and those guns were used to murder hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American border agent–which they were–then we are looking at a scandal that dwarfs any in modern American history.”
So says that bastion of right-wing propaganda, The New York Times:
Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.
The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.
Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”
Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious
I suppose it’s progress of a sort when even The New York Times realizes something went horribly wrong in Fast and Furious. And even if the money laundering program was working, what chance does it have now that the cover has been blown?
Does anyone actually believe the Obama Administration has an effective, coherent plan to take down the cartels?
What next? Will we find out that U.S. agents actually carried out cartel assassinations?
The former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.
If Fast and Furious is any guide, those “hundreds of thousands of dollars” will turn out to be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
I hope you’re celebrating both Veterans Day and Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11) today. A few bits of news:
I’ll try to do a Greek/Euro debt update just as soon as I figure out just what the hell Europe is actually doing…
Either I’m getting a little better handle on things, or Fast and Furious revelations have slowed down just enough for me to keep up.
(Hat tips: Sipsey Street, Say Uncle, and the usual suspects.)
You know, when I started doing Fast and Furious updates, I didn’t realize I’d have to update this daily. But events are moving at a pretty brisk pace:
Finally, not related at all (except also involving guns), but I wanted to point out that Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, points out that yes, the roots of gun control in America are racist in nature.
Updates to the Fast and Furious scandal are coming…well, you know.
(Hat tips: Instapundit, Sipsey Street, etc.)
CBS lets Sharyl Attkisson decloak long enough to print Eric Holder’s “I didn’t lie, I swear, I was just incompetent” defense for the Fast and Furious scandal:
Holder says that his testimony to Congress, stating he first heard of Fast and Furious earlier this year, “was truthful and accurate… I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious prior to the public controversy about it.”
In other words: I’m so out-of-the-loop that I didn’t know my underlings were involved in a massive, illegal, and deadly plot to break the law resulting in over 200 deaths. Way to be on top of things, Mr. AG!
Holder maintains he didn’t know about the controversial gunwalking tactics used in the case.
The Sgt. Schultz defense.
The Attorney General says that while he was sent received memos on Fast and Furious, they are “actually provided to and reviewed by members of my staff and the staff of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.”
The Richard Nixon “I was out of the loop” defense. Didn’t work so well for him either.
As CBS News has reported, the Deputy Attorney General during Fast and Furious, Gary Grindler is now Holder’s Chief of Staff. Documents provided to Congress indicate Grindler received a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious in March of 2010 and made handwritten notes on briefing materials.
However, in the letter, Holder says Grindler “was not told of the unacceptable tactics employed in the operation in his regular monthly meetings with ATF…”
“I now understand some senior officials within the Department were aware at the time there was an operation called Fast and Furious although they were not advised of the unacceptable operational tactics being used in it,” says Holder’s letter.
There’s a word for this sort of denial: it’s called bullshit. Bureaucracies are good at one thing: Following the rules. Even as stupid as some of the cowboys in ATF are, there’s no way some field-level supervisor got the bright idea: “Hey, let’s directly violate the federal laws we’re supposed to enforce! Plus I won’t tell anyone higher up! What’s the worst that could happen?” Doesn’t pass the smell test. You don’t isolate top officials from this sort of info, you make sure they’re in the loop to cover your own ass. Fast and Furious is so far off the reservation that the order for it had to come from way up high. Not necessarily Holder (though that’s a distinct possibility), but someone far enough up the food chain to make such an outrageous order stick. Like Obama.
In his letter, Holder also criticized the House Committee investigating Fast and Furious, saying he cannot sit idly by “as law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered ‘accessories to murder’.”
Well then, maybe you should have, oh, I don’t know, provided enough oversight to make sure they weren’t accessories to murder. Shouldn’t be that hard.
There are two possibilities:
A. If Holder knew about Fast and Furious, he’s an accessory to murder, and shouldn’t be Attorney General.
B. If Holder didn’t know about Fast and Furious, then he’s manifestly incompetent, and shouldn’t be Attorney General.
There is no option C.
Ricardo Sanchez finally has a website up, though Google still can’t find it, and it was only announced on his Facebook page yesterday. I wonder why it took so long, since he announced back on May 11; it doesn’t take a month to put up a website.
Also, he’s apparently going to be running as “Ric Sanchez,” though most of the media (save the Dallas Morning News) don’t appear to have gotten the memo.
The website actually contains some policy substance, though you have to wade through lots of vague, boilerplate, focus-group tested blather to get to it:
It’s in the third paragraph. Click to embiggen.
Granted, anyone can say anything on their website; it doesn’t mean they believe in it, and it doesn’t mean they won’t jettison it ten minutes after they’ve won election. But for a major Democratic candidate to call for tax cuts not before the general election, but even before the Democratic primary, suggests that either Texas is even more conservative a state than even we on the right realize, or (and I mention this only as a possibility) Ricardo Sanchez actually believes in tax cuts as a way to create economic growth. That would put him in agreement with the all the major Republican candidates, but it’s pretty close to heresy in today’s Democratic Party.
We’ll see what sort of reaction his positions get, assuming people can actually find his website…