How Issa’s Committee Lied About Fast & Furious To Lead to Holder Farce

It’s great fun watching the right-wing broadcasters, Websites, bloggers, et al, try to debunk the debunker in the embarrassing revelations contained in the Fortune magazine investigative story by reporter Katherine Eban that concluded that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. That charge is at the core of the Contempt of a Congress citation against Attorney General, Eric Holder. Didn’t happen! Nonetheless, congress voted to hold Holder in such contempt. All republicans supported the action and even a number of spineless democrats.

The enterprising Ms. Eban researched the story for 6 months. She’s the classic ‘have laptop will travel’ enterprise reporter with an interest in just about everything. Ms. Eban (Katherine Eban Finkelstein when she was a Metro Reporter for the NY Times) has contributed her literary skills to dozens of different magazines including liberal favorites, The Nation and Vanity Fair. She wrote a book back in 2005 entitled Dangerous Doses, all about counterfeiters contaminating America’s drug supply. You can buy it new online for a couple of bucks, used for less than one buck.

Fortune is owned by Time Inc. Time owns 21 titles as diverse as Southern Living and Health. Their most recognized titles would be Time magazine, Fortune and a simplistic piece of mind candy called ‘People’. They can take the hit; the advertiser hit that’s sure to befall them after daring to publish a truth that makes republicans look bad.

I’ve read the Eban article. If you haven’t, here are the highlights.

The story begins with the promotion of David Voth, described as a cool headed ex-marine, to the leadership position of The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix Group VII. There are 7 different groups along the southwest border with the job of stopping gun trafficking into Mexico. The very next paragraph is a no holds barred description of the real problems facing ATF agents in what appears to be a losing cause without extensive statutory reforms. Another imperative is locking out the extraordinary influence over elected officials of the Nutty Rifle Association and by extension, the American gun-obsessed crowd whose minions vote against whomever the NRA tells them to – no questions asked.

The Mexican government estimates that 2,000 guns are smuggled into Mexico a day and yet there is no federal statute outlawing firearms trafficking. Vote in favor of such a law in most parts of the U.S. and your legislative career is over. The patchwork of other so-called enforcement laws is pathetically weak and ineffective in stopping the flow. The government specifically forbids establishing an electronic database of gun sales. You want a database? Go to your local gun store and laboriously log all that data by hand for each gun sold.

The article spells out Voth’s mandate as stopping gun traffickers in Arizona. You might as well try to catch a bowling ball dropped from 2,000 feet. Can’t be done. But Voth would try. Arizona has been accorded the dubious distinction by an advocacy group called Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation’s weakest “gun violence prevention laws.” In the Phoenix area alone, there are 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. If you’re 18 and pass a background criminal check, you can buy truly deadly guns with no waiting period or permits, walk out the door and sell them to anybody. Note to Issa committee, “Why don’t you NRA groupies concentrate on the real problem?”

Now pay special attention here. This is where the ‘Fast & Furious’ rubber meets the road and where Eban establishes that the F & F flap is a fabricated political maneuver with but one purpose – destroy Obama through Holder.

A Mexican Drug Cartel that calls itself Sinaloa (the name of a Mexican state) had selected Phoenix as its gun superstore. Young Americans were paid to serve as straw purchasers of endless supplies of heavy arms. Kids as young as 18 were going into gun stores with 20 grand in their pockets and walking out with 20 semiautomatics in one stop. They would then hand these over to the Sinaloa representatives. That SINGLE case – Sinaloas straw-purchasing guns through American youth was named by ATF agents as Fast & Furious according to investigator Eban. She added that Fast and Furious was named after a movie of the same name where the bad guys would drag race each other. There were actually six total Fast & Furious movie variations, the last one in 2011.

Right-wing prosecutors, knowing which side their NRA bread was buttered on refused to indict any of the suspects over the next 7 months even though the agency had provided them with a list of 31 suspects along with 46 pages of their alleged illegal acts.

So what we have is a majority republican committee and a republican house holding the Attorney General in Contempt of Congress under false pretenses. This is the first time a sitting Cabinet member has ever been so cited by the house or the senate.

The Fortune investigation goes on to reveal that the Issa gunwalking inquiry is “replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Is there a ‘Contempt of Public’ citation? The article quotes Linda Wallace, a now retired Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit. No progressive reactionary, Wallace is a self-described gun-rights supporter. Her statement sums up the whole unseemly political medicine show that is Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Here’s how she characterized the committee’s actions; “The ATF’s accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn’t actually exist.”

The article goes on at some length. I’m not going to review all its contents here. Fortune is available at bookstores and newsstands and with a little searching you can find the article on the Internet. I’ve just given you enough particulars to either whet your appetite for further exploration of the subject or just move on and shake your head at the far right crazies who have taken over the house and most of our government.

I can’t sign off without referencing the Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandates. I’m not going to get too complacent knowing the radical opposition will really go off the rails now. But for a precious few days or weeks, let’s savor something the republicans have denied us since their massive 2010 extremists influx into congress – a rare commonsense victory.

I’ll have more to say after thoroughly reviewing the decision.

11 Replies to “How Issa’s Committee Lied About Fast & Furious To Lead to Holder Farce”

  1. Thank Goodness for Katherine Eban and thank you, Dennis S for your article on this.

    The Committee who LIED should be Impeached or Fired or both. AG Holder should wear it as a Badge of Honor that the Idiots in Congress voted to hold him in contempt.

