Fox News Asks “Is Fast and Furious An Act Of Treason?”

In the latest example of their conspiratorial and irresponsible coverage of the topic, this morning Fox News asked whether the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Fast and Furious operation was “an act of treason.” Fox offered no evaluation of their immensely serious and factually unsupported suggestion that American law enforcement officials were possibly guilty of conspiring against the country.

On America's Newsroom, Fox “straight news” anchor Bill Hemmer read a viewer's question about whether Fast and Furious “constitute[s] a treasonous act.” He then asked Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), “is this treason, what's the definition?” Gosar declined to define or make any assessment on the matter, saying only “we're trying to get all the facts on this” before explaining the actions Congress can take to remove government officials. Hemmer then moved on to Gosar's efforts to get Attorney General Eric Holder to resign.

During the segment, Fox aired a caption which asked, “Is Fast And Furious An Act Of Treason?”


Merriam-Webster defines treason as follows:

The offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family.

There is simply nothing that suggests that the mistakes in Fast and Furious were part of any effort to overthrow the government or do anything similar. Any suggestion otherwise is grossly irresponsible.

A joint staff report prepared for House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated that the goal of Operation Fast and Furious was to “identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case.”

From the report:

In the fall of 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed a risky new strategy to combat gun trafficking along the Southwest Border. The new strategy directed federal law enforcement to shift its focus away from seizing firearms from criminals as soon as possible -- and to focus instead on identifying members of trafficking networks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented that strategy using a reckless investigative technique that street agents call “gunwalking.” ATF's Phoenix Field Division began allowing suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns. The purpose 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.


The operation's goal was to establish a nexus between straw purchasers of assault-style weapons in the United States and Mexican drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) operating on both sides of the United States-Mexico border. Straw purchasers are individuals who are legally entitled to purchase firearms for themselves, but who unlawfully purchase weapons with the intent to transfer them into the hands of DTOs or other criminals. [Joint Staff Report on The Department Of Justice's Operation Fast And Furious: Accounts Of ATF Agents, 6/14/11]