There is a real drug war being waged on our border with Mexico. Drug cartels are clashing, U.S. agents on this side are struggling to keep the violence out of America, often without success, and the innocent are dying.
There is also a fake drug war being waged by Rep. Darrell Iss a (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa has been running a search-and-destroy mission not against the drug cartels, but against our own attorney general. Instead of prosecuting criminals, he now is pushing for a House vote on holding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not acceding to his fishing expedition. This unprecedented maneuver could lead to a constitutional crisis.
Issa’s fake drug war is not investigating the war raging on our borders. Rather, his offensive is targeted at harassing the U.S. attorney general and winning political points against the president in the 2012 presidential election season.
At issue is a misguided program that began in the Bush years as “Operation Wide Receiver.” Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives cooked up a plan to sell guns to presumed criminals, allow those same guns to “walk” across the border so they could be tracked when used in crimes and, ultimately, lead to the arrests of supposed of higher-ups in the Mexican drug cartels.
Not surprisingly, many of the guns disappeared, as discovered by the Holder-run Department of Justice in 2009. This ill-conceived program was continued under President Barack Obama and Holder, renamed “Fast and Furious” and remained under the radar until a few of the lost guns resurfaced near the scene of the murder of ATF Agent Brian Terry in a drug shoot-out in Arizona.
Holder immediately ended the program, dismissed or transferred the officials responsible and dispatched an inspector general to investigate how and why this “gun walking” operation was done. Although this program began under Michael Mukasey, George W. Bush’s attorney general, Holder took responsibility for it and apologized to Terry’s parents.