The federal government is not short on scandal these days. The IRS has been cracking down on groups who want to make the country better, or monitor government spending. The Attorney General is going after news reporters and the Benghazi cover-up endures. In such an atmosphere embattled Americans should not forget another scandal that is also getting worse.
The federal government’s Operation Fast and Furious began with the belief of U.S. President Barack Obama and Felipe Calderon, then president of Mexico, that American guns cause violence in Mexico and that 90 percent of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels come from the United States. That was also the view of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials. The 90 percent figure is pure invention but the evidence is strong that the Obama administration took steps to make it real.
In 2009, ATF agents ordered Andre Howard, owner of the Lone Wolf gun store in Glendale, Arizona, to sell weapons to every illegal purchaser. But the ATF lost track of 2,000 guns, which did wind up in the hands of violent criminals on both sides of the border. When U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout, two weapons from Fast and Furious were found at the scene. Weapons from the operation have showed up at other crime scenes in the United States and Mexico. All this has been compounded by a federal smear operation against the whistleblower in the case.
ATF agent John Dodson told a CBS reporter that operation Fast and Furious was connected to the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. A recent Inspector General’s report notes that former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke leaked information to smear Dodson. Burke’s “particularly egregious” conduct was part of an effort to “undermine the credibility of Dodson’s significant public disclosures about the failures in Operation Fast and Furious.”
So a federal operation that sought to create evidence for a bogus claim wound up providing violent criminals with murder weapons. When this government gun violence became public, a federal official sought to punish the whistleblower. No scandal is so bad that the federal government can’t make it worse.