Hey, remember Operation Fast & Furious — the hyper-shady Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gunwalking operation in which federal agents deliberately pressed American gun store owners into selling untraceable guns to known Mexican drug cartel middlemen, the best possible explanation for which could only have been gross negligence and widespread incompetence? The only thing “botched,” as the media so often titles it, about that episode was that the Obama administration got caught, but the both the ATF and the head honchos at the Justice Department dismissed the whole thing as a poorly coordinated mistake and assured us that such a thing would never happen again.
Which I guess means House Oversight Chairman is just being a crazed partisan blowhard again, am I right? Nothing to see here, people.
Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.
Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”
“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has been investigating this story and it garnered national attention back in December; the conspicuously weird gist of it is that the ATF has been opening small stores in poor communities across the country, ostensibly a fronts to try and get criminals with guns and drugs off of the streets, but in at least four cities they ended up baiting locals into committing crimes in the process and then arresting them for it — some of whom were mentally disabled.
ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon insists that, “putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well” — which doesn’t explain why they haven’t been fully cooperative with Congress’s attempted investigation. Why are the implications of the operation supposedly so very dire that you can’t even let Congress in on what the real deal is? If there’s no smoking gun here, why don’t you just prove it? Why, why, why is the Obama administration constantly, aggressively insisting that they absolutely have nothing to hide, but then turning around and acting like they very much do?