Last Friday night, the Justice Department pulled the time-honored tactic of the “Friday night document dump.” This is a standard ploy of the scandal-wracked; release a huge amount of documents on a Friday afternoon, containing some really incrimating stuff about the Fast and Furious scandal, and hope it gets lost in the rush to the weekend.
But, as several folks have noted, this doesn’t work too much these days. The 24-hour news cycle doesn’t really take weekends off, and the interwebs are just filled with bloggers and activists just itching to make their mark — so there’s a ton of people willing — nay, eager — to dive in and dig through the haystack to find the needles.
So, just what did we learn? In one sense, a great deal. We learned that all those indignant denials that came out so — if you’ll pardon the expression — fast and furious were, in fact, utter bullshit, self-serving evasions, deceptions, and out-and-out lies.We learned that a now-former Justice Department official deliberately lied to smear and discredit a whistleblower.
This is added to what we already knew — that the ATF set up an operation where it not only allowed, but aided and abetted Mexican drug cartels to make what should have been illegal gun purchases, and then made certain those weapons were successfully taken across the border into Mexico. (I initially wrote “smuggled,” but it’s hardly smuggling when the government is actively helping you get your goods across the border.) That at least 2,000 weapons were used in this operation. That these weapons were used to kill at least a couple of hundred innocent Mexicans, and almost certainly killed a US Border Patrol Agent. That at no point did the US government get the permission of the Mexican government to carry out this operation on their turf, let alone tell them “by the way, we’re giving a couple thousand weapons to the drug cartels you’re at war with.” We even know a bit more of the circumstances under which Agent Brian Terry was killed — one Mexican gang was smuggling drugs into the US, another gang sent its thugs to rob the smugglers. The Justice Department knew about the plans, including the area where it was supposed to take place, and didn’t bother to warn the Border Patrol “you might wanna stay out of that area on that night; there’s probably gonna be a shootout.”
What we still don’t know is the most fundamental question: “what was the big idea?” What was the overarching scheme in which the idea of “let’s give the Mexican drug cartels a couple thousand military-grade weapons” seemed like such a good idea? Who came up with it? At what point were key officials — Attorney General Holder and President Obama come to mind — briefed on the whole mess?
This whole thing is high-octane fuel for conspiracy nuts. The two I’m enjoying right now are 1) it was intended to justify a push for more gun-control laws, and B) the US is attempting to curry favor with the Mexican drug cartels in anticipation of them overthrowing the Mexican government.
Crazy, right? Oh, please. Those are amateurs. You want professional-grade insanity, consider what the Obama admiinistration is putting forth as “the official story:”
F&F was “a sting operation.” The plan was to follow the guns back to the heads of the cartels, and then arrest them and charge them with major crimes. That there never was even a plan to trace the guns past the Mexican border is just a sign of how the thing was botched.
It’s a scary, scary world when the crazy conspiracy nuts look at a scandal and come up with theories that are actually more plausible than what the officials are saying.
One final point: it’s Wednesday. That means we have just a bit over
24 48 -hours for another Friday Afternoon Document Dump. Who knows what this presents this one will bring?