During congressional testimony today over Operation Fast and Furious
, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) expressed sympathy for the embattled agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as they are questioned about the operation that led to thousands of weapons being given by our government to murderers, rapists, and slavers in Mexico. Congressman Cummings said that he knew that this was all very emotionally draining and that he wanted to help everyone move past the whole thing. A friend of mine at the hearing said that the back-and-forth between the ATF and the Congressman about emotions and such almost made him want to gag. Move past it.
The only way we can begin to move past this debacle is arresting whoever authorized this in violation of federal and international law. We can begin to move past this by firing the supervisors of whoever authorized this for gross incompetence. We can begin to move past this by apologizing to the people of Mexico and the family of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry for arming their killers. We can begin to move past this by trying to figure out how, almost twenty years after the disaster at Waco, the ATF is still so poorly-managed and incompetent as to allow thousands of weapons to be given to the Mexican cartels. The extent to which congressional Democrats, some of whom only a few years ago were comparing Bush to Hitler for his foreign policy and Guantanamo Bay, want to just "move past this" is embarrassing.
Testimony today revealed that officials in the White House had been briefed
about Operation Fast and Furious as early as September 2010. ATF Director Kenneth Melson and his deputy seem to be embracing the "I was incompetent but not complicit" line of talking right now, which was contradicted by
ATF Agent Lorren Leadmon saying that senior officials, including Mr. Melson, received briefings about the ill-fated project in late 2009 and early 2010-- these briefing informing them that the entire operation was troubled, with ATF Agents recommending its cancellation. The United States Embassy in Mexico complained that it had been kept in the dark
about the entire operation, despite sending complaints and inquiries to the Department of Justice about American guns being found beside dozens of dead bodies in Mexico; the State Department was told "everything is under control" and then ignored. This testimony reinforces information from emails indicating that the ATF and Department of Justice have been trying to downplay the scandal ever since Brian Terry was murdered by guns we gave the cartels. When Senator Grassley began investigating the incident earlier this year, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich defended Fast and Furious in a letter that only gave one paragraph to Terry's murder, saying that information cannot be shared due to pending investigations; the letter set off a batch of emails
from senior ATF and DoJ officials, including Melson, congratulating each other for "staying the course" and supporting each other.
Good thing Congressman Cummings is not in the majority at the moment to support and stay the course with them as well. We cannot "move past" this disaster until the Department of Justice is brought to justice.