NEWS BLOG: Fast and furious theatrics



The day before Congress voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, an article published by Katherine Eban in Fortune Magazine essentially gutted the rationale for the move. Fortune is hardly a left-leaning pub, so it’s certainly worth the read in light of what is happening.

Republicans went after Holder because he refused to turn over any more documents involving “Fast and Furious.”

The case sounds like a new Clint Eastwood movie, but it’s the name given to a 2009 operation involving the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The ATF’s Phoenix division was trying to stop gun trafficking from the Phoenix area into Mexico, but something went wrong and an officer, Brian Terry, was killed.

Eban reports that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. But the opportunity for political mayhem has taken over. And here we are.

Obviously, there were mistakes. But Republicans aren’t interested in knowing what happened to Officer Terry. They, largely at the behest of the National Rifle Association, have concocted one story after another to politicize the event and stir up the conservative base.

None is more bizarre than the one about the Obama administration actually orchestrating the whole thing in order to whip up anti-gun sentiment in the US.

It’s kind of hard to believe that some reasonably intelligent members of Congress have appeared on one news show after another spewing such crazy nonsense. If they really believe this kind of stuff, they shouldn’t be allowed to drive much less hold office.

There is no evidence linking Officer Terry’s death to President Obama. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Republicans are desperately trying to make the connection.

Republicans are busy trying to debunk Eban’s work. But similar reports are surfacing.




  1. Mr. Macaluso’s glaring use of the passive voice (“but something went wrong and an officer, Brian Terry, was killed”) suggests a fundamental unseriousness about the topic as well as of his death. Yes, something went very seriously wrong, and Agt. Terry died as a result. What went wrong should be thoroughly investigated. And Macaluso has the gall to make the statemtent that “Republicans aren’t interested in knowing what happened to Officer Terry”. Really, Mr. Macaluso? You looked into their hearts and know based on some inscrutable insight that they don’t want to know what happened and why? How does your statement rise above a sick and unsupported projection of malice? Here’s the question you should be asking: If there is innocence all around on the part of the Administration, why release less than a tenth of the documents covered by the subpoena? This, folks, is what it looks like when ersatz journalists abandon any reasonable sense of objective curiosity to tell a story that best fits what they want to believe and want to be true. It’s how they lose any shred of credibility.

  2. Craig – May we assume that, since you’re so steamed up over the Obama administration invoking executive privilege for the first time, you must have been REALLY honked off over the six times it was invoked by the Cheney-Bush Administration (including once to reject a subpoena issued for his bud Karl Rove, who’s now hypocritically whining about Obama’s daring to invoke the same privilege). And if your education extends back that far, you must be positively apoplectic over the fact that Eisenhower invoked executive privilege FORTY FOUR times in 6 years.

  3. j.a.m. · · Reply

    Yes, yes, move right along, nothing to see here.

    Anybody recall the good old days, when journalists actually thought their job was to hold the powerful to account, without fear or favor? The author’s puppy-dog devotion stands that quaint notion on its head.

    Hundreds of innocent people are dead, including a federal officer. Somebody’s responsible, and somebody’s stonewalling. But please we must not let this unpleasantness besmirch our beloved messiah. Mistakes were made, nothing is to be done, move right along.

  4. cliint · · Reply


    No, lots of us who voted for Obama, with the promise that he was the different leader we wanted are now tainted by his continuation of those things we hated. It is interesting (let me stress, I did not vote for McCain) that suddenly, all those things Bush did are defendable if the “Imperial President” does them, but, if anyone dares question the media about their coverage (giving Tim the benefit of the doubt by calling him media) we need to, not hold this administration responsible, but rather, point to the last! Why not go back to Reagan or Nixon or Eisenhower? Here is our problem…it is not the past…it is the present!

  5. If I had impugned the notion of executive privilege itself, you would have a point, Chaim.

    Until then,


  6. Craig – Nice try ! But the GOP’s underlying hope (usually realized) has always been that the dim-witted audience for their complaints about Obama is too ignorant of what has transpired in their government in even the past few years, let along the past half century or more) to be able to place any current occurrence in the proper historical context. The sturm und drang put forth by hypocrites like Rove is predicated, not on the legal justification of Obama’s invoking of executive privilege, but rather on trying to less-than-subtly convince the masses that such an invocation in and of itself is a shocking and unique misuse of presidential power. To that end they count on the fact that very few will recall the far greater use of that privilege by previous presidents, including Republican presidents.

    So to bring the fact that Republicans are no strangers to invoking executive privilege is not to justify Obama’s use of it as you seem intent on arguing (and neither you nor I know whether he did so to cover up embarrassing facts or as a legitimate exercise in separation of powers) but simply to keep the playing field level and the debate honest.

    And for someone taking the position you have to admit that they were conned into voting for Obama by a bunch of campaign slogans speaks more to their past gullibility than to their present credibility.

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