Executive order raises suspicions
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 13:06
Last week, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege in the case of Operation Fast and Furious, withholding relevant documents from Congress regarding the gunrunning project carried out in Mexico by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Reports confirm that ATF agents were instructed simply to “surveil” and not intercede in the operation, an order that exhibits gross negligence on behalf of the ATF for letting guns “walk” into the hands of straw purchasers. Consequently, guns found in Mexico have been linked to the operation and a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed, for which the Department of Justice must be held accountable.
The DOJ under President George W. Bush’s administration failed to make any arrests during the former project, Operation Wide Receiver, yet the blame for Fast and Furious should be laid at the Bush administration’s feet? The Obama administration needs to stop pointing fingers, because ultimately it is irrelevant when the project started. What matters is how it was handled once Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder took office, and that handling can efficiently be labeled as poor. Only five convictions were made in 2009 after the collapse of Operation Wide Receiver. How is it possible that Holder failed to review the operation after he took office? Holder’s claim in May that he had only known of the program for a few weeks is hard to swallow, and he simply cannot play innocent and expect the matter to be resolved. At this point, the timeline of the Justice Department’s actions raises too many questions that have been met with hostility and have yet to be answered.
Unfortunately, to some, the situation has now dissolved into one that runs along party lines, which is extraneous to the crucial issues at hand: Who was responsible for the oversight of this operation, why did it fail and who should be held accountable? If Holder wants to claim he knew nothing of the operation, there is an obvious problem with that statement, one that reeks of incompetence. As Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “Whether it’s Operation Fast and Furious, Operation Wide Receiver or both, it’s clear that guns were walked, and people high in the Justice Department knew about it. There’s no excuse for walking guns, and if there are more operations like this, Congress and the American people need to know."
For a president who has preached transparency throughout his tenure, Obama’s actions are a disappointment and a disservice to the American people, and his reasoning for issuing executive order is irrelevant. If Obama’s order was issued to maintain the sanctity and power that executive privilege holds, it could possibly be excusable with clarification. However, it looks suspicious nonetheless. It is not unreasonable of the American people to demand answers and accountability from their political leaders.
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