- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2012

Murder is hard to sweep under the rug. President Obama may have invoked executive privilege to shield his Fast and Furious scandal from congressional investigators, but repeating this strategy won’t go down well during a presidential debate. The administration’s reckless scheme, which armed foreign drug lords, deserves a thorough airing before voters cast their ballots on Election Day.

Fast and Furious weapons were used to gun down 14 Mexican teenagers at a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in January 2010, Spanish-language Univision reported Oct. 1. The day after the report, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie was shot to death while patrolling the Arizona desert just north of the Mexican border. While early evidence suggests the killing may have been the result of friendly fire rather than smuggled guns, the tragedy is a fresh reminder of the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, who was gunned down by a Fast and Furious weapon.

Taken together, the killings of innocent Mexican children and a pair of federal agents are the bitter fruit of leadership that has played fast and loose with border security. When the presidential candidates face off over foreign policy at Florida’s Lynn University on Oct. 22, Mr. Obama must be asked to explain how his Democratic underlings could have strayed so far from common sense in allowing the border to become a conduit for dealers of death. Republican challenger Mitt Romney should be prepared to present a plan that would end such national security failures.

In Operation Fast and Furious, more than 2,000 weapons were purchased in the United States and smuggled into Mexico, where they were sold to drug kingpins. Agents of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said their intention was to track the guns in order to identify criminals, but irresponsibly, they failed to do so. Some of the weapons turned up at the scene of Terry’s murder in December 2010, and others have been linked to the killings of hundreds of Mexicans, including the young partygoers.

Congress has attempted to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious. The Obama administration’s lack of cooperation shows all the signs of a cover-up. Justice Department chief Eric H. Holder Jr. has refused to produce documents related to the gunrunning operation, and Mr. Obama has invoked executive privilege to place the records out of investigators’ reach. The House voted in June to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress, and more than 130 members have called for his resignation.

An executive may not be aware of every harebrained scheme hatched in his name, but ultimately, the buck stops with him. On Mr. Holder’s watch, his agency’s policies contributed to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. The American people deserve to know why Mr. Obama has not fired his attorney general after such an epic failure of leadership. Claiming executive privilege won’t cut it.

The Washington Times