At various points along the path of US history, events take place that are so seared into our collective consciousness that landmarks become vivid, visual representations of their legacies. Two examples include the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, and the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. When visiting these places, those who remember the events re-live them; those who were not yet born or politically aware, imagine what it must have been like while soaking in the historic significance.
Today, a time in American history may be unfolding that incorporates elements of both the MLK assassination and the Watergate coverup. It involves both murder and stonewalls. It’s name is Operation Fast and Furious and its landmark may one day be a gun store named the Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, AZ. It was at this store that two guns, which were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, were purchased. Terry’s murder was the flashpoint in a scandal that has been unraveling in a way not all that dissimilar from Wategate but with far more severe ramifications for those involved.
When ATF whistleblower John Dodson found out that Fast and Furious guns were found at Terry’s murder scene, he came forward. Those two guns came from Lone Wolf. Worse, evidence has since surfaced that shows at least one gun store owner was instructed by ATF Group Supervisor David Voth, to sell weapons to Dodson, ostensibly for the purpose of giving them to bad guys like the one who murdered Terry.
In the case of Memphis, the flashpoint was instantaneous. In fact, it resulted from the flash at the point of a gun. The Watergate’s claim to infamy was a much slower burn. Its relevance in the pages of history was written over many, many months. As the facts slowly seeped out from between the cracks of an administration’s stonewall, Americans began to realize just how significant the scandal had become. Though the impeachment of a US president was not unprecedented, it had only happened once before and Andrew Johnson was not convicted by the Senate.
Conversely, Richard Nixon’s role in the coverup, coupled with key players who were not willing to fall on the sword, made him the most likely candidate for going down in history as the first president to be impeached and convicted. Resignation, though no less indelible, at least carried with it, the air of tacit admission; a conviction would have meant a prideful fall. Nixon wisely chose the former.
At this point, Fast and Furious has not reached Obama but it’s getting very, very close after only seven months since Dodson came forward; Nixon’s resignation occurred more than two years after the Watergate break-in. New revelations indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder may have perjured himself in front of a House Judiciary committee on May 3rd when he said he had only recently heard about the operation. Memos show he had been briefed nearly a year earlier.
One of the memos to Holder about Fast and Furious, obtained by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS, originated with Asst Attorney General Lanny Breuer. A defense floated by the DOJ was that Holder doesn’t read everything that comes across his desk. By implication, this seems to indicate a willingness to throw Breuer under the bus. The question then becomes, will Breuer go willingly? It’s a very big bus that will push more than a career into the dirt; we’re talking lives.
Moreover, e-mails released by the White House show that there were multiple communications between National Security staffer Kevin O’Reilly and the ATF Special Agent overseeing Fast and Furious, William Newell.
To this point, every high ranking member of consequence in the Obama administration who has been asked about Fast and Furious, to include DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Assistant Attorney General, Robert Weich, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama himself have all had one default response; the DOJ Inspector General is investigating. Obama has even said neither he nor Holder authorized Fast and Furious just before the president asserted he had not even been informed about it:
Now that Holder may have committed perjury, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has called on President Obama to appoint an “independent and objective special counsel” to investigate.
As this White House scandal grows, the likelihood of a symbolic landmark to accompany it grows as well. That landmark would almost certainly be the Lone Wolf Trading Company.
Memphis, TN, Washington, D.C. and Glendale, AZ.
Ben Barrack is a talk show host on KTEM 1400 in Texas and maintains a website at benbarrack.com