I've been posting about how Fox News has suddenly been using the parents of murdered Border Agent Brian Terry to promote its Fast and Furious attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder - and just at the same time as Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been doing the same thing. Lo and behold, I caught Fox & Friends Steve Doocy joining the club on Friday (6/22/12).
In a heated discussion with Geraldo Rivera, Doocy said, "I know you think it's a political witch hunt, but there are a couple of parents... There is a dead federal agent involved here and his parents, Kent and Josephine Terry, were on the Hannity program last night. They are upset, they can't get the full story from this administration. They feel they're hiding something." Doocy went on to play a clip of the Terrys' attack lines against the Obama administration.
As Rivera responded, the banner on the lower third of the screen read, "'FURIOUS' WITHOUT ANSWERS: TERRY'S PARENTS SAY ADMIN IS LYING ON GUN OP." Later, a banner read, "'HIDING SOMETHING BIG' SLAIN AGENT'S PARENTS CALL OUT HOLDER, WH." However, later, as Rivera made an excellent argument about why Fast and Furious is a lot of fury over nothing, a banner read, "POLITICAL WITCH HUNT?"
We’re makin’ lotsa noise ta drown out the screams of our saintly churches’ choir boys!
1. F&F was indeed a continuation of Wide Receiver, which didn’t work well either, and which didn’t see a lot of help from the Mexican government, who said the same things under WR – that they weren’t informed, that they didn’t know, etc. Some WR prosecutions actually happened under the Obama Admin.
2. The right wing meme promoted by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News about F&F and some evil conspiracy to gut the 2nd Amendment is laughable. There is no evidence of this, yet right wing pundits keep shouting and repeating it, hoping it will stick. If anything, it’s a sign of how desperate the GOP is becoming about the upcoming election. They know their nominee was not the choice of 70 percent of the primary voters, and they’re becoming panicked about what will happen when he has his Etch-a-Sketch moment and takes less than hard right positions in September.
3. There is no trail to speak of in the documents Darrell Issa has repeatedly changed up in demanding. It’s a matter of Issa having a pattern of harassing and overstepping his bounds in maintaining a fishing expedition for over a year. The idea of “this puts us inside the White House” makes little sense in the present context. With Watergate, it was due to Nixon and his cronies trying to cover up their criminal acts. With Iran/Contra, it was due to many Reagan Admin members and cronies committing criminal acts to pursue a foreign policy that was outside the constitution and certainly resulted in many deaths in Central America and the Middle East. With the Wilson/Plame matter, it was criminal activity conducted by staffers in the Bush Admin to punish someone for publicly challenging them, and the outing of Plame certainly resulted in multiple agents and sources in the Middle East being exposed and endangered. We’ll never know how many people died Asa result of the criminal actions taken re Wilson/Plame, but it’s clear that the Bush Admin was not concerned about that consequence.
The current matter re F&F is a discussion of a discontinued policy that Eric Holder has repeatedly testified to Congress about and provided over 7500 documents to give Darrell Issa what he can without jeopardizing ongoing investigations. Among the ongoings is the matter of Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout by a gunman with an AK who fled the scene with his gun and is still at large in Mexico. At that same crime scene, 2 F&F AKs were recovered, but the bullet used to kill Terry didn’t come from either one. So it’s a canard that Terrywas killed by F&F, and a particularly despicable one by the right wingers who are throwing rocks at a President they dislike and hiding behind the body and parents of a Border Patrol Agent.
4. The whistleblowers you refer to are listed on various right wing blogs and posts, including one put on this site this weekend, and it’s interesting that the list comes verbatim from a Fox News article. No other news organization, like AP or anything else, has stories about those guys other than to note that when they testified for the GOP panel, the Obama Admin challenged their credibility. The one prominent voice, John Dodson, was shown to have been completely hypocritical in his denunciations, but this only came out from a memo leaked by Dennis Burke, who the Obama Admin then pushed into resigning.
5. If the Dems are laughing at all, it would be because they can’t believe the GOP is so desperate as to try this contempt vote – which will come down to a party line situation that will have no force of law. If they’re laughing, it would be because they know this nothing more than a revenge move for the investigation of the Wilson/Plame matter and the conviction of Scooter Libby, as well as for the forced resignation of Alberto Gonzales.
