The Facts on Fast and Furious

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Mark Wilson/Getty)

Investigative reporter Katherine Eban discusses her new piece in Fortune, which tries to explain what really happened in the Fast and Furious "gun-walking" program.

Comments [52]

PJ from NJ from New Jersey


It's hard to even want to respond to what you say when you make birther-type comments about the President living in Indonesia, when you call him a usurper, etc. And if you think this so-called scandal is along the lines of Watergate, Iran Contra, the S&L scandal, etc., then it's pointless to even engage you in a debate.

Jul. 06 2012 06:06 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ Calls'em -

Sure, go ahead and push forward on Fast and Furious (with the the primary motivation being to embarrassed the Obama admin.).

The fact is that when all is said and done, it's not going to be a scandal - like you and other rightist-conspiracists pray for - and won't amount to a hill of beans. Instead Issa - the former car thief/arsonist who has been dying for a meaty scandal against Obama - and all the rest who are stoking this, will themselves be embarrassed.

Good luck with the fallout...

Jul. 05 2012 03:48 PM
Calls'em from At the beach.

@ PJ and others - the leftists can't have it both ways. You wanted all the info on Nixon, all the info on the S&L matter, all the info on the Contra Deal and wanted to impeach that evil-doer Bush for everything. On the other hand, the left wanted to cover up Carter's failure in Iran, wanted to cover up Clinton's multiple improprieties including campaign financing fraud (the sex scandal was the least of Bill's problems so it was dangled before the media to distract from real problems). Now the left wants to defend an incompetent regime that clearly has something to hide and is probably destroying evidence every day. We have fixed processes in this country, despite what 0bama thinks. He didn't learn about America during all those years he spent in Indonesia. But, the process will win out over the usurper. And the doors of justice swing both ways.

Jul. 04 2012 05:56 PM

So we should not focus on an Attorney General in contempt of Congress or a President using his authority to cover up information in an urgent investigation or armed criminals crossing back and forth along the border?

Instead we should believe the real villains are law abiding US citizens exercising their Constitutional rights while fully cooperating with local, state and federal law enforcement?

Even the best arguments in defense of the administration on this matter ring hollow and unconvincing and the more that is known about it the worse it looks.

Jul. 04 2012 01:28 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

My final comments, Jim, are this: without knowing you personally, again, I won’t pin this characterization on you, but conservative politicians, conservative political commentators, and just regular conservative people who supported President GW Bush didn’t raise hell when he did similar but worse things than this. That is why this plainly seems like partisan political nonsense and not a serious attempt to uncover any truth. And even if the so-called truth is uncovered, statements like ‘Obama has blood on his hands’ and the like are outrageously hyperbolic (not that you have personally made such statements)! One man died and a few well armed thugs with the means to purchase unlimited amounts of weapons got a few more weapons. This is a minor issue for the nation.

Jul. 03 2012 02:21 PM


I thank you for the detailed response -- even if you did refuse to take a definitive position. My position, in case you have not guessed, is "Yes". Holder should comply.

I agree with most of what you said, with the exception being that Holder should be able to withhold the release documents because they are related to an ongoing investigation. The reason we have three branches of government is to provide balance and oversight. Clearly there is something wrong if the executive branch can refuse to comply with an information request on the basis that it is currently investigating its own alleged wrong-doing. Should Nixon have been allowed to investigate or pardon himself?

Personally, I think that Issa is a partisan jerk -- but I also think that his personality is not relevant to the situation. If Congress requests information, they should get it. Transparency is necessary for real democracy. The truth matters. Holder could defuse the situation by just handing over the documents. Especially considering Obama's campaign promise of transparency.

Jul. 03 2012 01:54 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

In my experience, there are few things in life for which a one-word answer is appropriate!

President Obama should have been ahead of this issue and began an internal investigation, holding AG Holder or his deputy responsible if necessary. But at this point, with AG Holder being the first cabinet officer to be held in contempt, in an election year, the Obama administration is definitely not going to cooperate. That’s doesn’t make me happy or proud of my President, it’s just the political reality at this point.

If Rep. Issa really wanted the truth, he would have stepped away from the cameras, went to the White House, spoke to the President, and quietly reached an amicable agreement as to how to proceed with an investigation. But of course this couldn’t happen because Rep. Issa wants President Obama out of office and will do whatever is necessary to achieve his goal. He figures that, by holding a high ranking official in contempt, people will assume that this is an important issue to be addressed immediately.

