From his perch at the National Press Club, where Janet Napolitano was speaking earlier today, The Washington Examiner’s Charlie Spiering brought readers a disgruntling, callous quote from the Department of Homeland Security secretary. A reporter asked her how the United States has or will work with Mexico to suppress Mexican drug cartels. Napolitano responded with this:
“Obviously I think if the question is referring to things like Fast and Furious, I think everyone has acknowledged that mistakes, serious mistakes, were made there,” Napolitano replied, “The key question [is] to make sure that those mistakes, from my standpoint, are never again repeated.”
Mistakes? To suggest that Fast and Furious was not a program that was intentionally designed to funnel firearms to straw purchasers is disingenuous and to use the mild word “mistake” to color over a program that led to the death of a U.S. border patrol agent and more than 200 Mexicans is irresponsible. While it’s encouraging that Napolitano wants to ensure that administration officials never design such a foolish and lethal program again, her language seems too calculated to also create the impression that administration officials have no possible culpability here. In her mind, it was all just a series of “mistakes” from which to learn and move forward — but, again, even if the operation was intended to lead to a different ending — to the prosecution of the biggest fish within Mexican drug cartels — the sale of the weapons to straw purchasers in the first place was not a mistake. It was that tactic that was and is and will continue to be controversial — and Napolitano’s comments should reflect that the tactic should never have been used in the first place.
While the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious is far from over and while those of us who are strongly suspicious of DOJ higher-ups have to fight not to ascribe to them the worst of ulterior motives until those motives are established by the evidence, administration officials should at the very least express a stronger sense of the inexcusable facts of Fast and Furious.