Sunday, May 20, 2012
Obama wants this dead cop to go away
Written by JOHN CARLSON It was an impressive ceremony in Washington Tuesday as President Obama honored America’s law officers killed in the line of duty. Three days earlier, the president met in the White House Rose Garden with winners of the National Association of Police Organizations’ “Top Cop” award. There were photographs, handshakes and speeches. Then there’s Brian Terry, a cop who didn’t get much attention last week. The U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in Arizona a year and a half ago by gangsters working for Mexican drug cartels. The guns that killed him were sent to criminals in Mexico under orders from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The guns were part of an ATF operation that ordered American gun dealers to sell more than 2,000 weapons to cartel-connected buyers, who took them to crime organizations in Mexico. The plan, called “Fast and Furious,” supposedly was to track the guns as they moved to drug kingpins, who then would be arrested. No such tracking occurred. It was barely attempted, and 1,400 guns are missing. Many dozens, probably hundreds of people, have been killed in Mexico by those guns. Among them was Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, shot to death outside Mexico City. A similar gun-walking program began during the George W. Bush administration, but Justice Department officials stopped the effort when it quickly became apparent the guns could not be tracked. The ramped up operation known as Fast and Furious began during the Obama administration. ATF agents in Arizona objected, warning their bosses of violence that was sure to come. Gun dealers expressed concern over selling weapons to criminals. The agents were ordered to keep quiet; gun dealers, licensed by the ATF, were told to follow orders. Some allege the stunningly stupid operation was implemented to intentionally increase violence in order to bolster the Obama administration’s efforts to enact tougher gun control laws. The claim hasn’t been proved. But it hasn’t been disproved. What has been proven is that Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, lied about the operation in a letter to Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassley. Breuer’s boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, testified under oath he had no knowledge of Fast and Furious, but Grassley proved he knew about it long before. Holder called Terry’s killing “regrettable” but continues to defy congressional investigators trying to find out who ordered what and when. Specifically, Holder has provided no information subpoenaed in 13 areas of inquiry and minimal information in another nine areas. Tens of thousands of documents have been withheld without explanation. A total of 127 members of the House, all of them Republicans, have demanded that Holder resign or be fired. Thirty-one House Democrats have asked Obama to order Holder to comply with the subpoenas. A contempt of Congress charge against Holder seems certain. Grassley says it’s not about politics or personalities. He says it is the only remedy a congressional oversight committee has when subpoenas are ignored. Not that Terry was totally ignored last week by the president. On the day the honored dead were memorialized at the White House, the president quietly — no ceremony, no souvenir pens, no pictures, no statement, no invitation to the family — signed the “Brian Terry Memorial Act.” Passed unanimously by the House and Senate, the act attaches Terry’s name to the U.S. Border Patrol station at Bisbee, Ariz. The White House press office announced the signing on its Web site, along with the renaming of 11 post offices around the country. Obama’s re-election campaign operatives desperately want the issue to go away. It won’t. Fast and Furious was a catastrophe that is certain to bring deaths in Mexico and the U.S. for many years. The administration’s refusal to explain itself is shameful. ABOUT THE AUTHOR JOHN CARLSON, a retired Register columnist, writes twice a month for the Sunday Register. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.