It is not!

All of that being said, if the information request made by Congress in no way places AG Holder in a legal predicament, e.g., if he is not allowed to turn over certain documents because of an ongoing DOJ investigation and/or active program, then I certainly think he is required to turn over documents to Congress. Additionally, this executive privilege nonsense needs to be stopped immediately! Privileged conversation, let say between President Obama and an advisor should be protected under executive privilege unless there is compelling evidence of a conspiracy to commit an illegal act. But conversations between the President and a cabinet official regarding ANYTHING other than their lunch order, certain national security issues, or conversations related to an ongoing covert action should be open to public scrutiny in a slightly staged timeframe.

Probably not the answer you want, but it’s an answer nonetheless.

Jul. 03 2012 01:18 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

Simply brilliant, Calls'em from On the Wall

Jul. 03 2012 12:59 PM


So do you think that Holder should comply with the information request or not? (That is not a trick question and only needs a one word answer). Feel free to follow that response with additional explanation that supports your position.

Jul. 03 2012 12:56 PM
Calls'em from On the Wall

@ PJ - good defense of the regime. LOL. That's about all the regime and the left have - snarky comments and attempted discrediting of opponents. Unfortunately for the Dems - the facts are legion and speak for themselves; and so there will be a landslide on election day as even unemployed Blacks and Latino's come out to render judgement on 4 years of lies, failures, broken promises, bad and bankrupting policies. It's over and Fast & Furious is only one nail of many in the coffin.

Jul. 03 2012 12:51 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

Typical conservative form of argument, Jim. (a) Refute someone's argument by creating a ridiculous and indefensible straw man argument using elements/inferences from their initial argument (b) attack the straw man argument and use it’s ridiculousness to destroy it (c) call the person making the argument a derogatory name (d) ignore responses and/or make fun of the person making the initial argument (e) insert a short, generally three to five word slogan (f) walk away from the argument.

You are neither clever nor unique, Jim.

At least Calls'em from On the wall’s posts are a fun read!

Jul. 03 2012 12:46 PM


That's a really long response for such an insignificant issue. I'm still wondering why transparency has to be so hard.

Jul. 03 2012 12:36 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

Calls'em from On the wall, that's really clever the way you use the zero for the O in Obama. Pure genius! I can see why your posts are so insightful!

Jul. 03 2012 12:32 PM
Calls'em from On the wall.

The 0bama regime is the least transparent admin in the history of the United States.

The reporter only saw what DOJ and the WH wanted her to see - the same game they are playing with Congress.

Few of Brian's listeners understand firearms or firearm issues and regulations. The guns being "sold" and (not) tracked in F&F are "semi-autos" - no matter what they look like. That means one pull of the trigger for each bullet to be fired. The Mexican drug gangs have for years been getting "fully automatic" firearms that have been stolen from Mexican and other Central and South American police forces and armies. When you add this little bit of info you get the context that the gangs didn't need or want these American guns. Firearms have been having regulated in Mexico for many decades. They permit different calibers for civilians (farmers, hunters - there is no 2nd Amend in what was an oligarch dictatorship for most of the 20th Century) and military and the police. Because of this there are actually historical statistics showing previous low numbers of firearms coming into Mexico from the US.

Again, this was a sleazy scheme by the WH to create a problem where none existed and now the WH & DOJ have American blood on their hands. They are not walking away from this one. People in the regime will be criminally prosecuted before this affair is over.

Jul. 03 2012 12:27 PM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

Nice try Jim! Cut and paste all you want, I stand by my ACTUAL post.

“If someone believe (sic) in open government, they are an idiot and/or a bigot?” I never said that and you know it! Yet another example of the feeble mind relying on inference NOT fact. My point has nothing to do with open government or transparency, Jim. Don’t just read what people post, please try to comprehend as well.

My point has to do with perspective, for which you and many other posters seem to have none. This is a minor issue plain and simple. Whether President Obama or President Romney was in the White House when this happened, it would have still been a minor issue.

“Why are you so willing to remain ignorant of the truth (which may vindicate Holder and Obama) and why does the concept of transparency (a cornerstone of Obama's campaign) make you so mad?”

Ignorant of what truth? Again, comprehend Jim. My post indicates the fact that I believe, for all of the reasons I mentioned, that getting at the truth is going to be virtually impossible. One of my points is that because of the factors at play, this investigation by Congress is going to amount to nothing and will continue to distract the American people from more significant issues.

