Fast and Furious was a reckless operation from the beginning, which must not be repeated. Congress has an interest in investigating all the facts both to prevent similar debacles in the future and to ensure that responsible officials are held accountable.
Obama and Holder have assured Congress and the American people that they will get to the bottom of the facts and that the culpable parties will be held accountable. But so far they have protected, and sometimes rewarded, their political appointees high up on the food chain and punished the whistleblowers who brought this into the open.
Fast and Furious was a harebrained scheme involving the sale of guns to straw purchasers with the hope that they would lead investigators to drug cartels. But because ATF agents were forbidden to track the movement of the weapons sold and Mexican authorities were kept in the dark about the operation, the only way it could have worked is for authorities to have discovered the weapons at crime scenes after crimes had been committed and people were injured or killed.
Holder has been caught twice deceiving Congress, and he claimed both instances were inadvertent. His excuse for misrepresenting when he'd learned about the operation by some 10 months was that he hadn't read emails sent to him informing him of it.
Congress has a substantial need to know and a duty to pursue answers to: why Holder misled Congress; why the Department of Justice lied to Congress in a Feb. 4, 2011, letter in which they denied knowledge of gunwalking when internal documents proved they knew; why Fast and Furious was conceived in the first place; why ATF didn't allow its agents to track the weapons once they were sold; why no one at Main Justice has been punished; who ultimately authorized the operation; why Mexican authorities were kept in the dark about an operation that resulted in the injury and death of hundreds of Mexican citizens; why DOJ officials approved wiretap applications if they didn't read them thoroughly enough to discover that gunwalking was involved in the operation; and whether and when Obama had any knowledge of the operation.
What possible legitimate basis -- national security or otherwise -- does Obama have to deprive Congress of the requested information? This is an arrogant and lawless cover-up that appears calculated to buy this administration time until after the November election. Republicans should not back down. Though it acts like it, this defiant administration is not above the law.
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