In my experience, there are two ways that the mainstream media blames Bush for problems that exist three years after he left the Oval Office:
1. They blame Bush when something is bad that they think should not be considered Obama’s fault.
2. They blame Bush when there is no denying that Obama is at fault, so they try to soften it with a dose of moral relativism (Bush did it too!).
Such is the case with operation Fast & Furious, the ATF’s gunwalking experiment that has resulted in countless weapons being transported to the cartel-controlled portions of Mexico and has possibly resulted in the deaths of American border agents.
Last week, after Congressman Darrel Issa subpoenaed Attorney General Eric Holder, the media was very quiet on the matter. Some outlets at least went to the trouble of reporting that it occurred, but few actually offered any analysis on its importance or potential political ramifications. This is startling, considering the wall-to-wall coverage granted to “lawyer-gate” when Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General under Bush. That scandal eventually forced Gonzales to resign, and the analysis offered during the drama was seemingly without end.
The Associated Press did manage to pick up a story that allowed them to implement Blame Bush2.0 (that’s the “he did it too” version) when Friday it was revealed that, apparently, there was a gun-walking operation at the ATF that took place in his administration, also called “Operation Wide Receiver.”
My former home paper, The Charlotte Observer (which endorsed Obama in the 2008 elections), has the definitive headline: “Gun-Walking Started During Bush Administration.”
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show how in a 2007 investigation in Phoenix, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – depending on Mexican authorities to follow up – let guns “walk” across the border in an effort to identify higher-ups in gun networks. Justice Department policy has long required that illicit arms shipments be intercepted whenever possible.
The Obama administration, counting on the media to play their role in forwarding the correct narrative, released the documents showing these facts in an attempt to deflect blame for the current debacle by making it appear to be a continuation of Bush policy.
Instead, they have shown that the Obama administration, the DOJ and the ATF decided to use a tactic that, under the Bush administration, had already shown to be ineffective and dangerous. The fact that they pursued the policy in spite of this previous failed attempt, which the ATF acknowledges resulted in hundreds of weapons disappearing into Mexico, is a testament to their incompetence, not a deflection of blame.
The fact that the Bush administration engaged in this tactic also has no bearing on the key questions now being asked: When did President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and other members of the administration know what was happening south of the border?
In their continued quest to protect the President from media scrutiny, liberal hacks Media Matters use some very shaky reasoning:
[The] Examiner claims that “senior Holder aides” knew about the operation’s controversial tactics, and that it is “highly unlikely” they didn’t inform the Attorney General:
[The Justice Department says] Holder knew about the program, but did not know about the program’s details. But the emails obtained by CBS News show that is highly unlikely. For instance, an Oct. 17, 2010, email from Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein to Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty, questions the wisdom of having Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer attend a press conference associated with Fast and Furious, “given the number of guns that have walked.” These emails make clear that senior Holder aides knew that allowing dangerous gun sales to go forward were at the heart of Operation Fast and Furious. It’s highly unlikely that they did not alert Holder to these facts, Best case: Holder has surrounded himself with incompetents and should fire them forthwith. Worst case: Holder lied when he denied knowing about the gun-running scheme and should get the boot himself. [emphasis added]
The Weinstein email to which the Examiner refers states: “Do you think we should try to have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case are unsealed? It’s a tricky case, given the number of guns that have walked, but it is a significant set of prosecutions.”
But according to DOJ, Weinstein’s references to “guns that have walked” wasn’t to Operation Fast and Furious, but rather to “Laura’s Tucson case,” which Justice Department sources identified as the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver. According to DOJ, as in Fast and Furious, Wide Receiver involved ATF allowing guns to be trafficked in hopes of tracing them and taking down a trafficking network. DOJ says Trusty and Weinstein did not know that guns had been walked in Operation Fast and Furious at the time of their email exchange.
Actually, despite the fact that the one phrase “tricky case” does indeed refer to Wide Receiver and not to Fast & Furious, the email itself is referring to both operations. So yes, Media Matters, Holder’s aids did in fact know about the issues that might arise from gun-walking in Fast and Furious. The fact that they referred to Wide Receiver as well does not change this fact.
It would be an illogical conclusion of elephantine proportions to assume that amidst discussing the two operations in depth, referencing their impending unsealing, along with the indisputable fact that guns have been walked as a direct result of Fast & Furious, that somehow Weinstein was unaware of this solitary fact among the dozens of other admissions.
The fact that he’s concerned about discussing Fast & Furious whilst unsealed documents would show gun-walking in Wide Receiver is all the evidence you need. Why in the world would he even be linking these two operations together if that particular similarity didn’t exist? Why would there have been a concern?
Despite the best attempts of the MSM and their pet dog Media Matters, it is abundantly clear that people in the highest levels of the Department of Justice knew of the operation, knew of its implications, knew of the previous attempts made during the Bush years and still chose to pursue it.
All of that can only lead to one possible conclusion for the national media: Blame Bush.
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