Fast and Furious

Brought To You By The NRA

The NRA is planning to score tomorrow's House vote on contempt for Attorney General Eric Holder. They will be checking their list twice to see if you've been naughty or nice, and if you've been naughty, they're going to run attack ads in your distract.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) warned House lawmakers last week that it will score Thursday's vote on the Republicans' contempt resolution, which accuses Holder of stonewalling a GOP investigation into a bungled gun-walking program under his Department of Justice (DOJ). [...]

Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) also questioned the NRA's involvement, calling it an "extraordinary" step even as he conceded it will likely swing some Democratic votes behind the contempt measure.

"The NRA is a major force on this Hill," Larson said. "It seems rather extraordinary that they would score this issue, but some members are impacted by that."

Because the entire Fast and Furious witch hunt is based on the NRA conspiracy theory that says the Obama Administration started a gun-walking program, resulting in the death of an ATF agent, to justify stricter gun laws (the NRA makes no secret of this), it makes perfect since that the NRA would be threatening House members with retribution if they vote against the contempt resolution.

Fortune, meanwhile, published the results of their 6-month-long investigation into Fast and Furious today and concluded that the entire premise of House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa's witch hunt is completely baseless and is rooted in the machinations of a hot-headed ATF agent.

The report is exhaustingly extensive and I recommend reading it in full, but this excerpt is the factually-incorrect incident which sparked the entire controversy.

The agents faced numerous obstacles in what they dubbed the Fast and Furious case. (They named it after the street-racing movie because the suspects drag raced cars together.) Their greatest difficulty by far, however, was convincing prosecutors that they had sufficient grounds to seize guns and arrest straw purchasers. By June 2010 the agents had sent the U.S. Attorney's office a list of 31 suspects they wanted to arrest, with 46 pages outlining their illegal acts. But for the next seven months prosecutors did not indict a single suspect.

On Dec. 14, 2010, a tragic event rewrote the narrative of the investigation. In a remote stretch of Peck Canyon, Ariz., Mexican bandits attacked an elite U.S. Border Patrol unit and killed an agent named Brian Terry. The attackers fled, leaving behind two semiautomatic rifles. A trace of the guns' serial numbers revealed that the weapons had been purchased 11 months earlier at a Phoenix-area gun store by a Fast and Furious suspect.

Ten weeks later, an ATF agent named John Dodson, whom Voth had supervised, made startling allegations on the CBS Evening News. He charged that his supervisors had intentionally allowed American firearms to be trafficked—a tactic known as "walking guns"—to Mexican drug cartels. Dodson claimed that supervisors repeatedly ordered him not to seize weapons because they wanted to track the guns into the hands of criminal ringleaders. The program showed internal e-mails from Voth, which purportedly revealed agents locked in a dispute over the deadly strategy. The guns permitted to flow to criminals, the program charged, played a role in Terry's death.

The Fortune report paints John Dodson as a disgruntled, arrogant, reckless agent who bungled his own operations. Dobson concocted these wild accusations with the aid of right-wing bloggers, former militia members, and local politicians to cover up his own shortcomings and seek revenge on his former supervisor Dave Voth.

Dave Voth was an exemplary agent hamstrung by laughably irresponsible gun laws who lacked a mandate to arrest and charge suspects his team had been tracking.

Guns were never intentionally walked until John Dobson took matters into his own hands and purchased firearms with taxpayer money, passed them on to gun-runners, and then didn't bother to intercept the guns before they crossed the border.

The accusations levied by John Dobson on CBS, the program which sparked the year-long witch hunt, came only after Brian Terry was killed and Dobson was questioned by congressional staff.

Over a year later we're one day away from a vote of contempt for Attorney General Eric Holder. Why? Because he has not turned over documents produced by the Inspector General concerning the investigation of the events detailed in this Fortune report. Documents which Eric Holder cannot legally turn over.

It's an investigation with enormous implications, and Darrell Issa and the Republicans are channeling the fear of NRA backlash, conspiracy theories, and misinformation into congressional support for their vote of contempt.

For the Department of Justice, this a serious matter, but for the Republicans this tragic story is being used to score political points, appease NRA lobbyists, and feed the notion that the Obama administration is lawless and corrupt.

It's disgusting.