For weeks, I've been debating saying something - though never exactly sure what - about the "Fast and Furious scandal", Darrel Issa and Eric Holder. Like Kevin Drum, I figured I had a rough idea what the story was. And like Kevin, I heard about this article in Fortune. Well, it does turn out that the article is brilliant, and up-ends virtually everything we think we know about the whole story of Fast and Furious, and the ATF's attempt to reduce illegal gun sales in the Phoenix area.
Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
Katherine Eban is going on to suggest, apparently, that the Obama Aministration's real failure - shades of Shirley Sherrod - is that the White House is too skittish about giving conservatives ammunition for bad PR to actually figure out the underlying details of the manufactured "scandal." This, after all, rings far more accurately than suggestions of some massive "cover up" at the Justice Department, rather just the small, sad example, yet again, of an Administration to cautious to actually stand up for the actual people who are being wronged.
I haven't given an "awesome" award in awhile, but this article is genuinely awesome. It demands to be read and shared. Please try and do both.