- Arkansas voter ID law struck down by state judge
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
- Bad omen? Italian man crushed to death by John Paul II crucifix
- Company stopped from accepting abortion waste
- Girl surprises Michelle Obama with unemployed dad’s resume
- ‘Harry Potter’ religion class seeks to enlighten students on ‘God, sin, and theodicy’
- ‘Optionally piloted’ Black Hawk helicopter clears tests; future missions to go ‘fully unmanned’
- Vice News reporter kidnapped in Ukraine is freed after being beaten, blindfolded
- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
KENDALL: Watergate reprise in Fast and Furious
Suspicions of cover-up grow after White House claim of executive privilege
In 1973, I chose Watergate for a grade-school news-clipping project. In 2012, a grade-school student choosing Fast and Furious would have hit a similar mother lode with a bulging notebook of clippings for what will soon have its very own “gate” moniker.
The parallels are eerie. On June 20 - almost 40 years to the day of the Watergate break-in June 17, 1972, that prompted a massive cover-up - the White House asserted executive privilege in the congressional investigation into what is known as Operation Fast and Furious.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. refuses to release documents sought by Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Mr. Issa is probing the gun-trafficking operation in which U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed when it backfired. Because of Mr. Holder’s recalcitrance, the House was poised to schedule a vote on holding him in contempt of Congress.
The White House’s claim of executive privilege is meant to render Mr. Holder bulletproof. But there’s a major disconnect here. As Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, said, “How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen?”
Mr. Issa agreed and forged ahead with a contempt vote, which on the same day passed his committee along party lines.
All the elements of a constitutional crisis are in place. It’s definitely time to dust off a copy of “All the President’s Men.” Then, the question was: What is the White House hiding? The same question is being asked today.
Michigan Republican senatorial candidate Clark Durant presciently said, “President Barack Obama’s executive privilege assertion, in spite of once remarking his would be ‘the most transparent administration ever,’ means that the administration was involved or had knowledge” of the gunrunning operation run amok. Mr. Durant inferred that Mr. Obama had evidently seen documents regarding Fast and Furious.
At the risk of oversimplifying, this was an operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives coaxed gun dealers to sell weapons to buyers for Mexican criminal syndicates in an attempt to ensnare the cartels. Sound stupid? It was - colossally so.
Of course, the bureau was not acting on its own. It was purportedly the idea of someone higher up, which is what Mr. Issa is trying to ascertain. The probe is starting to hurt. In fact, the administration doesn’t like it one bit and is now refusing to cooperate. So what if Terry is dead? The investigation has gotten just too painful.
It prompts you to think there must be some really bad secrets buried within the administration. The biggest question, of course, is what the motive was for Operation Fast and Furious. It always comes down to motive.
Why did some higher-up want to put the big, bad gun dealers in such an unseemly position, risking reputation and livelihood on something as stupid as selling guns to criminals?
It’s clear the congressional probe isn’t going away. If we learned anything from Watergate, it’s “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.” To put it in other terms, if Team Obama doesn’t cooperate in rooting out the cancer within its ranks, the health of the nation’s political process is likely to worsen.
Forty years ago, the media was hot on the scent of Watergate. Which begs the question: Where are competent investigative journalists in 2012 who will sniff out the clues to solving FastFuriousgate?
Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based journalist and screenwriter.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Only IRS employees could expect rewards for failing to pay their taxes
Get Breaking Alerts
- Holder cancels appearance in OKC amid angry protests
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Gun control supporters send message to NRA
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Nevada rancher's racial remarks cost him range of support
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don't punish unborn for parents' sins
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fraud minimal in house-call health care
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Palestinian Authority on 'jihad-care'?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Recalling foresight of Reagan, Thatcher on SDI
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A double standard on pejoratives?