By Jeff Knox
Manassas, VA –-(Ammoland.com)- The stonewalling and obfuscation from the Obama administration continues as information about ill-conceived, and apparently politically motivated, “gunwalking” operations, and the subsequent cover-up of those programs, slowly comes to light.
The latest bit of stonewalling comes directly from the White House where the Obama administration has refused to make available former National Security Advisor Kevin O’Reilly to testify before the committee investigating the matter.
Even though his attorneys had already agreed to O’Reilly testifying over the phone, the White House response was that O’Reilly is not available because he is in Iraq.
O’Reilly maintained a personal relationship with Phoenix ATF chief Bill Newell and was briefed by Newell regarding Fast & Furious. Emails indicate that O’Reilly was briefing others in the White House and investigators would like to know who. Apparently the White House doesn’t want that information shared.
This White House dodge takes on an even more pungent odor when it is remembered that US Attorney for Arizona, Patrick Cunningham, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before Issa’s committee.
Meanwhile, the Senate has approved Michael E. Horowitz as the new IG for the DOJ. This is particularly troubling because Horowitz is a close personal friend to Lanny Breuer, Director of the DOJ Criminal Investigations Division and, thus far, the highest level DOJ officer directly implicated in the F&F scandal. The IG’s office has supposedly been conducting its own investigation of Fast & Furious and the DOJ points to that “ongoing investigation” as the reason they can’t talk about F&F. But even though Breuer has admitted to knowing about F&F, and its failed predecessor Operation Wide Receiver, he has reportedly never been interviewed by IG investigators. It should also be reiterated that while Wide Receiver was a botched attempt to track guns into Mexico, Fast & Furious had no tracking component and Mexican authorities didn’t even know it was going on. The only tracking in the F&F plan was to watch for the guns to turn up at Mexican crime scenes.
That is not a “botched sting operation,” that is the height of arrogance and blatant disregard for human life.
One of the most startling developments in the case has been the recent revelation that two brothers, Eduardo and Jesus A. Miramontes-Varela, reputed cartel killers at the top of ATF’s suspects list, were actually working for the FBI. The brothers are believed to have fronted around $250,000 to purchase and smuggle weapons, and it’s quite possible that a good bit of that money came from the FBI. Even though the FBI knew the brothers were targets in the ATF investigation, they neglected to tell ATF of their “protected” Confidential Informant status.
Another targeted “ringleader” of the F&F operation, and the highest level person indicted out of the investigation, was 24-year old Manuel Celis-Acosta who was apparently the operational manager of the traffickers. He was caught crossing the border with ammunition hidden in his spare tire in May of 2010 – more than 6 months before Brian Terry’s murder – but even though he was a chief suspect, caught with the goods, he was released by ATF on a promise of future cooperation.
He reportedly continued running his weapons trafficking ring and never followed through on any of his promises to cooperate. He is still at large.
Fast & Furious began in November 2009 and was shut down the day after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder on December 15, 2010. The congressional and IG investigations have been ongoing for over a year, since blogger Mike Vanderboegh and columnist David Codrea brought attention to the connection between Terry’s murder and F&F guns recovered at the scene and helped connect Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley with ATF agents willing to blow the whistle. Since then those agents have faced subtle and not so subtle retribution from their agency, but IG investigators have apparently made no effort to interview them.
In 1972 a group of over-zealous Nixon supporters played cloak-and-dagger spy games against their Democrat rivals and a foolish President Nixon tried to sweep the matter under a rug. No one died. The President resigned and numerous people went to prison.
In 2010 agents operating on behalf of the US government illegally funneled thousands of guns into the hands of brutal Mexican drug gangs. Those guns were subsequently used in hundreds of violent crimes (so far) including the murders of at least two US law enforcement officers. The President and Attorney General have been diligently working to cover-up this fiasco and protect their friends, subordinates, and each other from any consequences in this matter. The IG investigation is obviously nothing more than a smokescreen, and Eric Holder and the White House have clearly hunkered down in their bunkers while actively stonewalling congressional investigators.
It’s time for the stonewall to come down, the truth to be revealed, and those responsible for Fast & Furious, and its cover-up, to pay a price for their arrogance, indifference to innocent life, and violation of their oaths to uphold the Constitution.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org