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woodcutter's avatar

Is "Operation Fast and Furious" going to be President Obama's "Iran Contra?"?

Asked by woodcutter (16377points) August 8th, 2011

The speculation is, weapons were allowed to go across the border and be followed to their destination by BATFE and take down drug cartels. Some speculate it was an attempt to flood Mexico with weapons from US gun dealers to be later found there to boost interest in reinstating stronger gun laws.
Either way The president and his Atty General claim ignorance of details. There is expanding evidence that the FBI, DEA, and even the IRS were involved…but not the President or Eric Holder? I’m not going to provide links to the story anyone can google it. It has been out there for some time.

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34 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

If it’s really his Iran-Contra, then I guess we’ll have eight years of Obama just like we had eight years of Reagan.

I imagine we’ll hear an alternate explanation if it really hits the fan. We’ll be told that the guns were planted in order to justify the US coming down hard on the Mexican drug cartels and not to drum up support for gun control. This might even be true—it’s what all of the original reports said the operation was about, and it seems like the kind of thing for which you might need all of these agencies to team up. In many ways, this would be more nefarious than the lame political motivation that some are attributing to the operation.

One thing that shouldn’t be lost in all of this is how it is yet another event in a long history of prejudice, disrespect, and apathy shown towards Mexico and Mexicans by America and Americans. This has also been out there for some time and can be easily Googled, so I won’t bother with any links. But if it’s really true that the US only contacted President Calderón after the operation had begun and didn’t even tell him about it (while trying to get him to agree to its aims), then we have shown a marked disrespect for Mexican sovereignty.

ragingloli's avatar

What astounds me is that there has not been more outrage from the mexican side.
I mean, if the mexican government were caught supplying automatic weapons to american criminals, they US might consider that an act of war.

rts486's avatar

Only if the media wants it to be.

tedd's avatar

No not really. There’s no information the President or anyone really involved with him was involved in the operation. Not to mention with Iran Contra you had the president directly involved, and actively selling weapons to Iran (as opposed to a one time thing that resulted in X amount of guns).

It will look bad, but I doubt it will be anything more than a foot note by the next election.

woodcutter's avatar

The one thing that stands out is, to start, I don’t see how Reagan stayed in office. Why was he not impeached? He clearly broke the law to try to send support to the Contra terrorist groups. No one was killed however.
This time there are deaths involved and it’s been said by those involved that really the only way to recover these loose weapons was to pick them up off dead bodies. It wasn’t as if these weapons had GPS planted inside them and if there were, it wouldn’t have been long before they were found and removed.
It doesn’t strike anyone as odd that with all those organizations involved, the AG didn’t know? If he didn’t know it seems something of this magnitude, he should have been aware of? So how does the top lawman stay out of it? I think he’s got some “splaining” (sic) to do. Either he’s in it up to his eyeballs or there are some serious incompetency issues here. Looks bad no matter how you view it.
Sorry but this is going to be hard to gloss over and make go away. If Bush was in charge would the collective be poo -pooing this off? I’m just trying to understand.
And please please let’s all do what we can to keep the mods off of this…for once?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@woodcutter Wait, nobody was killed in the whole Contra thing? That’s not right. I’m pretty sure lots of Nicaraguans were tortured and killed.

I concur with what I think @SavoirFaire was getting at. This is really more of an excuse to further militarize the border area and allocate more funds to the border patrols. Not that there aren’t similarities.

woodcutter's avatar

@incendiary_dan sure plenty of Nicaraguans were killed in that war, but the scandal was uncovered before more aid went to the rebels, so technically they didn’t get that batch of money right? But Regan attempted to break the law and got caught- should have been impeached for it.
When CBS of all outlets shines a light on this that tells something. They’re not what you call right wing shills. The other left leaning media are keeping a lid on it which is no surprise.
Edit: The border is in all practicality, already militarized, by the drug runners and the civilian population. The border patrol get bean bag rounds to interdict smugglers, probably because Calderon cried that his people will be in danger if the authorities load up with ball ammunition. Really, El Presidente’? The Border Patrol get to use non lethal measures and the runners get AK-47’s. Sound fair to you?

