Congressional Fast and Furious Report Released In Advance To Chosen Few

Congressional Fast and Furious Report Released In Advance To Chosen Few

USA –-( The first of a three-part joint staff report on the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” investigation prepared for House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Charles Grassley was issued today in Washington. D.C.

“This report chronicles the fundamentally flawed firearms trafficking case from the perspective of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” the preface states. “Part two will look at the devastating failure of supervision and leadership by officials at Justice Department headquarters, principally within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and within the Criminal Division. Part three will address the unprecedented obstruction of the investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the Attorney General himself.”

Providing an overview of Fast and Furious from inception through to the program’s termination, the report points a “culpability” finger at five Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials, beginning with the role played by Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell, and including findings pertaining to the actions of Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, Assistant Director for Field Operations Mark Chait, Deputy Director William Hoover, and Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson.

Three appendices present “Exhibits,” “Correspondence,” and a rebuttal to a Fortune article critical of the investigation and whistleblowers, and supportive of the principals behind the operation.

A point of concern was sent last night by this correspondent to Chairman Issa and various staffers as to why an advance copy was provided to The Los Angeles Times, which filed an exclusive report yesterday. Further investigation indicated other “Authorized Journalist” news outlets had been given the document as well, and it appears there was an embargo on posting the actual report until this morning, meaning those select reporters were able to file their stories at first light ahead of the pack. Those reports are out there already influencing public perception, while “unauthorized journalists” not so favored are playing catch-up just to reach limited niche readerships.

The concern was that first Senator Grassley and then Rep. Issa was initially urged to open the investigation by Gun Rights Examiner and citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh of the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog, and much further information has been provided to their staffs throughout the course of the investigations. Additionally, pressure from respective readerships did much to help the story gain wider notice, particularly in the early days before “mainstream media” would touch it. That dynamic is still occurring, and to ignore representatives of new media, especially the ones who dragged this story to their doorstep, in favor of the old does not serve to support an informed citizenry, particularly noting how many outlets have either continually ignored the story or wrote it up with a spin designed to derail the investigation and advance an administration and “gun control”-promoting agenda.

Now that the first report names five managers deemed responsible for allowing the operation to happen, it remains to be seen what Issa and company will do about it. This column has reported before on the potential to apply International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Kingpin Act to seek criminal charges, and Issa himself indicated “prosecutions” was a possibility in a rare occurrence where he deemed groundbreaking bloggers worthy of being treated like the journalists so many have proven to be.

While it’s probably not realistic to expect movement in the direction of filing charges until all three parts of the report have been released, meaning after the release of the highly-anticipated Office of Inspector General report and, per this part one report, “after the Justice Department fulfills its obligations to cooperate with the Congress and produce documents” (meaning “never”?), pressuring the five individuals identified as primarily responsible is not only a legitimate legal strategy the government uses all the time on ordinary citizens, it’s likely the only way any of them can be induced to fully spill what they know about how high up in the administration responsibility for the initiation, implementation, and subsequent cover-up really goes.

If that does not ultimately happen, many demanding justice will no doubt conclude the game has been rigged, and that those crying “politics” have had a point.

Update Note: When this column was filed, the report was not yet posted to the Congressional investigation site. It has since been posted along with the appendices at this link.

About David Codrea

David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at