By Arthur Alpert
The now infamous “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scheme certainly seems at best bone-headed, at worst criminal.
Think about it. The Justice Department approved supplying some 2,000 weapons to Mexican drug cartels, hoping to follow them to higher-ups of the Sinaloa cartel. But managers of the sting lost track of the firearms. And when on Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in the Arizona desert, investigators found two “lost” AK-47s nearby.
Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) initiated and led a committee probe, but U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wouldn’t surrender all the records. The President asserted executive privilege to keep some of them secret.
And the full House held Holder in contempt.
The Albuquerque Journal has published numerous accounts of the Operation Fast and Furious, as well as Op Ed columns condemning it and editorials arguing for giving “Fast and Furious” documents to the public; the most recent ran Monday, July 9.
Given the facts above, I venture we would all cheer on the House and the newspaper.
But what if they weren’t the facts.
June 27, Fortune Magazine published “The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal” by Katherine Eban.
The magazine prefaced the long article this way:
“A Fortune investigation reveals that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. How the world came to believe just the opposite is a tale of rivalry, murder, and political bloodlust.”
(Eban’s account, the culmination of a six-month investigation, raised a storm. July 3, she wrote a short response to some of the adverse criticism in which she maintained her initial premise – no gun-walking policy existed.)
June 28, the Washington Post published a story in which the veteran federal agent who started and oversaw Operation Fast and Furious defended it:
“It was the only way to dismantle an entire firearms-trafficking ring and stop the thousands of guns flowing to Mexico,” said William D. Newell.
Time Magazine (July 16) noted June 27 Fortune’s conclusion that “agents did not intentionally allow guns to walk.”
Thus far, the Albuquerque Journal has ignored the Fortune article and its echoes. It didn’t pick up the Washington Post piece. (Journal Washington correspondent, Michael Coleman noted July 1 that the state’s delegation was split along party lines.)
So as I write this Tuesday morning July 10, the Journal has published nothing that might cast doubt on the facts of the story.
Must be happenstance.