By Lynn Woolley
June 20, 2012
Broadcast media – other than Fox News and a reporter named
Sharyl Attkisson on CBS – have pretty much ignored the botched government
gunrunning scheme known as “Fast & Furious.” That all changed around 9 a.m. on Wednesday when bulletins
First, we learned that Attorney General Eric Holder, facing
a Contempt of Congress vote, had not reached an agreement with Congressman
Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee. That meant that Issa
would likely move forward with the vote, something both Holder and President
Obama would rather not see during a campaign.
But the news continued to come. The President himself intervened by exerting executive
privilege over a trove of documents related to the operation when it was being
run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This is significant because the
President has attempted to remain at arm’s length from this still-emerging
scandal. But the “executive” in
executive privilege refers to him specifically. So this is about more than just protecting his friend, the
If you get your news from MSNBC, you may not be up to speed
on the background of the story. The
BATF&E was selling thousands of guns along the U.S.-Mexico border with the
hope of tracing them to leaders of the Mexican drug cartels. The scheme backfired when these
guns began showing up at major crime scenes, and when a U. S. Border Patrol
Agent named Brian Terry was murdered.
No one knows how many Mexican Nationals have died because of “Fast &
Furious,” but the number is likely in the hundreds and the Mexican government
Progressive members of the Oversight Committee ignore the
murders, and say the scandal is all about politics. Rep. Elijah Cummings says Holder came to the Committee “in
good faith.” Rep. Carolyn Maloney
calls it “a political witch hunt.”
MSNBC, a network that had virtually ignored the story, suddenly
discovered it on Tuesday night as “Hardball” host Chris Matthews proclaimed the
reason for the probe is a single word: “ethnic.”
If Matthews is right, and this is about nothing more than a
bunch of white Republicans going after an African-American president and his
African-American attorney general, then why not simply turn over the papers and
make Issa and his committee members look bad?
The answer is almost certainly that there is something the
Justice Department and the White House would prefer the Committee not see. What it might be is a matter of
speculation, but it isn’t hard to make an educated guess.
What did the President know and when did he know it? Yes, that sounds positively Watergate –
but the claim of executive privilege means Obama is involved somehow. And another thing: What statements has the President made
about his lack of involvement that might be contradicted in the papers? And what about Holder himself and Janet
Napolitano of Homeland Security?
Are any of these people open to perjury charges? Finally, was the operation designed to
create an atmosphere in which the government could more easily pass gun control
We don’t know the answers to these questions. But we do know that “Fast &
Furious” has left a lot of dead bodies in its wake including a border
agent. The President may be
forced to throw Holder under the bus.
After all, Holder is also embroiled in the emerging security leaks
scandal – and the election looms.
But whether Holder stays or goes, the President’s claim of
executive privilege has thrust Fast & Furious into the big time and now the
mainstream media will cover it. As
it always does, the truth will come out.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based
radio talk show host. Contact him