The Project Gunrunner, or “Operation Fast and Furious,” investigation is moving to the next level with hearings set this week in which the border agents who worked in the field while weapons were being dispatched to Mexican drug lords will testify.
“This hearing will focus mainly on how Mexican officials and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) officials stationed in Mexico were kept in the dark on Operation Fast and Furious,” said Becca Watkins, a spokeswoman for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The controversy is over a program set up by the federal government that reportedly allowed banned individuals to buy hundreds, maybe thousands, of guns with the knowledge they probably would be taken to Mexico and used in that nation’s drug-related violence.
Investigative journalist and Second Amendment analyst Mike Vanderboegh says the witnesses probably will name names.
“There are names within Justice, not just in the ATF, that come up time and again in this. One of them is Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. I rather suspect that his name will be mentioned this time,” Vanderboegh said. Breuer was one of President Clinton’s lawyers during Clinton’s impeachment.
Vanderboegh said it looks like the government itself, from the highest level, was trying to undermine the Constitution.
“They’re gradually building a case for a much wider, national
conspiracy. By the end of this process, they’ll be able to prove that
orders came from the very top,” Vanderboegh said.
“They’re also building a case showing that Fast and Furious was only one component of a much larger plan. I believe that’s what’s going to happen,” he said.
Listen to an interview with Vanderboegh:
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told San Diego talk-radio host Roger Hedgecock that this phase of the hearings will focus on Mexico.
Vanderboegh said an important part of these hearings will feature ATF agents who began to make noise about the operation in Mexico.
“The hearings are going to deal with how the attachés in Mexico were severely limited by headquarters and how they were kept in the dark – how they were lied to,” Vanderboegh said.
“When you have a fellow like Darren Gil who used to be the attaché in Mexico City, who lost his job because he protested too much about the fact that they were not telling the Mexicans, that the entire program was a mess,” Vanderboegh said.
“Remember, as I said, Darren Gil risked his career and, in fact, lost his career by opposing the policy of not telling the Mexican government; Darren Gil is another one of the unsung heroes in this,” Vanderboegh said.
“He thought that this was a policy that originated out of Phoenix, so he began to try to correct it, and he was himself corrected by the people in headquarters. He will be naming names,” Vanderboegh stated.
Vanderboegh said that what happened to Gil is tragic but expected.
“When you track a dangerous tiger, you do it very carefully and methodically, and make no mistakes, otherwise you’ll get eaten,” Vanderboegh said.
“There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded bureaucracy that has federal power, and badges and guns, and the ability to put people in jail or wreck their lives,” he added.
WND reported last week that there are rumors that the Justice Department may retaliate against the whistleblowing agents. Watkins says that Issa’s committee will not let that happen.
“We are working to make sure this shocking display from the Justice Department is completely laid bare,” Watkins said.
Vanderboegh believes that after Tuesday, the administration will not have the time to retaliate against agents who testify.
“I think that after Tuesday, the tiger will have so much more trouble that retaliating against ATF agents will be the least of their worries, based on information that I’ve heard,” Vanderboegh said.
“The thing that everyone has been speculating on and waiting for is an Alexander Butterfield Moment,” Vanderboegh said.
Alexander Butterfield was the Navy officer and assistant to H.R. Haldeman during the Nixon administration who revealed the existence of the White House tapes and taping system.
Historians and political analysts speculate that Butterfield’s revelations led to President Nixon’s resignation.
“At some point we are going to see, I predict, in this scandal, an Alexander Butterfield moment, where someone asks the question, that is critical, takes this thing all the way to the top, and the witness does one of two things,” Vanderboegh said.
“He either takes the Fifth (the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution that protects a witness against self-incrimination), which in any case points in the direction for where the evidence goes, or he tells the truth,” Vanderboegh said.
“And if he tells the truth, upon that truth, the Obama administration will fall ultimately,” he asserted.
Vanderboegh suggested that the other major issues surrounding the Obama administration have not gained public traction because the pressure has not come from the people.
He added that the voters have to be diligent to ensure that any facts brought out by the hearings are publicly pursued.
“Nothing will ensure that Obama is held accountable except the American people and their demand that we get to the bottom of this. This is a bottom-up scandal. I mean, it was broken by alternate media on the internet,” Vanderboegh observed.
“The ATF agents themselves broke it on their web site and [it was] picked up by me and David Codrea. Then we used that information to get U. S. senators to send people out to talk to the Whistleblower agents,” Vanderboegh said.
Vanderboegh is also realistic about the process that will lead to the Obama administration being held accountable because of the American people’s lack of indignation.
“They’re hardly indignant at all, because they don’t quite understand the truth,” Vanderboegh explained.
“But, that’s where it’s up to WorldNetDaily’s readers to demand of their congressman that we not only have these hearings which are happening, but that we demand a special prosecutor and follow this thing to the end,” he said.
“This is just another sad chapter in the Eric Holder book of ineptness and incompetence,” West said. “Eric Holder needs to be brought before an investigative committee and if those charges are warranted he needs to be held accountable.
“At least the president needs to realize that Eric Holder needs to be removed from the Department of Justice … or else it appears President Obama is complicit and in approval of the actions of his attorney general,” he said.
In an earlier story, WND reported that documents connected to Project Gunrunner could implicate the White House.
Larry Pratt commented that the document called for coordination with the White House.
“In the Gunrunner document, they talk about the need to have policies that are consistent with policies directed by the White House and the Department of Justice,” Pratt explained.
“It seems to me that not only does this field manual describe what’s been going on in bureaucratic language, it’s pretty clear it’s pointing that the origin of this (operation), the request or the demand for this is right up to the White House,” he said.