A new government report reveals that not only did the Obama administration commit widespread crimes in selling weapons to Mexican drug lords, but top White House officials were more directly involved in the scandal than previously thought.
The 259-page report from the House Government Oversight Committee is the third in a series of reports outlining rampant criminal activity by the Obama administration in the “Fast and Furious” scandal. “Operation Fast and Furious” was an Obama Justice Department program in which gun purchases by Mexican drug cartels were tracked by U.S. government officials.
It was a continuation of a George W. Bush administration program called “Operation Wide Receiver.” After receiving reports of from firearms dealers located near the Mexican border of suspicious gun sales, Bush Justice Department officials worked with dealers to set up surveillance and monitor sales. The Bush administration would then notify Mexican officials of the sales, expecting the buyers to be immediately arrested before they could be used. However, because of bureaucratic mismanagement, few of the guns were interdicted and even fewer targets were arrested. The program was ended in 2008.
Upon taking office in 2009, the Obama administration reviewed the program. Despite having failed, Obama resurrected it under a new name “Operation Fast and Furious” and made one change.
After an Oct. 29 meeting, the Justice Department decided not only would it sell weapons to Mexican drug lords, but the U.S. would allow the guns to be used in crimes. Not only would the Obama administration be able to identify higher-level cartel figures by tracing the murders, it allowed Obama to run political campaigns blaming American gun sellers for drug crimes — committed with weapons sold by the Obama administration.
For many it conjures memories of the Clinton administration’s 1992 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. The Justice Department secured warrant for the arrest of leader David Koresh on charges of illegal gun purchases, but rather than quietly arrest Koresh as he went for his usual, solo, morning jog, the Clinton administration staged what they thought would be a quick, and dramatic, armed raid. It ended with the deaths of 82 men, women and children in the compound, and four Federal agents. The Federal government indicted 11 surviving Davidians on charges of murder in the shooting deaths of the agents. A jury found them not guilty, ruling they had fired back in self-defense.
In all, around 300 people were killed with weapons sold to drug lords by the Obama administration, including a Border Patrol agent. The report found the Obama administration has been illegally stonewalling investigations into those murders.
The New American reports, in part:
Dubbed “Fast and Furious: Obstruction of Congress by the Department of Justice,” the new report highlights what lawmakers said was the former administration’s oftentimes illegal stonewalling and deliberate lying in the DOJ’s efforts to cover up the crimes. It came from the top, too. Of course, lying to Congress can itself be a crime, and Obama’s attorney general, anti-gun extremist Eric Holder, was held in criminal contempt of Congress for his lies. However, he was never put behind bars.
The new report was scathing. “In the course of that investigation, nearly six years ago, the Justice Department wrote to Congress and falsely denied that law enforcement officers allowed straw purchasers to buy firearms illegally in the United States and traffic them without being apprehended,” explained the joint staff report’s executive summary. “Since that false denial, the Committees have investigated why the Department of Justice misled Congress and failed to correct its misrepresentation in a timely manner. Despite the Department’s refusal to cooperate, the investigation developed with the cooperation of DOJ whistleblowers.”
Holder himself was involved in withholding “thousands of key documents,” the report continues. And he even asked Obama to exert so-called “executive privilege” over “all documents related to the Department’s responses to questions from Congress about Fast and Furious.” Obama complied, “dishonestly” purporting to justify the administration’s refusal to comply with lawful congressional subpoenas in order to “obstruct the investigation.” By the government’s own logic, that strongly suggests top officials had “something to hide.”
In essence, then, the highest levels of the Obama administration were determined to prevent the American people’s elected representatives from doing their jobs — even if it meant openly flaunting federal law.
Finally, the courts stepped in, forcing officials to hand over some of the documents. “The produced documents showed Holder was significantly more involved in the response to Congress’s investigation than had previously been understood,” the new report said. “Many key documents are still being withheld, but the body of evidence available at this point is sufficiently robust to conclude that there are fundamental flaws in the Department’s approach to responding to congressional requests for documents and information generally, and in the Department’s tactics in dealing with questions about the Fast and Furious case in particular.”
According to the newly available documents cited in the report, Justice Department officials were “focused more on spin and obfuscation than getting the facts right.” Calling the climate at DOJ headquarters “highly politicized,” the report noted that the Obama Justice Department was doing its best to limit the amount of disclosed information in its dealings with Congress and the press. Even the family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was murdered with a Fast and Furious gun, was given the runaround by Obama’s administration, with the DOJ apparently viewing the family as a “public relations nuisance” more than anything else.