The details of this ATF operation keep getting more sordid. As new details emerge, the thin veneer of this being a serious official investigation is getting thinner and thinner. I expect what little patina is left of the official line that this was an operation intended to track and identify supply lines of guns from the United States to Mexican drug cartels will dissolve.
For a decent summary of the Phoenix ATF and its Fast and Furious, Forbes has this lengthy article up. I disagree with Miniter that this is Obama's Watergate as I disagree that this is comparable to Iran-Contra. This operation is far worse in my opinion, since by deliberate acts by officials of the US government, thousands of weapons were allowed to slip into the hands of criminals who then proceeded to use these weapons to destabilize a friendly nation, murder civilians, and murder two agents of the US government itself. Watergate was a botched burglary while Iran-Contra had the strategic aim of rescuing American hostages and bringing down a hostile government in Nicaragua.
Even as Frank Miniter was writing that article for Forbes, events and new information was emerging to further damage the official explanation of Operation Fast and Furious. I consider the following information the most disturbing. Previously the information had indicated ATF had allowed weapons purchased by suspects to simply vanish and later appear at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Also ATF agent Camino has testified before Congress he had read the first part of Fast and Furious' case logbook and three times other ATF agents had left a stash house alone. What could be so disturbing than that? How about the head of the ATF unit responsible for Fast and Furious, Voth, authorizing another ATF agent, Dobson, to purchase weapons with government funds, sell those weapons to a suspect, and then deny Dobson's request to seize those weapons before they slipped across the border and vanish. I am not a lawyer but with these actions it seems the US government has gone from being a mere accessory to murder to an active participant in murder.
While these revelations have come out about what went on inside the ATF, another crack in the deniability armor has widened. Even after President Obama has been shown on video tape talking about operations aimed at curbing the weapons flow into Mexico, the White House and Sec. Holder of the Dept. of Justice have denied they knew anything of these operations. Until an email from ATF agent Newell that he sent to his friend O'Reilly in the White House emerged. Still the White House has denied that they knew any details on the operation. New emails between Newell and O'Reilly have emerged showing Newell supplied O'Reilly with a chart showing the flow of weapons into Mexico.
Naturally Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley would like to interview Mr. O'Reilly who serves as one of President Obama's national security advisors, but Mr. O'Reilly is not available to the committee. He is out of the country, O'Reilly is presently in Iraq. How convienient this trip is. And how pathetic and desperate this attempt to keep O'Reilly and his testimony under wraps. Just a few years ago President Bush would have regular secure video-teleconferences with Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. You mean to tell me that O'Reilly could not use the same facilities to answer questions from Iraq posed to him by Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley?
There is another piece of new information contained inside that CBS report which opens another avenue of investigation for Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley. It seems the Pheonix ATF office has been running another operation called Wide Receiver. One photo that is linked to that operation is not a .50 caliber rifle as Ms. Attkinson states, instead the picture shows an M-2/M-3 .50 caliber heavy machine gun. Which is a completely different animal than the likes of a Barret M-82 sniper rifle.
So there is still much to be discovered about all these various covert operations carried out under the aegis of the Obama administration. Obama and Holder can keep trying to deny any culpability in all these operations, but the evidence and Harry Truman's adage of 'The Buck Stops Here' points to the White House. An outraged Mexican government wants justice for the 200+ citizens murdered by these weapons. The families of Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata, all US citizens, want justice for their murdered family members. To prove the United States is still a nation of laws, justice has to be thorough and fair in this case since so many people whom citizens entrusted with great power are implicated. For those same people to try and deflect, obfuscate, or even deny will surly mean the end of this great experiment called the United States.