If there’re laughing, it would be because they know Darrell Issa is an unscrupulous career politician who is trying to puff himself up and look more important than he is. His past history is instructive, especially his failed attempt to become governor of California by orchestrating the recall of Gray Davis. When Issa realized that Arnold Schwarzenegger was about to steal his thunder, Issa threw a public tantrum about how he couldn’t get his way. Issa knows this committee chairmanship will be the highest political position he’ll ever hold, and he’s trying to make the most of it by repeatedly grandstanding in public and throwing tantrums. His conduct during Holder’s appearances has been truly horrific. And now that he’s been told by the Obama Admin to ease down after months of making ridiculous and constantly changing document demands, he doesn’t know how to save face gracefully. He’d rather get humiliated in public again, this time with a fruitless floor vote on party lines, than admit that he’s not the big dog he wishes he had been.
6. F&F, like WR, was certainly a bad policy, and it’s a good thing it was stopped. Clearly some guys in both the Bush and Obama Justice Depts thought it would be an inventive way to snare more targets and add more charges when they did. And clearly, hindsight shows us, this didn’t work well for either Admin.
As for the casualties from F&F, that’s an unknown. It’s very likely that some Mexicans were killed by drug gangs that had these weapons. We don’t know the number. The only articles to mention this use either a number of 200 sourced to Darrell Issa or a number of 150 sourced to a Mexican politician whose account was challenged as a political statement rather than a factual one. Since no evidence has been presented other than, say, Darrell Issa’s opinion, there’s no way to know the true number at this point. Given Issa’s penchant for grandstanding, I’d say the number is much lower. But I will say that it’s nice to know the right wingers care about the deaths of Mexican civilians. Usually the comments heard on right wing blogs and boards are far less sympathetic, like when they’re discussing people crossing the border.
As for the death of an American, that is not factually correct. Brian Terry wasn’t killed by a F&F AK. And the death of Jaime Zapata was also not killed by an F&F weapon. You could say that their deaths happened in circumstances tangentially connected to F&F, but that kind of connection could be made about many law enforcement operations. One suspect in a shootout might well be involved in multiple other illegal activities that each have their own investigation or operation concurrently running. Either way, it puts the lie to the shameful way the right wing pundits and the GOP are trying to work up crocodile tears about the real deaths of two law enforcement officers in order to score cheap political points in an election year. Where were these pundits when Pat Tillman’s parents wanted to know what happened to their son? Why did the same pundits openly and despicably attack Cindy Sheehan for having the temerity to ask Bush about the death of her son?
7. If you want to compare body counts, I agree that there have likely been casualties in Mexico due to F&F. They didn’t happen because of Eric Holder’s testimony before Congress. They happened as a result of a policy he stopped once he knew what was going on with the continuation of Bush Admin ongoing ideas. With Watergate, I don’t believe there were direct casualties, but you must remember that the criminal coverup done by the Nixon people of the criminal break-in was done to cover a lot of intelligence activities which may well have involved casualties of their own. Given their nature, we’ll never know. With Iran/Contra, there were anywhere from hundreds to thousands of Nicaraguan, Iranian and Iraqi casualties, as a direct result of the criminal arms sales to Iran and the funneling of the money to the murderous Contra forces. With the Wilson/Plame matter, there were certainly casualties in terms of the agents and sources who were exposed in the Middle East when Rove and Cheney had Plame’s cover blown to punish her husband. But like Watergate, we’ll never know the names of those people, as the CIA isn’t in the habit of divulging that kind of information.
8. The F&F story has never had “legs” other than in the right wing press outlets like Fox News or right wing radio stations. Because it’s obviously just a GOP witch hunt against an Attorney General they’ve been trying to hound out of office since day one. They tried the Black Panther thing, and it didn’t stick. They tried with F&F, and only right wingers bought it. They tried with the “leak” scandal, and again, no dice. It’s sad that they keep trying the same idea over and over (Attack Holder and imply he’s somehow dirty) hoping they can create a fact on the ground by telling the same falsehoods as many times as possible. If they would admit that they’re just angry that Alberto Gonzales was properly asked to step down, and that they’re angry that the Bush people were caught exposing Plame’s status, this would be a lot easier to handle.
It honestly gets tiresome having to constantly refute so many tired talking points, so few of which have any basis in reality. It’s like trying to argue with a Birther or a 911 conspiracy theorist – the reality is so far away from the mythology in the talking points that it’s hard to find a starting point of reference.