His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Most people would have provided a source to go with their opening statements, but that also would imply they had any intention of informed discussion. Here's a link
to what he's directly talking about..
Thanks, I was thinking that maybe Gbaji accidentally made a thread instead of a reply or something since his post is such a vague and standard Gbaji post (not knowing about the issue or who Mr Holder is) that it seemed like it could have applied to any number of topics Gbaji cares to ramble about.
Nah. Sorry about that (and thanks to lolgaxe for providing a link). I had a page all loaded up and ready, and then just plain forgot to link it when writing the OP.
The issue is that the ATF (which operates under the Justice Department) ran a sting operation where they worked with local gun store owners in the SW to deliberately sell guns to illegal buyers. But instead of just catching the buyers or middlemen (which previous operations had done), they were supposedly going to track the guns and see where they went and then catch someone bigger up the stream. But what happened is that the guys who were setting up the selling part of it assumed that some other group of agents were going to be tracking the guns, but it appears that no one actually did. Thus, the guns "walked" across the border, into Mexico, ended out in the hands of drug cartel guys and resulted in increased gun violence on the border (remember that happening back in 2009/2010?).
This eventually lead to a Border Patrol agent being shot and killed by one of the guns that the ATF had allowed to walk (or at least one or more of those guns were at the scene, I'm don't remember if he was actually shot by one of them). At that point, it appears that there may have been a cover up of the operation once someone realized that the serial numbers on those guns matched those used in the operation. Or at least an attempt to do so. However, a couple of ATF agents got together and compared stories and realized that this wasn't just some fluke mistake, but that apparently no one involved in said operation was actually involved in the tracking part of it (some of this is speculation of course, since we still don't know all the facts). But they blew the whistle on the operation and brought it to the attention of the media and the House Oversite Committee (which has... um... oversite on such things).
The committee has attempted to get an answer about this since that happened, but the Justice Department originally claimed that it knew nothing about it. Then they admitted that they heard about it, but only after the fact. Then they started handing over documents consisting of blanked out pages. All very unusual for an executive branch agency when reporting to an oversite committee. The more the committee has dug, the more stonewalling they've run into. Culminating in todays vote to find Holder in contempt of Congress.
What's really strange is Obama using executive privilege though. That's only something that can be used with documents directly related to actions taken by the president. Very unusual for something that supposedly never even reached federal level attention. Lots of people have speculated that Obama might do something like this, but that it would be a bad idea since it effectively admits that this whole mess involved the office of the President in the first place. Up until now, it's been downplayed as a minor snafu at a low level. It's kind of a risky move since while it may protect the documents in question, it now puts the President right in the middle of it.
Oh. And as a bit of side fun, there's been some theorizing about *why* the operation went down the way it did. Obviously, the first answer would be incompetence, perhaps followed up by a foolish, but otherwise not terribly sinister attempt to cover up the mistake. Another theory though is that this was the intent of the operation from the beginning. They told the agents setting up the selling part of the operation that the guns would be tracked as cover, but never did so. The plan was to increase the statistics on illegal guns sold in the US that ended out in the hands of criminals along the border. After all, absent those agents blowing the whistle on this, since the guns were not sold by ATF agents directly, but laundered through local gun shops, the DOJ could just have included them in some data used to general gun crime statistics and none would be the wiser.
I'm not sure how much I buy that theory, but it has the interesting quality of actually explaining every single thing that's happened. The poor construction of the operation. The decision to have gun stores act as the sellers. Hell. You could even tie in trips and statements Obama made at the time about the problem of gun violence on the border. Certainly, Obama's decision to use executive privilege today only gives fuel to that conspiracy theory. Why do that unless there was some coordination between his office and this operation? You can certainly argue that just a regional level coverup within a sub-organization of the DOJ should not justify such an action.
Dunno. I find it to be an interesting story. One that has unfortunately been ignored in most of the media, but which I suspect might have just gotten a bit bigger. Edited, Jun 20th 2012 3:47pm by gbaji