The California Republican kicked off the call with a brief statement reporting that Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, now says that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the gunwalking program.That number has been revised significantly upward from earlier unofficial claims of approximately 150 deaths attributed to Operation Fast and Furious guns.
The revelation of the increased body count comes less than 24 hours after the Los Angeles Times published a story that rightly describes the actions of the Obama administration as an unresolved betrayal.
This betrayal — and Morales pulled no punches in using that exact word — is being ignored by the majority of the U.S. mainstream media, which vacillate from pretending that Gunwalker was just a minor law enforcement snafu to echoing White House-orchestrated attempts to smear the Oversight Committee chairman and obstruct the investigation.
As to the question of a special prosecutor,
Perhaps the most important clarification to come out of the call was confirmation that the Oversight Committee does indeed intend to call for a special prosecutor once they have completed their own investigation, which they optimistically would like to have wrapped up by the end of the year. Chairman Issa was quick to point out that finishing the House investigation by the end of the year hinged upon a transparent and timely release of information from the executive branch, including the federal law enforcement agencies involved and the Obama White House.
The White House has thus far refused to divulge any of the documentation the congressional investigators have asked for, and the administration’s political appointees are stymieing all attempts to get information out of the Justice Department, Homeland Security, and other involved agencies. Rep. Issa seemed quite aware that his goal of resolving the congressional investigation in 2011 was going to be obstructed by an administration in full cover-up mode.
Why no SP yet?
Issa also revealed that the reason a special prosecutor has not yet been brought in to investigate the plot is that once a special prosecutor begins to investigate, the Oversight Committee has to stop its own inquiry. The committee wants to be certain that they have explored every avenue and leave no source or witness uninvestigated before turning over the case. He also pointed out that a special prosecutor will be a Department of Justice employee investigating his own employer. Thus, Issa wants to be certain that they have enough knowledge to hold the prosecutor accountable.
And a flat conclusion from Issa:
After reiterating that every law enforcement agent that has been asked about Operation Fast and Furious has said that there is no way that it could have been a viable law enforcement operation, I asked Chairman Issa if there was any evidence of another reason for the implementation of Operation Fast and Furious and the other alleged gun-walking operations.
“This was dumb, it was useless, and it was lethal,” was the soundbite most of us will take away from the call in answer to that question, but his longer answer — which I regret I do not have a transcript of — is far more telling.
Nothing in his response could be construed to mean that Rep. Issa thought Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation. And if it does not appear to have been implemented as a legitimate law enforcement operation, then we are left with the possible alternative that the goal of the operation was both illegitimate and unlawful.
Issa put it rather bluntly: “The administration wanted to show that guns found in Mexico came from the United States.”
So, after all the investigation and testimony and evidence so far, that's the conclusion. A number of people have said it before; Issa said it after all the information he's seen. I think the SP, when he's chosen, better be ready to dig and subpoena and hold nothing back; otherwise he'll get his ass ripped off.
Also, from Codrea & Sipsey Street, on another BATF e-mail that's come out,
Examined objectively, Rubenstein admitted guns were purposely allowed to walk, that walking guns to a foreign country must be hidden from the public, and that if the Mexicans found out about it, cooperative law enforcement efforts would be jeopardized.
“If ‘1desertrat’ is an ATF employee,” Rubenstein advised, “then he/she is subject to our Orders and Standards of Conduct.”
Examined objectively, Rubenstein admitted "1desertrat's" allegations were true, otherwise, there could be no disclosure of official information, nor jeopardizing of operations, personnel or relationships.