woodcutter's avatar

It’s already common knowledge that the Mexican cartels are getting weapons, as well as the evidence they don’t need to get any weapons at all from the US. Courtesy of Julian Assange and Wiki leaks the cartels are getting their weapons from Central America as well as others, so, even if the US enforces a total ban on all privately owned firearms the cartels will have all the firepower they can get. So it’s safe to assume the state department has known this for a long, long time.

cletrans2col's avatar

No because the media will continue to kow-tow to Barry and sweep it under the rug.

woodcutter's avatar

@cletrans2col Who is Barry? I get what you mean about mainstream media. It’s hardly mentioned because of Obama, but if it was any other person the media would be popping like jiffy pop over this. I just don’t buy the idea of, “We may have made a mistake handling this.” C’mon people are dying as a result, some of them innocent. Something isn’t adding up.

tedd's avatar

@cletrans2col @woodcutter Oh yes because if there’s one thing the Media is known for, its giving Barrack Obama a break.


@woodcutter Here’s what happened. Someone at the DEA or whatever decided they could catch a bunch of drug lords, but they had to have the weapons as bait. They screwed up, BIG TIME, and the weapons ended up in the hands of un-captured drug dealers… Its a huge mess up by the American agency. But please, tell me how that has anything to do with the President? Do you honestly think the president is involved in every single operation, that every single agency in the Federal government takes part in? THAT is what doesn’t add up.

ragingloli's avatar

people, presidents included, do not get to know everything they want to know, just because they have a high enough clearance. There is also the “need to know” policy. If you have no “need to know” (and only god knows who decides that) you do not get access, no matter your clearance level.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think the issue, though, is that it becomes hard to believe that a joint operation between the ATF, DEA, FBI, and IRS was completely off both Obama and Holder’s radar. Maybe neither one knew about it, but that just seems unlikely.

tedd's avatar

@SavoirFaire I could believe that Holder was possibly briefed about it.

But in the grand scheme of things, the operation is nowhere near the scale or level of importance to warrant the attention of the President of the United States, and barely the attorney general.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think it depends on what the actual goal of the operation was. Just because ATF says it was something now that they are caught doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. I’m interested to see what information comes out as this progresses. I’m not saying that Holder and Obama were definitely involved, and it may turn out neither knew anything about it. I’m just saying that I’m not willing to take it for granted at this point.

TexasDude's avatar

…with the ATF’s track record, I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them.

cletrans2col's avatar

@tedd If you can’t see that the media is in the bag for Barry, then I can’t help you

woodcutter's avatar

It isn’t so much if Obama knew much, but if the AG didn’t know he should have. When the FBI, ICE, IRS, BATFE are involved, and Holder and the pres was put out of the loop then there’s some smackin of incompetence. All those agencies in the mix that may have involved hundreds of people?
Regan didn’t come out and take responsibility from the start. Instead he dragged the tax payers through hearings and the decision was made to throw Oliver North under the bus. It wasn’t till the end when Reagan took responsibility, whatever that was worth.
Who’s going to be Obama’s Oliver North? Kenneth Melson possibly? Obama has himself well insulated from this. Obama may have not known all the nuts and bolts of the operation but he knew and Holder knew. Now it becomes a matter of how much and how long they knew which will be another dragging of the taxpayers through the slop. It appears that the justice department is selectivity cooperating with the investigation with their witness tampering and redacted documents. They are withholding some info because the case is still under “investigation.” really?

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter I fail to see why you deem this operation, which frankly is not worth of the attention of more than one of those agencies imo, warrants the President of the United States’ attention. Half the time he isn’t briefed on drone missile strikes in Pakistan until after the fact.

I could believe the AG was briefed on it, but even then I would suspect it was nothing more than an in passing “hey we’re going to do this.”

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd You may think this operation may not have been worth the attention of all those agencies, but they were involved. No one can dispute that. Homeland Security was in on it. It was a pretty heavy operation, not like kicking in a door of some guy who has weapons inside illegally. The chain of responsibility goes upwards. There are so many drone missile strikes in Pakistan that it isn’t anything to make hay over anymore. The president may never know about every one of them. But that’s way over there. The political implications are different. It’s a war. This deal is domestic in nature with a neighboring country. It would be clever tactics for the higher ups have pre -determined fall guys so the curse doesn’t reach them. Hopefully the investigation will bear this out. The justice department is under investigation and they are basically saying to leave the investigating to themselves. And they are going to impartial? Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter I’m sorry but I believe you are seeing something where there is nothing. Some dudes messed up, end of story in my book.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd Suppose it was King George in charge, be honest now, don’t you think the media would be camping all over this until someone lost their job?

and that last comment did seem a bit condescending in my book,

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter King George? Honestly? You’re trying to substituted an 18th century British monarch for the current President of the US in a scenario?