I’m not saying Rep. Issa can’t continue with an investigation. Hell, if I was President Obama I would have called Rep. Issa to the White House and proposed an internal investigation with Congressional oversight and scrutiny. But holding AG Holder in contempt over this is obviously the actions of a group of politically motivated people hell bent on making President Obama a one-term president and turning every ‘mistake’ into Watergate. And Jim, people like you eat it up for some of the reasons I mentioned before. I won’t pin one of those on you because I don’t know you. I was speaking in general terms about the anti-Obama crowd, and unlike you (and most conservatives) did not personally attack an individual whom I know nothing about.

To reiterate for all the non-comprenders, my point is that this is an insignificant issue! Don’t use this minor event as an excuse to morph President Obama into something you wish him to be or fear he is.

Jul. 03 2012 12:18 PM
gary from queens


I find that I need to counter false information on your show, especially when absent of counterpoint in the form of guests on your show. and on this issue, there's been no counterpoint to the DoJ position.

I stay within the blog softwares limit, obviously. But is it your wish to see mindless one line sound bites that all the networks and talk radio shows prefer? Or do you prefer some level of depth by listeners to your show?

I await your announcement on that.

Jul. 03 2012 12:13 PM
gary from queens

Dear Brian,

I feel you were had by a flim flam artist. Or Bull---t artist?

Eban had nothing. I listened to the show just to make sure i was right.

She didnt even describe what the scandal actually is about.

It is not about straw purchasers, or capturing and arresting them. STRAW PURCHASING IS LEGAL!! Yet most of her article was about that.

Nor was it about gun walking. That's old stuff. We know it occurred.

It is about an (1) operation of gun walking, (2) whose idea NOT TO TRACK THE GUNS, may or may not have originated in the local AZ ATF office, (3) but that being a special OCDETF operation, had to have been vetted from the beginning by Holder or at least his number 2 at Main Justice in D.C. at least a year before Terry's killing.

The aim of Bush's Wide Receiver was to arrest gun smugglers (carrying straw purchases or any purchased guns over the border is a crime) and drug lords in mexican cartels who used the guns to kill people.

Incredibly, none of the above is even mentioned by Eban.

In your interview, she even disparaged "Congressional testimony"----which is under oath. Against what? Her unnamed sources?!

Another omission----Holder is blocking the release of the wiretap applications that his office had to have made, and therefore had to have known the minute details of the operation, let alone an operation not having electronic tracking or surveillence of contraband!!

OK Brian? It was not about "seizing guns" per se. It was not about arresting "straw purchasing" per se.

And you would know this if you bothered to have ONE person for counterpoint on this matter.

Jul. 03 2012 11:55 AM


You said: "While I would like to know what actually happened...there is a ton of misinformation out may be an idiot or you may just hate President Obama...Get over it!"

Really? If someone believe in open government, they are an idiot and/or a bigot? Why are you so willing to remain ignorant of the truth (which may vindicate Holder and Obama) and why does the concept of transparency (a cornerstone of Obama's campaign) make you so mad?

Jul. 03 2012 11:49 AM
Leo from queens

Everyone is missing the point and I get annoyed even with good journalists doing an excellent job such as this.. WHY don't we ask the obvious question of why we are ignoring the elephant in the room - Americans and American government officials have setup a system that allows criminal organizations such as the Mexican drug cartels to purchase all sorts of weapons to conduct their crime and intimidate goverment officials and we have tons of drugs coming in and 10's of millions of dollars being laundered and going south yet NO ONE HAS A PROBLEM WITH THAT.. Is it because those in power here, including the banks, the gun manufacturers and politicians and government officials at every level (and I'm not saying every is involved in this!)are benefitting financially from this at the expense of our society?

Jul. 03 2012 11:46 AM
Call's em from On the wall.

Brian – it all makes no sense. Someone at DOJ and the WH is hiding something and probably destroying key evidence even as we speak. Brian, if you really believe in the “context” that WNYC always advertises, you need to air the other side of the story and have someone from Darryl Issa’s office or committee on the air to refute the propaganda that Congresswoman Maloney and this “reporter” have spewed.

