The congressional investigation into "Fast and Furious" has been going on for more than a year, but it was stonewalled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who instead opened an internal investigation by the Department of Justice's inspector general. Tens of thousands of internal Justice Department documents supplied to the inspector general were withheld from Congress, despite having been requested in a lawful subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This act of stubborn defiance resulted in Holder's becoming the first attorney general to be voted in contempt of Congress. Now Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report finally has been released, but it leaves some critical questions unanswered. Before delving into specifics, let me thank Townhall's Katie Pavlich for her help deciphering the report, as well as her groundbreaking reporting on this issue from day one.
Media accounts surrounding the release of the report had a routine flavor, which was otherworldly in light of the report's contents. The Associated Press reported that "the Justice Department's internal watchdog ... faulted the agency for misguided strategies, errors in judgment and management failures during a bungled gun-trafficking probe in Arizona that resulted in hundreds of weapons turning up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico." Oh, is that all?
"Fast and Furious" involved the "walking" of guns into Mexico -- an artful term for gun smuggling that was clearly illegal but nonetheless encouraged. Most of these guns turned up in the hands of drug dealers and known criminals. The ostensible goal of the ATF was to catch these cartel members red-handed with the smuggled guns during crimes in Mexico. Two of the guns that were "walked" into Mexico were found at the crime scene of the killing of Agent Terry, who died in a firefight with drug cartel henchmen.
Thousands of guns walked into Mexico are still on the loose. Where are they, and how many are out there? Does the U.S. government have a plan to recapture them, or will we simply spend years wondering how many more victims they are being used to kill? And who will make sure that Congress and the public are made aware if and when these guns surface at more crime scenes here in the U.S.?
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