If King George were in charge we probably never would’ve heard of it because anyone who got win of it would have been imprisoned. And also, he would just say “I’m the king, I make the laws, I’m selling guns to whoever the hell I feel like selling guns too.”

I’m assuming your attempt was to say that if someone who the media (or as I’m assuming you would call it the “liberal media”) hates were in charge, wouldn’t they be harassing him. Seemingly ignoring that the “right wing media” has been hounding the topic since it happened, and the “liberal media” has continued to mention it but on a defensive stance. Your charge of “oh if it weren’t a liberal they’d be all up in arms” is flawed, because its inspired by the exact same type of bias, just the opposite argument of it.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd King George = Bush II c’mon.
Right wing media on Fluther doesn’t count. Nobody or almost nobody here even pays any attention to it, right? Which ever way you want to understand what I’m saying the point is it’s true. If Bush was in charge do you really think MSNBC would bury this on page three?

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter No I don’t think MSNBC would bury it, just like Fox didn’t bury it when Obama was in charge. People come out and throw around the “liberal-media” accusation, assuming that all of the media in the country has some huge left wing bias… when the fact of the matter is Fox News gets more viewers and is bigger in the media than CNN or MSNBC, and almost as much as both of them combined. And when you go to the radio, there is virtually no strong left wing presence, and nothing remotely comparable to the power of Limbaugh or Beck. Hell News Corp (Rupert Murdochs company that owns Fox News) is not only the biggest media conglomerate in the US, but I’m pretty sure in the world. EVERYTHING in that company is conservative biased.

So I have a hard time agreeing with you that the “liberal-media” has ignored this, since the media is incredibly well split, and if anything has a conservative lean. I don’t think this would’ve sunk Bush anymore than its sinking Obama if the roles were reversed, because very clearly the president didn’t know what was going on.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd But how can you say for certain Obama didn’t know? Because he said so? How can anyone say for sure? We may never know. Even if he did know, he will take that one to his grave. Holder on the other hand is jacked either way. As top lawman he either had knowledge about it = bad, or he was left out of the loop = really bad.

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter You’re assuming again that this operation was some kind of huge National emergency level thing. The scope of this is barely worth the attorney generals time, let alone the president. If the President had to be briefed on every operation carried out by federal agencies that was at least this important….... he’d never sleep.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd The last news I read is that 150 Mexicans have been killed so far in crimes attributed to these mismanaged weapons, not including the US border patrol agent. To give these idiots cover by swooshing this under the rug as a “simple mistake” is is an outrage. If a US fighter jet lobbed a bomb wrong in Afghanistan and killed 150 people there, heads would roll. So are Afghan lives worth more than Mexican lives?,0,7742514.story

Just like during the Watergate flap, Nixon supporters wanted it to go away. And as details trickled in it became clear that it was the same thing playing out- it wasn’t the crime being investigated, it was the coverup of it that made it worse. Iran-Contra- there was digging through a coverup to get to the bottom of it, and fast and furious investigation is being stonewalled by the justice dept. You can bury 150 (and counting) dead Mexicans somewhere where you and I wont see but It is going to be some trick to cover them up.

tedd's avatar

@woodcutter Do you know how often our drone strikes accidentally kill Afghani and Pakistani civilians? Virtually every single strike does, and there are dozens of them a month. I’m not giving cover to the idiots that carried out this plan, my simple point is that on a scale of national politics or federal business, this operation was small. It did not warrant the attention of the President, and frankly imo it wouldn’t have warranted the attention of the Attorney General.

You are giving into people who have a clear agenda against the president, and believing them simply because you have similar beliefs as them. It doesn’t matter if those weapons go on to kill a MILLION US citizens, the operation was insignificant in the grand scheme of national politics, and hence was never brought to the attention of the President.

