U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Yesterday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) notified us that it intends to destroy the firearms associated with the botched Operation Fast and Furious,” Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, wrote to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach on Dec. 6. “I strongly urge you to reconsider this decision and request that you preserve this evidence.”
The reasons for Jordan’s letter should be self-evident, but he nonetheless spells them out—not so much for Dettelbach, who knows and is plotting this move because of them – but for the benefit of interested gun owners and for other Americans with open minds still interested in holding accountable those government actors responsible for overseeing a criminally negligent (at best) operation that has resulted in untold deaths to date.
That ongoing legal actions require evidence to be preserved and that ATF, the agency that stonewalled investigations and retaliated against whistleblowers now seeks to be the agent of its destruction, is a good circumstantial indicator that its priority remains one of covering up.
Jordan is lauded as “an honorable man — a truly pro-gun congressman — who has dedicated his life to protecting our rights and draining the venomous swamp in Washington,” by the “No Compromise” Gun Owners of America. That acknowledged, as the surviving member of the citizen journalist duo that “broke” the Fast and Furious story and ushered it through to wider media notice and whistleblower protection from the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Judiciary Committees, I have to take exception with a common (and deliberate, by many) misassumption he repeats in his opening sentence:
“[B]otched Operation Fast and Furious…”
It was only “botched” if you believe the excuse-makers. There was no “sting” about it. To characterize this evilly cynical and lethal criminal collusion as such is beyond absurd. You don’t let thousands of guns escape into the wild, totally losing control of them, and knowing they will be found at crime scenes (next to bodies) and traced back to U.S. gun stores, and then think that following a trail between a small-level buyer and a smaller-level user is going to lead you to a cartel kingpin. Besides, once the guns crossed the border, there was no attempt to follow any trail – in fact, Mexican authorities were purposely kept in the dark, and ATF’s Mexican attaché was not allowed to inform them, leading to “screaming matches” with management.
Yet “botched gun sting” has been the narrative parroted by the media and politicians, including far too many Republicans who should know better. To illustrate how ridiculous it is to believe it, colleague Kurt Hofmann came up with what I believe to be a brilliantly absurd comparison that paraphrased the “business plan” explained by the cartoon South Park’s Underpants Gnomes:
Phase 1: Encourage gun dealers (and sometimes pay them, as confidential informants) to sell guns to known traffickers.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Humbly accept plaudits as Mexican drug cartel comes crashing down.
As for “botched,” the late conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh said it best:
“The program backfired because it was discovered.”
Jordan’s letter to Dettelbach should be an effective warning, but if it will prove to be a deterrent remains to be seen. When Republicans were in control of both the House and the Senate, they made great political hay over “Project Gunwalker” hearings, but aside from a contempt of Congress charge against then-Attorney General Eric Holder that went nowhere, they failed to play hardball and hold key players legally accountable. Even Donald Trump just used it to score political points and then moved on to other self-interests.
There’s no reason Dettelbach, knowing he has the full backing of Joe Biden, the Merrick Garland DOJ, and the Chuck Schumer Senate has to fear any personal repercussions if he destroys evidence that could have ended up being tied to additional crimes. And it’s nonetheless part of a historical record that justice demands be preserved until all the questions have been answered.
That will never happen if they’re not only never asked, but if the questioners don’t have the background understanding to know what to ask.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.