Last week I had the opportunity to listen in on a conference call and speak with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. He discussed Operation Fast and Furious, a program the Obama Administration implemented that caused the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry last December.
Operation Fast and Furious was created in the fall of 2009 and ran until early 2011. In this program, the federal government allowed gun smugglers to purchase guns from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Arizona. The government made no attempts to stop these purchases or to intercept the guns during or after purchase. It is believed that weapons purchased by drug cartels through this program were used to kill border agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Terry was killed in a firefight with Mexican drug cartels on the border.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are investigating the situation. As I listened to Chairman Issa speak, it is obvious that he feels very strongly about finding out who is directly and indirectly responsible for Terry’s murder. The drug cartels and those who purchased the guns in the first place are directly responsible. However, those who are indirectly responsible are members of our government.
That’s right. Members of the FBI and/or Homeland Security, as well as possibly within the actual administration, are responsible for allowing the purchases to be made in the first place. Someone had to approve the payments. A report that came out states that the FBI and the Homeland Security Department were not involved in this, since neither Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano or FBI Director Mueller knew about the operations before Terry’s murder. There is still the possibility, or assurance, rather, that there were people inside those departments that knew what was going on and allowed it. Just because these two directors did not know does not mean it did not happen.
Attorney General Eric Holder was not told about these dealings, either. In his case, it was most likely because he did not want to know and was not doing his job properly. It is obvious that someone, or multiple people, were secretly approving these payments and were somehow benefiting from it. If they were not, there was no reason for them to continue with it. There were FBI members who knew what their director did not know, since joint funding was used to pay for Operation Fast and Furious.
It was also suggested that all the recent position changes could be a way to keep people quiet. ATF has been switching people around, and it could possibly be to keep them from coming out and telling what they know.
Chairman Issa also said that this has severely damaged our relationship with Mexico. The Mexican Attorney General is very upset he was not briefed on Operation Fast and Furious before it began. These illegal weapons were coming into his country by way of these gun smugglers, leading to more violence. According to Chairman Issa, drastic measures will have to be taken to ensure we gain back the Mexican government’s trust. To do this, prosecution of those involved may be necessary, whoever they may be.
“There is an ongoing pattern of wrongdoing,” says Chairman Issa. These cases are pending until February. Things could have been done much faster if the federal government was cooperating, but they are not. Chairman Issa and Senator Grassley have requested documents containing whatever the White House knows about this situation, and that request has not been granted. Keeping things open was in the Justice Department’s best interest. Since getting the Justice Department to prosecute the Justice Department is going to be a tough job, Issa says, they are continuing to drag things out to put that off as long as possible.
Chairman Issa agrees that Operation Fast and Furious does not make sense as a law operation. He suggests that this was a way for the Obama administration to get the assault weapons ban back in place.
Operation Fast and Furious was a huge mistake in the first place. It led to the death of one of our own border agents. His death could have been prevented if the Obama administration had done their job and never given guns to smugglers and drug cartels in the first place. I’ll leave you with a quote from Chairman Issa:
“Anytime you give political appointees billions of dollars to put in the piggy bank, you’re going to have this kind of misconduct.”