Archive for July 27th, 2011

Fast & Furious and the Bastardization of Law and Order

Yesterday morning many of us watched the Issa hearings on Fast & Furious on the Congressional internet stream. You can watch it here. Yes, it was painfully hard to drag myself away from radio discussions of apples in McDonald’s happy meals and seven-year-old pole dancers.

I refuse to link to those stories.

I watched as several men spoke with conviction about the dedication and honor of the men of the ATF with which they served. They spoke without hesitation. They apologized to a nation because the organization that they served for the nation that they loved for most of their adult lives had let them down.

They spoke about the shame with which they must live because two dedicated men died for no damn good reason because of that organization. They spoke with the universal conviction that at no time either in the field or in training would letting guns walk ever have been acceptable. In fact any agent who would have failed to hold proximate custody of a weapon would be fired.

Mr. Carlos Canino, Mr. Darren Gil, Mr. Jose Wall, Mr. Lorren Leadmon, and Mr. William McMahon to a man answered direct questions with direct answers. Each apologized for their agency and their fellow professionals that someone from their agency had failed to put the public safety first.

One did not. One answered questions with long winded explanations on the practices of the ATF. His name was Mr. William Newell, Former ATF Special Agent in Charge in the Phoenix Field Division up to May of this year.

Of the six men, Mr. Newell was the only one who differed on what gun walking actually was. He maintained that to this day no one at the ATF had let a gun walk. He was the only one who failed to apologize to the people for not putting public safety first. We’ve all watched enough cop shows to know which one of a crew is lying.

Mr. Newell admitted that in October of 2009 the DOJ began the discussion on how important it would be to change the focus of operations from interception of straw buyers and flipping them up the food chain to arrest operatives. Mr. Newell confirmed that in January of 2010 DOJ finalized this change in the focus and tactics of the operations in a memo, from the DOJ. Yet he could not or would not answer questions as to who originated the program.

Now given the speed at which folks must testify, it would be very easy to miss that statement. I had to play it and replay it several times to be sure. Now either the Committee didn’t catch that or they already know it. If its the later, it seems that making that memo public would be a damn good idea.

Dusty Stuff in the Throttlebottom Attic

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