I mean for heavens sakes how many drug operations a day do you think are carried out in Mexico by some US agency? I’m willing to bet at least half a dozen are underway today. How many of them do you think the President knows about? .... I’m willing to bet none.

woodcutter's avatar

@tedd Drug operations are a whole different thing. That is part of the culture and has been for decades. It just looks like our authorities are talking out of both sides of their mouths here. They want to interdict weapons by giving them away?Please. There was this quote by a recent chief of staff saying, not letting a serious crisis go to waste. It kind of wraps itself around the false notion that it’s the yanks supplying these terrible guns to the Mexican drug cartels. It’s misinformation that the left is not clearing up because of their agenda of reinstating AWB. Let’s say for the sake of argument, the border agent was not killed and the plan went off without a hitch and the gun runners were caught. and all those weapons were seized in Mexico or even north of the border where they were hoping to stop them. Then the administration would be touting this success and thus implicating border gun dealers for this mess.“See we told you all, the US gun dealers were doing it all along” and people would have bought it. Wouldn’t you have? Case closed. We reinstate more gun bans and no one would have been the wiser.

So I reiterate: why the coverup? Why is the justice department foot dragging on this if there is nothing to hide? Why is congress having to pull teeth to get answers? Even you would agree that it is never wise to allow an department or any entity to be charged with investigating themselves, right?

This may seem worthy of sweeping under the rug to you, but I’m guessing the family members of that killed border patrol agent (Brian Terry) and the families of those 150 and counting murdered Mexicans would like some real answers. If it were your relatives killed I don’t think you would want to hear “we may have made a mistake.” Nobody is that patriotic to take one for the team. It’s looking like you believe lives are cheap. Really?
I just have a hard time thinking that many people involved in this are stupid. It looks very suspect even to any unbiased eye that something is rotten in Denmark.

woodcutter's avatar

If the assistant AG Lanny Breuer knew about this circus, then Holder knew. I find it hard to believe that an assistant is better informed than his boss. Obama and Holder are tight, Hell he was his legal adviser during the presidential campaign. Of course they talk. But that is what we are expected to believe. It’s a little late to claim ignorance which seems unwise at any time. Holder needs to go, maybe he can get a position assisting the New Black Panthers, if he’s not already.

I can empathize why the Democrats are playing this down, I really can. At the current snails pace this thing it moving, they fear its going to come to a crescendo sometime in the late summer of next year which would be the worst possible time for that. That much we all can agree on.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@tedd It doesn’t really matter if Obama knew or not, as POTUS he is responsible for the actions of his Secretaries and their departments.

Nixon didn’t have any direct knowledge of Watergate until after the fact, but he was still forced to resign. Rightly so, he was the boss.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t shill for one side or the other, I just call em the way I see em. It’s only natural for the party loyalists to play down any kind of scandal their hero’s get themselves into.

Said it once and I’ll say it again. This was an elaborate set up to frighten the shit out of the sheeple when all these so called “assault rifles” started showing up in Mexico with serial #‘s traceable to US gun dealers. It would be the proof the administration would need to try to push more dumb “common sense” gun control on us all.

The people who these weapons were supposed to be heading to were paid informants the justice dept was cozy with already. They weren’t going to get any surprises when they fell into their hands. But they were outfoxed by real professionals and the guns dissapeared before they could make it to their guys. Either way they went: dropped off at their informants, or, set loose on the Mexican people was a win/ win for the BATFE. Fuck it then, they will recover the guns off of cold bodies and stir up even more anti gun dander amongst the US gun-ignorant crowd.

It was a shitty plan and they got caught. Man up and face the music people.
I didn’t vote for Obama but I knew he was going to win and I really did have High hopes for him and his Democratic controlled congress (at the time) to get something done right. He got handed a big jacked up mess and I was hoping for some of this “change” he was talking about. But as to be expected, with the way he cut his teeth in the corrupt Chicago politic machine he tries to bring some of that BS to the federal level. It’s arrogant as shit to think this scheme was going to work, because it has been working in Chicago for decades. I can overlook a lot of BS but when something of this magnitude goes down he loses a lot of my respect.

Oh. and by the way, What the hell happened to all this transparency he was going to bring to DC? Only a noob would say that out loud in an election campaign. He talks a good game and like an effective con man he gets people hook, line, and sinker. If he goes down for this I doubt that even his peeps are going to feel too bad for him. But he won’t go down he will throw some people under the bus.

He’s going to need a very long bus.

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