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Fast and furious vindication



Fear illustrated - like animals and small children - The Scream, by Edvard Munch (1893)

Operation Fast and Furious vindicates everything that conservatives and libertarians say about the government and the mainstream media.

The latest Fast and Furious dust-ups

Two major scandals broke in the past week about Operation Fast and Furious. The obvious one: Attorney General Eric Holder lied, under oath, to Congress. He told Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that he first heard about Operation Fast and Furious “a few weeks” before he appeared. That was in May of this year. But last week’s “Friday afternoon document dump” contained e-mails and memos that said otherwise. The ATF field office had briefed Holder on Operation Fast and Furious as bar back as July of 2010.

So said Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News last Monday. To back up what she said, she included links to:

  • A memo sent on July 5 to Holder,
  • An e-mail saying that Fast and Furious was “a tricky case,” and—most tellingly of all—
  • A memo from Holder to his own Assistant Attorney General about this affair.

Then came the second scandal: the reaction to it. For the record, Sharyl Attkisson is the most prominent member of the Mainstream Media to report on Fast and Furious. NBC and ABC’s news divisions have ducked the case. So have The New York Times and The Washington Post. (The Los Angeles Times, to their credit, has not ducked this case.)

Within one day of the CBS report coming out, Sharyl Attkisson had one conversation each with one Tracy Schmaler at the Justice Department, and Eric Schultz at the White House. And as she told Laura Ingraham, both these people raised their voices to a non-adult level. Schultz, in fact, RANTED AND RAVED AND SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS.

Neither Schmaler nor Schultz were willing to send Attkisson any written statement. So neither person can blame Attkisson, Ingraham, or anyone else if anyone gets confused over what they said. Attkisson cites this as the most substantive thing that either of them said:


[The White House and Justice Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter—as they told me—that is not reasonable. They say The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.

What this says about government and media

The US Constitution. Does Fast and Furious threaten it?

The US Constitution. Photo: National Archives of the United States

Schmaler and Schultz, or whoever writes their material, might want to reconsider what they say about the Los Angeles Times. That aside: since when is ignoring a case of out-and-out perjury the only reasonable thing for a reporter to do? If anyone is showing bias here, it is The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, and ABC News.

CBS is late to the party. The party began with Mike Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street Irregulars; David Codrea and other “Gun Rights Examiners” at, and those at Clean Up ATF. In May, William La Jeunesse at Fox News Channel joined the party. (Lately he has given specific credit to Vanderboegh and Codrea.) As long as only these reporters were covering the story, apologists for semi-authoritarian government could dismiss them all as a fringe element. But when a prominent and popular mainstream reporter like Sharyl Attkisson files a report, the government can dismiss it no longer.

So what do the government’s mouthpieces do? They yell, scream, and “cuss.” Then they say that the reporter who finally “spoke truth to power” is “unreasonable.”

This happened once before. The administration of Richard M. Nixon treated reporters, especially Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Post and Daniel Schorr at CBS, the same way when they broke the Watergate case. CBS has shown consistency, though it’s late to the game. The Post has not. The Post gave the government a pass. CBS did not. So now hypocrisy is reasonable, and consistency is not.

An inventory

And so, in summary:

  1. Most mainstream media organs have become little more than government organs.
  2. The government is manifestly guilty of more than mere incompetence. Incompetent people do not RANT AND RAVE AND SCREAM AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS when someone catches them out in an “honest mistake.” Nor do they use vulgar, and especially obscene, language. Not in the White House, they don’t—not unless they are already guilty of worse. As to what they are guilty of:
  3. Eric Holder lied to Congress about his knowledge of this affair. What else has he lied about? Maybe just this: Operation Fast and Furious was never about tracking straw-bought guns to drug gangsters. It was about planting “throw-down guns” in Mexico to justify draconian gun control in America.

The government answers

More recently, the government has answered by shuffling some executives at ATF around to different offices. This, says Codrea, will change nothing. Chairman Issa, for his part, has formally asked the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel. That also will change nothing, because the Justice Department itself is corrupt. Codrea has the right idea: re-authorize the Office of Independent Counsel, and appoint an investigator who answers to the Congress, not the White House or the Attorney General.

The real solution, though, can only come from the ballot box. The man now holding office as President is not trustworthy. And it’s time for leading Republican candidates for President to say so.


Featured image: The Scream. Artwork: Edvard Munch, 1893. At the Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo, Norway.


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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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