My final issue is why Fortune would Fortune runs such a blatantly apologetic and obfuscating article and then when I went to its web site I saw the answer – it is part of CNN – one of the networks that carry water for the 0bama regime. CNN is in the tank and needs to generate some interest. Fox out draws all the liberal networks in every demographic and in every time slot by 2 to 8 to one. People still recognize the truth when they hear it. Brian, you should tell it again, too. You used to be the best of the best. Have the propagandists on, but then have folks from the other side and also professors who are hopefully in the middle looking at issues objectively.

Jul. 03 2012 11:41 AM
PJ from NJ from New Jersey

This is such a distraction from the real problems facing our nation! Every single person arguing on this forum, discussing this at their 4th of July BBQs, etc., are allowing a minor federal law enforcement screw up to become some sort of national crisis. There were certainly more egregious errors made by federal law enforcement under both President Clinton and President GW Bush (think Waco and warrantless domestic wiretaps to name a few).

While I would like to know what actually happened, and while I feel compassion for the family members of the slain border patrol agent and concern for all Americans who live along the border with that failed state called Mexico, there is a ton of misinformation out there, adherence to inference instead of facts, a strong dose of CYA from disgruntled ATF officers who may or may not be directly responsible for ‘walking’ guns themselves, political missteps by the White House, political overreaching by Representative Issa and Congress, and an overall overtly politicized argument made by virtually everyone who has an opinion on this subject.

The only way this issue will be resolved is if President Obama is defeated and therefore AG Holder is no longer AG. If that doesn’t happen, this ridiculousness will likely run into his second term, adding further distraction from important issues and a continued adherence to false controversy.

And as a related observation - I'm never quite prepared for the manner in which conservatives (and modern Americans in general) set their hair on fire for, in the grand scheme of things, insignificant matters (the ban on Big Gulps comes to mind!), but allow the most significant problems to simply fade into the background.

What really happened here? One man was killed and a few extra weapons got into the hands of drug cartels that have hundreds, probably thousands of weapons as it is and plenty of money to buy more. If you think this is such a major event in modern American history that it required Congress to hold the AG in contempt, then you are, quite simply, an idiot! Well, you may be an idiot or you may just hate President Obama because you think he’s a socialist, communist, anti-Christ, Muslim, Nazi, atheist, fascist, foreign-born usurper, disgruntled black man and therefore want anything that goes wrong during his term to be equivalent to the greatest political scandals in American history (Teapot Dome, Watergate, Iran Contra, Keating Five).

Get over it!

Jul. 03 2012 11:37 AM
Calls'em from On the wall.

Bravo, bravo – author, author! I can now die happy, because never in my life have a heard a piece of political theatre and propaganda that Stalin, Mao and even Pol Pot’s ministers of fear and “information would be proud of. Bravo.

So what we have from this apologist is: (1) she only looked at the handful of docs DOJ wanted Congress to see – which is the problem from day one – what are DOJ & the WH hiding? Where are the rest of the documents; and what do they show? “What did the President know and when did he know it?” (2) The reporter seems to be blaming lower level managers – which is what bad leaders do when their ship is sinking. I thought liberals like whistle blowers, no? Daniel Ellsberg would like these guys, wouldn’t he? Clearly there are more whistle blowers and other feeding intel to Congress. This story is bigger than Watergate – an American cop was murdered and hundreds of Mexicans have died because of the 0bama regime’s incompetence and playing “gun” politics. (3) The reporter minimizes the fact that Holder and the regime are acting as if they are hiding something important. She wants us to believe that these two brilliant constitutional lawyers – 0bama & Holder made a simple misstatement and that is that. BTW – I believe that Jarrett, Axelrod and others will be implicated in this before it is over. How can two such brilliant attorneys have been so foolish, been mislead or misspoken? (4) The reporter ignores the basic question of any news story – the “why” of what happened, though Congressman Maloney tipped the regime’s hand and that is Fast & Furious was created and implemented by the WH to prove something that didn’t exist and that is that many guns flow from the US to Mexican drug gangs. This is all about gun control and the President wanting an excuse to; by executive order restrict gun sales on the border to set a precedent to restrict gun sales everywhere. Since the Dems, even Chuck Schumer (a gun owner himself) have been silenced by both the US Supreme Court and the voters (since 1994); the President, as he has in other policy areas, tried to go around Congress. (5) The reporter ignored the “gun” facts and that is – the drug gangs get military grade arms that have been stolen from Mexican and other south and Central American countries’ police forces and armies. Why would a drug dealer want to pay for a semi-auto rifle from America when he gets stolen fully auto machine guns from corrupt operatives in his own country for “free?”

