Thursday, June 28, 2012

The TRUTH about ' Fast and Furious'- nothing but a political witchhunt

The GOP controlled House is taking the unprecedented step of voting to hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt.

Led by an actual criminal, Darryl Issa, this is nothing but a political witch hunt. They can't get the President, so they're going after the Attorney General.

Fortune Magazine published a long article following their investigation of Fast and Furious.

Here is part of it:

The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

June 27, 2012: 5:00 AM ET

A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.

By Katherine Eban

In the annals of impossible assignments, Dave Voth's ranked high. In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promoted Voth to lead Phoenix Group VII, one of seven new ATF groups along the Southwest border tasked with stopping guns from being trafficked into Mexico's vicious drug war.

Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. For six years, due to Beltway politics, the bureau has gone without permanent leadership, neutered in its fight for funding and authority. The National Rifle Association has so successfully opposed a comprehensive electronic database of gun sales that the ATF's congressional appropriation explicitly prohibits establishing one.

Voth, 39, was a good choice for a Sisyphean task. Strapping and sandy-haired, the former Marine is cool-headed and punctilious to a fault. In 2009 the ATF named him outstanding law-enforcement employee of the year for dismantling two violent street gangs in Minneapolis. He was the "hardest working federal agent I've come across," says John Biederman, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. But as Voth left to become the group supervisor of Phoenix Group VII, a friend warned him: "You're destined to fail."

Voth's mandate was to stop gun traffickers in Arizona, the state ranked by the gun-control advocacy group Legal Community Against Violence as having the nation's "weakest gun violence prevention laws." Just 200 miles from Mexico, which prohibits gun sales, the Phoenix area is home to 853 federally licensed firearms dealers. Billboards advertise volume discounts for multiple purchases.

Customers can legally buy as many weapons as they want in Arizona as long as they're 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. There are no waiting periods and no need for permits, and buyers are allowed to resell the guns. "In Arizona," says Voth, "someone buying three guns is like someone buying a sandwich."

By 2009 the Sinaloa drug cartel had made Phoenix its gun supermarket and recruited young Americans as its designated shoppers or straw purchasers. Voth and his agents began investigating a group of buyers, some not even old enough to buy beer, whose members were plunking down as much as $20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others.


Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow had good pieces on the farce that Fast and Furious has become.

Katherine Eban, reporter for Fortune magazine whose latest article sheds new light about the Fast and Furious story, talks with Rachel Maddow about her reporting on the case and the struggle ATF agents face in trying to stop the flow of guns to Mexico when American gun laws are so lax.

The House is scheduled to hold a contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday. The NRA is fanning the flames, saying the gunwalking program was an attempt by the Obama administration to limit gun rights. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Ca., and Dana Milbank of the Washington Post weigh in.

No comments: