Issa Report Again Debunks Right-Wing Media's Fast And Furious Conspiracy Theory

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Breitbart.com blogger Ken Klukowski has joined the ranks of right-wing figures hyping the bogus conspiracy theory that the ATF's botched Operation Fast and Furious was actually a secret Obama administration plot to undermine the Second Amendment rather than an operation to bring down Mexican drug cartels. However, the lead Republican investigating the Fast and Furious operation, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), has repeatedly released reports that have debunked this theory.

Klukowski wrote that "the NRA has been pushing for information regarding who knew what in the administration, and any related political objectives being pursued by Team Obama." Klukowski also quoted NRA chief lobbyist Christopher Cox as saying that "[a]ccording to their internal emails, it was all to advance their gun-control agenda."

But in a May 3 memorandum and accompanying report attempting to lay the groundwork for a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, Issa said that the Fast and Furious operation to allow straw purchasers to buy and transfer guns without being arrested was conceived because law enforcement officials "hoped the weapons, after they were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, could be traced and linked to cartel operatives including possible high-level financiers, suppliers, and possibly even king-pins."

From Issa's memorandum:

Fast and Furious Conceived

The ATF Phoenix Field Division began Operation Fast and Furious in the fall of 2009 after suspicious weapons purchases led agents to the discovery of an apparent Phoenix-based arms trafficking syndicate. Having been encouraged to devise grander strategies to stop the transfers of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, the Phoenix based agents devised a strategy that went beyond simple arrests or weapons confiscations. They would allow the U.S.-based associates of a Mexican drug cartel to continue acquiring firearms uninterrupted. In doing so, they hoped the weapons, after they were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, could be traced and linked to cartel operatives including possible high-level financiers, suppliers, and possibly even king-pins.

The operation sought to achieve its lofty goals by focusing on the ringleader of the weapons smuggling syndicate they had identified: Manuel Celis-Acosta. Celis-Acosta was using a then-unknown number of straw-purchasers, including Jamie Avila, to purchase weapons.

At no point in the 17-page memo or accompanying 44-page draft contempt citation against Holder did Issa assert that the program may have had a different, more nefarious purpose.

And this is not the first time an Issa report has debunked the theory that the real purpose of Fast and Furious was to push for stricter gun laws. In June 2011, a "joint staff report" prepared for Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated: "The purpose [of Fast and Furious] was to wait and watch, in the hope that law enforcement could identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case."

So unless Issa is part of the anti-Second Amendment conspiracy, it's pretty clear that Fast and Furious had nothing to do with pushing for stricter gun laws.

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