Erika Johnsen

"Botched."

That is the word the mainstream media too often associates with the federal gunwalking scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious—but in her new book, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up, investigative reporter Katie Pavlich fearlessly chronicles exactly why the only thing "botched" about the ill-fated operation was the Obama administration's shoddy attempt to cover their tracks.

Having shared office space with Katie for well over a year now, I've witnessed her ferocious commitment to this story since before Fast and Furious was even a thought in the national consciousness. I wasn't always quite sure what her mysterious phone calls and outings were about, but I trusted that she was relentlessly collecting research and gathering evidence—and the product of her intrepidness and hard work is all too timely. She's left no stone unturned in her explanation and analysis of the deadly operation and, as this story continues to unfold nationally, her book serves as a thorough primer of the harrowing circumstances that led to it.

I'll confess that, until reading Katie's book, the exact nature of Operation Fast and Furious had eluded me. I generally understood that President Obama has deliberately surrounded himself with an administration chock-full of anti-gun groupies, and that the execution of Operation Fast and Furious was very carelessly thought out, to say the least. But, I didn't quite understand exactly why the now-well-publicized deaths of American federal agents and countless Mexican citizens were more than just the result of some belligerent Mexican gang members—as the Obama administration no doubt wishes us to believe.

Prefacing her work with an apt introduction from ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns, one of the whistleblowers who have selflessly helped to illuminate this very dark (redacted!) splotch on the Obama administration's record, Dobyns lays out the landscape in which Fast and Furious was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. Over his decades of service, Dobyns witnessed the slow but sure shift in the management of the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: from dedicated men with boots-on-the-ground know-how and well-weathered experience, to well-suited, expensively educated yuppies with agendas other than protecting the United States in mind. The instances of corruption, the ideological feuds, and the lack of integrity eventually began to dominate the agency in a way that could have only heralded disaster.

Katie takes it away from there, further setting the Fast and Furious stage by taking us through the horrendous death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and then detailing the well-documented anti-gun history of Obama and his cronies—and that's when things start to get really hairy for the Obama administration. From the seeming pointlessness of allowing straw purchasers to send untraceable (until they turn up at crime scenes, that is) guns into Mexico, with no hope of catching the cartel kingpins; to forcing individual gun-shop business owners to sell their products to known criminals, regardless of the bewildered protestations of honest ATF agents; to the ATF's bitter and dangerous retaliation against said honest agents—the possible motives of the people in charge become more and more ominous with every detail.

Despite the involved Obama appointees' best efforts to downplay the impact of their recklessness, shift blame, avoid accountability, stonewall their watchdogs, and perpetuate the "botched" narrative, the unremitting investigations of Congressmen Darrell Issa, Charles Grassley, John Cornyn, and others have eventually revealed that there is something much deeper, and much more formidable, at play here than the perpetrators would like to portray.

In a readable style that's thorough yet concise, detailed but not overwhelming, Katie presents all of the relevant players in this bloody scandal, and demonstrates the power of smaller media, the blogosphere, and determined individuals like her in uncovering the stories that the mainstream media would be all-too-willing to ignore, instead forcing the nation to finally sit up and pay attention.

While the dubious nature of outrages like the Obama administration's Department of Energy loan guarantees and financial bailouts have illustrated the president's willingness to throw taxpayers' money around, the consequences of this scandal were, and will likely continue to be, American lives. As Katie points out, if the Obama administration is ready to be so cavalier with the Constitution and a few American lives here and there, just to push their leftist agenda—of what else are they capable?

Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and local bookstores.


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.