    Issa’s karma’s coming someday and it’s ugly.

  2. Issa is a liar and as slithery as a snake. He & the GOP witch hunters are hiding behind the family of the slain officer under the pretense that they want the truth. Bullshit. They have meetings behind closed doors with the NRA conspiracy theorists, who incidentally pull their puppet-strings. This conspiracy is so insane, which reflects the minds of Issa & GOPers who are just plain crazy. Vote Issa out of office; let’s give him a taste of his own poison!

  3. When it boils right down to it, the guns going to Mexico under any circumstances are due to Republican prosecutors, the NRA, and the national Republican Party. The guns could not be stopped by the government because of Republican prosecutors afraid of the NRA. And this is occurring even today and partial responsibility for that sets and everyone who supports the NRA. Even an alien who just landed here when understand that you don’t need 800 gun shops along the border that allows anyone over 18 to buy and sell weapons right on the spot that easily go to Mexico. How to they easily go to Mexico? The government cannot stop them because the prosecutors will let them go. It’s a vicious cycle of death that as usual is perpetrated by the Republican Party

    Eric Holder will have his day, and Darrell Issa will have a day that he’s not looking forward to but knows is coming

  4. I have read the article TWICE to make sure I got all the players right.
    What is so very troubling about this whole thing is that this particular article was mentioned only once, in passing no less, on CNN yesterday. What was not mentioned in the casual reference to the article was the fact that ATF agent Roth was AGAINST gun walking.
    Agent Dobson, on CBS, clearly stated that Roth was FOR gun walking, which, on the face of it, was a total lie, but Issa went with the lie. Fits better with his agenda of bring down this presidency anyway the GOP can.
    All of these facts can be obtained through the internal memos that were used to write this article, along with vetting the agents. Seems as though Issa’s Committee wasn’t interested in the truth, only in ginning up fabricated controversy to vilify the AG, thus smearing the same GOP maggot infested slime onto the President.
    How do you get the truth out there for all to see, when you have Fake News (fox) spewing forth sewage that sticks, and CNN doing much of the same. Not even going to comment on CBS, NBC or ABC, that’s a waste of my time. Seems as though the truth is a rare commodity these days, but lies, hearsay, innuendo, and just plain made up fabrications to fit a disgusting far right GOP agenda seems to be the important “facts” to be reported over and over again these days.
    This election is a toss up, and if we lose the House and Senate, and Romney get’s elected, we will fall off a financial cliff that will only serve to make the super rich richer and the rest of us can perform an unnatural sexual act upon our selves.

  5. I have asked the question before: Why no ATF agents required to testify???

    Nothing but a smear on a man who made mistakes, but is innocent.

  6. Eric Holder, as I’ve said before, is not perfect and has made mistakes. Of course, all that makes him is human. The only criminal in this whole thing is Issa. He has trashed a good, but imperfect, man’s name for no reason other than he wants to stick it to the Obama Administration.

    While a lot of the Fright Wing think Eric Holder is Satan on earth, and while some on the left think he’s not doing anything about anything,* the truth is that Holder is not the demon he is made out to be. They tried to trash a good man’s reputation for nothing more than political gain. Truth was never the motive. Issa should be stripped of his committee position for going on this witch hunt and he needs to be held to account for his whole part in this miscarriage of justice.

    *I find it interesting that some on the left make these accusations against Holder when, if they would just do a little research, they would learn what Holder and his DOJ are doing for the American people. The biggest thing I hear is that he’s doing nothing on voting rights. That’s utterly false and one look at the cases they have filed prove that they are indeed working hard on these issues. We on the left are supposed to be the ones that pay attention and do our research so we know all the sides of an issue — we’re not supposed to be the “low-information voter.” Yet when it comes to Holder, some don’t do even the minimum due diligence. Just because Holder isn’t crowing in front of a camera and a microphone all the time, it doesn’t mean he’s sitting on his ass doing absolutely nothing.

  7. Great points. I agree re Holder and what some on the left may not understand is how the DOJ has been hampered and some say destroyed permanently via the Bush years, when he appointed lifetime careerists based on their political and religious ideology; they all but killed the civil rights division this way. The Obama administration can’t fire those people because they are not political appointees (or rather, they are not designated as such though clearly they were). Holder is doing a good job with a bag of crap. Only the lazy and misinformed buy into right wing talking points and fairy dreams of how everything can be fixed with a change of President. If only they knew how bad things really are… It’s going to take a long time to clean all of that destruction up.

  8. The most unfortunate and worrisome aspect of this whole mess is that CNN and the networks got this thing all wrong. They did no investigation on their own, but took Issa at his word, knowing that Issa proclaimed loudly when he became chairman that he would start investigating the Administration of Barak Obama until he found something. It is truly sad that our 2 party system has become so very partisan that there can be no cooperation. It was only the threat from the NRA that some Dems voted for Contempt. Maybe we could have a national vote on the nation’s contempt for Congress.

  9. I have written to CNN many times and complained since they too a right turn, of cou7rse they have not answered, I think if a lot more people took this action it might yield some results, inview of the fact that they are losing badly in the ratings.

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