ATF’s Fast and Furious Coverup Exposed

Darrell Issa and Charles Grassley have been releasing documents that they have obtained in connection with the Fast and Furious investigation. I have not yet seen a site where the documents are actually published, so we have to rely on news accounts of them. If any of our readers are aware of a location where we can read them for ourselves, we would appreciate hearing about it.

In the meantime, the Daily Caller has an interesting story about ATF’s retaliation against the whistleblowers who exposed the Fast and Furious scandal:

House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley are asking the Department of Justice’s internal investigator to hold accountable anyone who retaliated against or threatened to retaliate against Operation Fast and Furious whistleblowers. …

“We just learned that ATF senior management placed two of the main whistleblowers who have testified before Congress about Fast and Furious under the supervision of someone who vowed to retaliate against them,” they wrote before describing how senior political figures have made dangerous threats before.

Grassley and Issa said that in early 2011, right around the time Grassley first made public the whistleblowers’ allegations about Fast and Furious, Scot Thomasson – then the chief of the ATF’s Public Affairs Division – said, according to an eyewitness account: “We need to get whatever dirt we can on these guys [the whistleblowers] and take them down.”

That is, sadly, a pretty typical bureaucratic response, one of many reasons why we should not entrust our government with too much power. The documents that Issa and Grassley have released, and that the Daily Caller has reviewed, indicate that ATF was planning its Fast and Furious coverup even before Grassley and Issa started asking for information about the program. The ATF instructed its employees as to how they should respond to anticipated questions, including this one:

We understand that a firearm bought in connection with this ATF investigation was used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry. Can you please comment on this information?

Well, that is definitely a good question. ATF’s management suggested the following answer, among others:

Agent Terry’s death is the exact reason why we must continue going after those who are determined to destroy the lives of so many innocent individuals in our communities by plying their illicit trade. For those who would say it is Mexico’s problem, I say Agent Terry’s death and all of those who have perished because of this violence prove that this challenge belongs to everyone.

Sick. Here is another suggested response:

The investigation into the murder of Agent Terry is active and ongoing. ATF has pledged its support and resources to bring to justice the perpetrators who are guilty of that crime. I won’t say anything here today to jeopardize that investigation or the subsequent prosecution of those responsible for this terrible crime.

Right, like acknowledging that the murder weapons were guns that the U.S. government insisted that law-abiding gun shops sell to straw purchasers in violation of the law, which were then allowed to make their way to the Mexican cartels while American law enforcement was instructed not to arrest anyone or otherwise try to stop the flow of weapons. That is what ATF wanted to make sure its employees didn’t tell anyone who asked inconvenient questions about Brian Terry’s murder.

This was a coverup, plain and simple, and the coverup continues today, spearheaded by Barack Obama and Eric Holder under a frivolous claim of executive privilege. In this case, “executive privilege” means “Let’s just keep this damned thing under wraps until after the election. Then, who cares?”

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