Jul. 03 2012 11:36 AM


We will likely never know the whole truth about what happened, or who said what when -- although a truly transparent government would certainly help. Can someone really buy 50 AK-47s (they are not made in the US, by the way) with no accountability? If so, I would be the first to support additional regulations (I also support the right for individuals to arm themselves and defend their property). But one thing that I cannot support, is government agencies and officials denying the citizens whom they serve a full accounting of their actions. To me, that is the real issue here. If the ATF were truly just trying to do their best to stop guns from flowing to criminals, then Holder should have no need to ask for executive privilege. The truth should always matter.

Jul. 03 2012 11:33 AM
Jeremy from New Jersey

Thanks for the link. I think what the guest was arguing was that internal ATF records shed light on what was really happening, and offer a perspective that gun merchants couldn't have seen from the way ATF spoke to them. Namely, internally, ATF wanted to stop the sales, but justice department prosecutors said they couldn't. There was no legal basis, according to prosecutors, to arrest or seize anything, or even stop the sales. So instead ATF went to plan b, which was to let the sales happen (they had no alternative legally) and track the guns afterwards. So from the point of view of merchants, ATF was saying, "Yeah, sell dozens of assault rifles to straw purchasers, we got this one covered," and that sounds really shady. But according to Ms. Eban, it wasn't what it seemed. I think that's the main point- you need to know the inside story she documented in order to understand why and how the people on the ground experienced what they did.

Jul. 03 2012 11:15 AM


See the following CBS article. Jump to the section "How Did Fast And Furious Start?" if you are in a hurry.

Jul. 03 2012 11:08 AM
Jeremy from New Jersey

@The Truth from Becky

Jul. 03 2012 11:04 AM
The Truth from Becky

Gary are you seriously trying to make a case "for" WR?

Jul. 03 2012 11:04 AM
The Truth from Becky

Jeremy, you are misinformed.

Jul. 03 2012 11:02 AM
Jeremy from New Jersey

I'm not sure what your sources are (not questioning they exist, I just don't know), but this article contradicts a lot of the facts that have already been put out on this case, so it makes statements like those you refer to more difficult to assess. It's also important not to jump to conclusions- if some merchants objected to ATF pressure (let's assume both parts of that statement are true) what proportion of guns were sold by them? If there are over 850 merchants in that area, as the guest stated, and 3 of them objected, is that the same as if all or most of the dealers objected?

Jul. 03 2012 11:02 AM
edie from Manhattan

For the record, the guns involved in the fast and furious controversy are only a miniscule portion ( about 3%) of the guns that pass from the US to Mexico where tens of thousands of Mexicans have been killed in the past 5 years as well as at least five other Americans.

Jul. 03 2012 10:59 AM
Jeremy from New Jersey

I think we might be talking past each other, so let's be clear. The conspiracy part is that there was a SETUP by Obama to intentionally create gun violence in order to create public outcry in order to create cover for him to come down hard on gun laws. If Democrats try to push gun laws now, that doesn't make the conspiracy true. That was my point- the inversion part here is that in fact lax gun laws created the problem, not lack of federal enforcement. And those screaming to block gun laws are the perpetrators, not those seeking to pass those laws.

Jul. 03 2012 10:56 AM
Gilgamesh from Bayside

FYI Mark:
You were listening to "On Point with Tom Ashbrook." (That's a WBUR show that NPR carries not Lenny.
WNYC is it's own entity that carries NPR shows but I get your point...

Jul. 03 2012 10:46 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

John from Office, without commenting upon the validity of Gary's comments (I am unable to do so, but that is irrelevant), they SEEM substantive and well thought out.

The fact that his comments are long is not a reason to dismiss them or him. He has much information to impart, and some thoughts can only be compressed so much.

This is an important and obviously complicated subject, and I'd much rather welcome thoughtful, detailed comments than the usual narrow-minded, deaf, ranting that passes on most blogs for intelligent exchanges.

Jul. 03 2012 10:42 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Correction: I meant the Bureau of ATF-- not AFT.

Jul. 03 2012 10:38 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

To Brian Lehrer's Producer:
This journalist was interviewed last night on Leonard Lopate. His interview was much better, included an attorney from Senator Grassley's office, and took questions from caller. I learned far more about Fast and Furious, the flow of guns, the problems in the Arizona branch of the AFT, and the politics involved, even though that wasn't the point of the journalist's article.

