A day before the House votes on whether Attorney General Eric Holder is in contempt, Fortune magazine is up with a piece* based on a six-month investigation which finds that the ATF never intentionally allowed “gun walking,” as both lawmakers and the media have assumed.
encourage beg you to read the whole article and get everyone you know to read it, but here are some excerpts:
“Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
“Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that [head Phoenix ATF agent] Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.
“How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today. It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically [ATF agent] Dodson’s anger at [his boss] Voth. After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS. Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration….
“Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false,” says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS). A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa’s committee.
“The ATF’s accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn’t actually exist.
“Irony abounds when it comes to the Fast and Furious scandal. But the ultimate irony is this: Republicans who support the National Rifle Association and its attempts to weaken gun laws are lambasting ATF agents for not seizing enough weapons — ones that, in this case, prosecutors deemed to be legal.” Italics in original, emphasis added.
To me this isn’t irony, it just shows that however much the GOP loves guns, they hate Obama more. Fast and Furious may be a Seinfeld Scandal — a scandal about nothing.
Much as I’d love to blame Fox, CBS initially behaved shamefully here, believing the bad apple (Dodson) over the good apple (Voth) and taking Voth’s email out of context to say he was referring to gunwalking, when he was not.
* “The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal,” Katherine Eban