For those who pay attention to the United States government and its various doings, ‘Fast and Furious’ isn’t just the name of a mediocre series of movies about heists and fast cars. It’s also the name of an operation, run by the Barack Obama Department of Justice, which involved trafficking firearms into Mexico.
Years after the program resulted in the death of at least one American citizen, a Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry, the American people might finally find out something about the operation and why it existed. Although Obama brags about his ‘scandal free’ eight years, President Donald Trump’s administration decided to deliver the documents that former Attorney General Eric Holder refused to hand over to Congress when requested.
Of course, there was no special council, no massive federal investigation, no media frenzy over this major Obama scandal.
Operation Fast and Furious featured Obama’s DOJ aiding and abetting gun smuggling into Mexico, which sent at least 2,000 firearms into the country. It was an operation, run under the leadership of the Justice Department, directly operated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
When the operation came to light after a number of leaks from people who could no longer sit by and watch the terrible and ineffective practice continue, the response from the Obama administration, one of the least transparent administrations in history, was to stonewall investigators.
AG Holder refused to turn over documents concerning who actually approved the program. In fact, according to Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the House Oversight Committee, the committee fought for six years for additional documents about the program.
Finally, on Monday, they received approval to see the documents they had been looking for years, in a settlement with the new Donald Trump DOJ.
There are many lingering questions about the program, and why it was ever allowed to exist in the first place.
Some on the left, and in the Obama administration, tried to say that the program grew out of a George W. Bush-era program called Operation Wide Receiver.
However, the Bush Justice Department found that their operation was not working as planned. Their attempts to track the firearms as they moved across the border turned out to be ineffective, and the promised assistance from the Mexican government rarely materialized.
Fast and Furious, on the other hand, made literally no attempt to track the firearms. The program essentially involved the ATF and federal government bullying a number of gun dealers into allowing straw purchasers to buy weapons, including 50-caliber rifles.
When the dealers would try to report the straw purchasers, the ATF would outright ignore them, and provide no reason for this.
The United States government was only able to track the ‘gunwalked’ weapons when they showed up at crime scenes in Mexico. For years, the Mexican government has shared the serial numbers of any firearm obviously made in, or imported into, the United States with the American government, in hopes of avoiding just this kind of problem, and to help the U.S. government identify people who were sending firearms into the hands of drug cartels south of the border.
The Obama administration allowed at least 2,000 weapons that they would later call ‘weapons of war’ to move across the border into Mexico.
Many Americans suspected some sort of conspiracy when Eric Holder and President Obama attempted to use the escalating gun violence in Mexico, and the number of firearms identified as being from the U.S.A., as the basis for new gun control measures.
In other words, the previous president’s agencies trafficked firearms into Mexico, then claimed that there was a gun trafficking problem, and that it was the average American citizen’s fault.
The operation came to a head when Brian Terry was murdered in Arizona by an illegal immigrant carrying an Ak-47-type rifle, as part of a six-man ‘rip crew.’
Now that the Justice Department has decided to allow congressional investigators to view the documents that they have been seeking for years, the ones Holder preferred to be held in contempt than to turn over, it will be interesting to see what they say.
These documents may well tell Congress who ordered the operation, and could even lead to the highest levels of power.
The documents will likely also continue to undermine one of Obama’s favorite things to say about his administration; his ridiculously false claim that he had no scandals at all.