I don't object to this issue being aired again; however, it represents a problem on NPR: the circulation of the same guests, authors, musicians, etc. across the circuit. The listener doesn't need to hear the material over again-- and one's time is better spent reading the Fortune article in this case. And in the age of podcasts, one doesn't need to be tuned in at a particular time to hear about an issue/investigation.

Jul. 03 2012 10:36 AM


Gun merchants have gone on record as stating that they did not want to sell these guns, but that the ATF coerced them. So, no -- all of these guns would not have been sold without ATF ordering it to happen.

Jul. 03 2012 10:34 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well Jeremy - based on that Maloney clip, those "right-wing conspiracy theorists", may have a point after all.

Jul. 03 2012 10:33 AM
telegram sam from Staten Island

Why am I having such a hard time following what she's saying? Seems like Brian asks her a question to clarify and she goes off on another tangent. I guess I'll have to read the article.

Jul. 03 2012 10:30 AM
GW from Queens

Talk about suspicious statements:

this guy on the thread says
"When Mexico was notified:
WR: When arms were purchased & smugglers crossed border.
FF: Not told the program even existed.

Does he expect me to believe that the Mexican Gov completely lost all memory of the program that was that they were involved in was STILL going ON? OH they are that STUPID?
This is not a south park mexican characature where Mexicans are depicted as so stupid and lazy that they forget what they were just doing and had been done. SO despite you hogging this thread I just can't accept your laboriously set up response. ( I think the gun apologists that have appeared so suddenly on this thread were sitting and waiting to flood us with their propaganda) How else could such a long response be written so fast and furious

Jul. 03 2012 10:29 AM
Jeremy from New Jersey

Anyone familiar with the right wing conspiracy theory (supported by members of congress as well as others) that the whole purpose of this gun-walking scheme was to create public outcry over guns, leading to President Obama having the opportunity to push stronger gun control laws? Well, if this article is accurate, then the level of perversion of that theory is mind-boggling. Basically, Arizona gun laws that are super permissive allowed all this to happen when the feds WERE TRYING to go after the criminals- exactly the opposite of what the wingnuts claim about gun-walking as a setup. The NRA is a very, very shady and frankly sinister organization...

Jul. 03 2012 10:28 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

LOL, she is too much of an Obama/Holder apologist evn for Brian.

Jul. 03 2012 10:27 AM
Bassett from Chappaqua

I believe that the reason that the Justice Department and the administration handled this in such a clutzy manner is because they are afraid of the NRA.

Jul. 03 2012 10:24 AM
MC from Manhattan

Gun nuts wil go to any extent to rationalize their misinterpretation of the second amendment. Lets look at what the amendment says "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

From the first sentence the premise and intent is established the right to bear arms is within the context of being part of a "A well regulated militia, ".
Paranoid idiots running around buying automatic weapons are not part of "A well regulated militia" and thus are not "necessary to the security of a free state", there fore the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. does not apply to any one not part of a WELL REGULATED MILITIA. You can try to BELIEVE and have FAITH in an unlimited right to own any arm without the organization and regulation of the state but the constitution is the constitution, and the wording is clear.
As for safety ... ill take manhattan over Phoenix any day. As for Fast and furious, another Bush era cancer The republicans have no legitimacy when it comes to criticizing the administration any more than all those Bush era severe terrorist threat warnings before the elections in 2004 were indications of a true terrorist threat.

Jul. 03 2012 10:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe it was explained & I missed it--what does "going up on a wire" mean?

Jul. 03 2012 10:20 AM

seems liem Gary has some interesting needs to be followed up on. If these numbers are true...I would be surprsied that the Bush admin was more organized.

Jul. 03 2012 10:20 AM

we are awesome

Jul. 03 2012 10:17 AM

Amazing. Define "gun walking" in a highly restrictive legalese manner, then say it never happened because your subjective interpretation of the facts does not fit your stilted definition of gun walking. Ignore the thousands of guns intentionally sold to criminals, the untold number of unrecovered guns, and the dead border agent. That is some really hard-hitting investigative reporting... not.

Jul. 03 2012 10:16 AM
Sunshar from AZ - MS in SW

I live in AZ, the governor, etc constantly claim Feds aren't doing enough, even with open carry (of guns), sending a Maricopa Cty delegation to Hawaii to prove our President's birth, a "private" fence along the border, the claim of drug dealers causing the death of 5 in the desert (it turned out to be a tragic murder-suicide). If this article is even mostly true, the AZ government needs to rethink their stories.

