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Fortune Magazine in the bag for Holder and Obama
(GunReports.com) — In support of Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and his congressional allies this week was an obviously coordinated media campaign, aimed at rewriting the history of "Fast and Furious" and smearing the whistleblowing BATFE agents who alerted Congress to the scandal, the NRA-ILA reports.
In an article published the day before the vote and written by a former Bill Clinton campaign operative, Fortune magazine claimed that virtually everything we know about this disaster--after more than a year of investigations by House and Senate committees and by every media outlet in the country that's dared to touch the issue--is false. Tellingly, many of Fortune's sources were agents "speaking out for the first time." (Another BATFE official, who had not previously spoken to the media, gave an interview that appeared in the Washington Post the day of the vote.)
In its piece, Fortune claimed:
That Agent John Dodson and other whistleblowers who brought the operation to light were actually rogue agents who jeopardized their careers at the BATFE just to settle scores over petty disputes with a supervisor--who happens to be Fortune's main source and the "hero" of the article.
That Agent Dodson had actually (in a separate and much smaller case) advocated using the same tactics he risked his career to denounce in "Fast and Furious." What's more believable: Fortune's version, or Agent Dodson's explanation that he proposed the tactic on orders of his supervisor, who was also in charge of "Fast and Furious"?
That gun prosecutions were thwarted by a pro-gun federal prosecutor, even though that prosecutor worked for U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who had a long record of anti-gun activity on Capitol Hill and in the Clinton White House.
Most outrageously, if these allegations are true, the Justice Department itself falsely admitted that "gunwalking" tactics were used--for example, when Attorney General Holder acknowledged that in his Nov. 8, 2011 testimony--even though the embarrassing admission deepened the congressional investigation.
And if the Justice Department was wrong to rescind the Feb. 2011 letter denying that "gunwalking" occurred," the subpoenaed documents concerning that letter should show that. If the documents might exonerate the administration, why are the White House and Justice Department fighting so hard against releasing them?
Fortune also repeats a string of lies about the larger context of "Fast and Furious":
—That the real problem is weak gun laws, including the lack of "a real-time database of gun sales"--in other words, national gun registration. It should be no surprise that Fortune points to that, when there are already at least three emails proving that the BATFE wanted to use information from "Fast and Furious" to support its border-state registration scheme for multiple rifle sales.
-—hat it's "nearly impossible" to bring cases against straw purchasers--even though the BATFE website contains dozens of press releases announcing the arrest, conviction and sentencing of straw purchasers. That straw purchasing penalties are "minimal."
Here are the penalties Fortune calls "minimal": Any statement to a licensed dealer that is "intended or likely" to deceive the dealer about the legality of a sale is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
"Knowingly making any false statement" in a dealer's records--such as falsely claiming on a transfer form that you are the actual buyer--is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
That "2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico." There is no credible source for this figure. If it were true, smuggling to Mexico would account for 730,000 guns a year--nearly a tenth of the guns produced in the U.S. or imported here every year. That's obviously impossible.
—Another recurring claim this week was that "gunwalking" began under the Bush administration. In reality, there is no parallel between "Fast and Furious" and earlier operations such as "Wide Receiver." Specifically:
In "Wide Receiver," the Mexican government was informed and involved, and was supposed to interdict the guns as they were tracked into Mexico. In "Fast & Furious," the Mexican government was never informed and was never called on to interdict any of the guns.
—The guns lost in the "Wide Receiver" program were lost primarily by the Mexican authorities, or due to the failure of electronic tracking devices. In "Fast & Furious," agents were specifically ordered to end surveillance.
—“Wide Receiver" was shut down when BATFE officials learned of the lost guns. It took the death of Brian Terry to shut down "Fast & Furious."
—“Wide Receiver" involved a few hundred guns, most of which were recovered. The program nevertheless was considered a failure by BATFE officials and was terminated for that reason. "Fast & Furious" involved thousands of guns, the bulk of which are still at large.