Appearing on the May 10 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, former South Carolina Governor and current Fox News Contributor Mark Sanford became the latest media figure to push the bogus conspiracy theory that the botched Fast and Furious operation was actually a nefarious plot against the Second Amendment.
Fast and Furious was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigation into illegal guns diverted from the United States to drug cartels in Mexico that took place between 2009 and 2011. It employed the controversial tactic of allowing guns to be trafficked into Mexico with the hope that these firearms could be traced to high-level cartel figures. Ultimately some 2,000 firearms were allowed to enter Mexico, after which many of them were lost, while others were recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States.
Last year, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, began an investigation into the failed operation. Issa and other House Republicans soon raised the possibility that Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in Fast and Furious, an allegation that Holder denies. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Congressman Issa are currently engaged in a dispute concerning whether DOJ has disclosed to the House Oversight Committee all of the information required under federal law.
Sanford began his appearance by mouthing the standard Republican talking points, but then things got weird:
MARK SANFORD, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: A lot of people raise this question. Were the guns actually out there because this guy [Attorney General Eric Holder] happens to be against Second Amendment and would like to see more gun control in this country and therefore is there a whole lot of fire behind the little bit of smoke we have seen in frankly challenges to the Second Amendment that go to the core to what the constitutional makeup of this government is about?
Or put more simply, Sanford is saying that "a lot of people" want to know if "Fast and Furious" was a plot hatched by Attorney General Eric Holder to curb gun rights in the United States. The answer to this question is a resounding no.
This conspiracy was recently laid out in the book Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-up, authored by Townhall news editor Katie Pavlich. The theory is so far-fetched that even Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has expressed skepticism, calling it a "conspiracy thing." Media Matters has previously debunked several other outrageous claims contained within the book.
Oddly enough, during Sanford's appearance on Fox News today Pavlich took to Twitter to attack the former governor for botching his facts:
It was only after Sanford nearly verbatim regurgitated her paranoid conspiracy theory that Pavlich lightened up:
Pavlich was probably correct in her initial assessment that Sanford had no idea what he was talking about. But given the outrageous nature of the claims made by Pavlich and Sanford over the last few weeks, it should be clear that neither Pavlilch nor Sanford actually know what they are talking about when it comes to Fast and Furious.