Jul. 03 2012 10:14 AM
john from office

Gary, this is a space for comments, not your private blog.

Jul. 03 2012 09:19 AM
gary from queens

The main Democrat talking point to defend Obama's debacle----Fast & Furious----is to claim that had begun under Pres. Bush. But in fact, the program they're referring to that was run during Bush's administration was called "Wide Reciever", and it had been discontinued 2 years before Obama took office.

Eban's article portrays Republicans as pursuing petty political ends throughout her article, yet she ignores the false narrative of apologists for DoJ and Holder.

Here are the stark differences between Bush's Wide Receiver (WR) and Obama's Fast & Furious (FF):

When program was active:
WR: 2005 to 2007
FF: 2009 to 2011

Number of guns involved:
WR: 400
FF: 2,000


Electronic tracking
WR: RFID trackers installed in guns.
FF: No electronic tracking.

WR: Actively tracked by airborn surveillance.
FF: No active surveillance of any kind.

WR: Straw purchases recorded & surveilled
FF: No recording or surveillance of straw purchasers

Further Explanation: The local ATF field agents were ordered not to follow the straw purchasers. Federal agents were not allowed to interdict the guns and they even ran interference for the smugglers with local law enforcement on multiple occasions to make sure those guns made it across the border.

When Mexico was notified:
WR: When arms were purchased & smugglers crossed border.
FF: Not told the program even existed.

Results of the operation:
WR: 1,400 felony arrests & identification of cartel operators.
FF: No arrests were made.

Reason operation was discontinued:
WR: When smugglers discovered & began disabling RFID tracking devices.
FF: Over 200 Mexicans + two US federal agents killed by the guns.

Agencies involved:
WR: DoJ and Arizona-local ATF.
FF: 4 federal agencies & 10 cities in five states.

Purpose of operation:
WR: Identify & prosecute gun smugglers & drug cartels.
FF: Build case against 2nd Amendment & American gun dealers.

Further Explanation: Following the failure of the assault weapons ban in Congress, the Administration realized that gun mayhem was necessary to outrage Americans to justify future legislative efforts. HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

First, just ask yourself what possible reason could there be for making no attempt to trace the guns for the two years this operation was in effect? In every state and federal gun and drug sting operation since they were first tried in the US, it has always been of prime importance to trace the contraband. Tracking it, to ultimately retain possession of it, was essential for successful prosecutions, and of course to keep these dangerous items off the streets.

Jul. 03 2012 06:51 AM
Gary from queens

Eban casually discusses wiretaps in her article without mentioning that federal wiretap law mandates that the application to the court describe the investigative tactics that have been used in the investigation and explain why those tactics cannot achieve the investigation's objectives without wiretapping.

If the Fast and Furious wiretap applications complied with federal law, they must have described the gunwalking operation in great detail. These applications cannot be submitted to a federal judge until they have been approved by Main Justice in D.C.

Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, wrote that this gunwalking information was contained in applications the Justice Department made to the court for wiretapping authorization beginning no later than March 2010 (i.e., over eight months before Agent Terry was killed). Readers of Ordered Liberty will not be surprised to hear this.


Jul. 03 2012 06:44 AM
gary from queens

Eban's laborious piece in Fortune reduces FF operation and foulup to personal squables, with Dave Voth as the good guy and his colleagues as pro gun nuts, and evil republicans looking to make political hay.

The problem is that there's no substance her article "The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal", the the subtitle "the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels."

Forget the fact that she doesnt prove that. the article is full of holes and contradictions. start with the straw man that straw purchases are hard to prosecute. That complaint goes on for pages. Duhh, that's because the law protect our second amendment rights. Rather, the operation was supposedly to identify gun smugglers and Mexican cartel members and build cases against THEM. Not Americans who buy guns legally.

She refers to U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, as "an Obama appointee". He was actually a political contributor to Obama and worked to increase anti gun laws when he worked for Arizona Gov. Napolitano.

There a vast amounts of assertions unattributed. It's anyone's guess where Eban learned half the stuff she wrote as "fact."

She writes that "Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands." But the fact----as even Eban notes later----was that there was no surveillance of straw purchasers. Rather, they recorded some purchases days AFTER purchases were made, by looking at the store purchase records----in which false entries were common.

Jul. 03 2012 06:26 AM

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