Hammering Holder: Prunning the Branches of Corruption
Attorney General Eric Holder, testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Thursday suffered a grilling at the hands of Representatives Daryll Issa (R-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Before the hearing it was more than obvious that Holder, if not Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, knew about the controversial gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” prior to its involvement in the murder of U.S. Border Agent Brian A. Terry on Dec. 14th 2010. If it wasn’t, it was made blatantly clear after Rep. Issa stacked document after document referring to the operation, all provided by law enforcement whistleblowers and dated months prior to Terry’s death.
In a less than impressive display of lawyerly maneuvering Holder claimed the document’s “emails using the words ‘Fast and Furious’ don’t refer to Operation Fast and Furious.” This has been merely the latest in a long line of stonewalling and misdirection on the part of Holder.
Part of a broader series of programs known as “Project Gunrunner” ran by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) between 2006 and 2011, spanning two administrations, Operation Fast and Furious was the largest of other known analogs like “Wide Receiver” and “White Gun.” ATF in a brazen example of state-sanctioned law breaking knowingly allowed and “encouraged” the sale of over 2000 firearms to arms traffickers working through middlemen known as “straw purchasers” on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.
Since 2006 the Mexican drug war can be described as nothing short of narco genocide claiming more than 60,000 lives leaving a trail of tears filled with endless stories of torture, bizarre gladiator kamikazes and beheadings. The tactics used by the ATF have been claimed to be an effort to stem the violence by tracking these weapons up the chain resulting in the apprehension of kingpins and ultimately the dismantling of the cartels – the mantra of all law enforcement agencies since the War on Drugs began decades ago.
There are, as you would expect, a few problems with this line of reasoning. One, the ATF has yet to be produce a mechanism by which these weapons are tracked outside of retaining the serial number and hoping they show up. Two, once a cartel is apprehended (lets say every last one of them) another cartel will simply take its place, history has shown that much is a certain. Three, and this is the kicker, why do agents of the government feel they can break the law in the service of it?
Pruning Will Only Cause it to Grow
The Fast and Furious scandal is merely an extension of the ongoing War on Drugs and just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to big government shadow war. From the CIA to the ATF every sort of deep and dubious tactic imaginable (black rendition sites, entrapments, compromised informants, etc.) is utilized to bring “evildoers” to justice regardless of the rule of law.
While some, however, have speculated it was Eric Holder and the Department of Justice’s primary intent to sabotage the 2nd Amendment, this line of reasoning doesn’t quite satisfy the rebuttal. Project Gunrunner, after all, began under George W. Bush, hardly a liberal (well, depending on who you ask). Now, this isn’t to deny those of a liberal bent and the DOJ wouldn’t high five each other if the 2nd Amendment were undermined in the process. What is constant from 2006 to 2011, however, is our DOJ’s disrespect for law. That much we can prove. But as I mentioned its systemic, it does not begin nor does it end with Eric Holder.
While it is necessary to rout the unscrupulous where and when they rear their ugly heads it is obvious to those of an objective inclination that conservatives are salivating over the opportunity to burn Holder as well. Holder’s allegations are most likely correct, that the passion of these hearings is most definitely politically motivated, but who cares? The real issue at hand is the slight of hand.
Buried are the stories of the FBI allowing drugs to cross the border. The press surrounding Holder and gunrunning saps the attention, which could be used to expose the DEA’s purported get-out-of-jail-free card offered to Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa Cartel leader Ismail “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. At the very least the government admitted his lawyer was a confidential informant.
While some may write this off as the necessary evils of the drug war, are we to then accept our government’s “moral ambiguity” as a fact of life? From Insight Crime:
“[T]hey hint at a deeper truth in the U.S.’s handling of the Mexican drug panorama. The border zone is filled with double agents, and often U.S. officials have to take part in morally ambiguous operations. This includes relying on informants who may continue to traffic drugs and kill people, but will still expect protection in return for their information.”
This is a cycle without end and corrupts both governments. Rather than readdressing and reforming drug laws throughout the Americas as many south of the U.S. border have offered to do, the United States government feeds the perpetual mission creep inherent within an ill-conceived tapestry of law enforcement agencies. Hammering Eric Holder is merely pruning the branches of corruption.