Stonewalled: Does our Government Lie to Us?

stonewalledIn the book “Stonewalled”, Sharyl Attkisson shows the answer is “yes”. 

Myself, I had thought that the Fast and Furious scheme was simply an effort to trace how guns get to Mexican Cartels, and that though it went horribly wrong, it was non-political. 

And indeed under Republican president George W Bush, a similar scheme, named Wide Receiver was tried, though on a much smaller scale, and it was quickly abandoned.  

What was “Fast and Furious?” It was a program where the Federal Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) helped supply Mexico’s drug cartels with fearsome weapons.  They did this by telling licensed gun dealers in Arizona to sell weapons powerful enough to bring down an elephant to suspected cartel members.  Then, ATF did not intercept the weapons, instead letting the criminals use them.  Supposedly, the idea was that this would lead investigators to the leaders of the cartels.  That didn’t happen, but innocent people were killed.  Cartels used the weapons against the Mexican police and Mexican military.  And they were used on our side of the border. 

On Dec 14 2010, a Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry was gunned down in the dark Arizona desert night by Mexican bandits using guns that they had obtained from this program. 

After Attkisson broke the Fast and Furious story, the Justice Department told reporters that her unnamed sources were lying.

Then she spoke with John Dodson, an ATF agent who had raised objections with his supervisors and been told in response “if you’re going to make an omelet, you’ve got to break some eggs.”

CBS news aired footage of Dodson telling the story to Attkisson, so finally there was a named source. 

On February 4, 2011 the Justice Dept. wrote a letter to Congress, saying that the ATF does not let “guns walk”.  This was a lie.

Ten months later it retracted this statement, but implied there was no intent to deceive.

In the coming months, Republicans asked for internal emails.  They asked for other documentation too.  The Justice Dept. refused to turn over this material.  Then President Obama claimed “executive privilege” to keep the documents secret!

The Justice Dept. now said that the operation was due only to rogue ATF agents in Phoenix and nobody else.

But Congress got its hands on internal documents that prove that was not true.

So the Justice Dept. changed its story again and claimed that though the ATF knew about it, the Justice Dept. did not.

But Congress received documentation showing that the Justice Department not only knew, but approved wiretaps for the case.

Rene Jaquez, an agent of the ATF in the very dangerous city of Juarez Mexico, told Sharyl that he was outraged that as he faced frequent brushes with death in that city, his own agency was helping arm the bad guys.   Jaquez has family living in Mexico and added that “any one of us could have been shot with one of those guns.”

Attkisson tries to understand what the mission really was.  She notes that other agencies of the government, including the IRS and DEA and Homeland Security, participated in the program.  She noted that the Feds commonly claim that up to 90 percent of the weapons used by drug cartels are sold over the counter in the United States.  The problem with this argument is that the sample is biased, since only weapons that the Mexican police believe might come from here are sent here for testing.

But, “imagine a scenario in which a greater percentage of guns from Mexican crime scenes are traced in a fairly short, defined period of time, and hundreds–no, thousands of them–are discovered to have come from the United States.  Gun control advocates could have their checkmate.”

Attkisson does present evidence that at least some government officials saw “Fast and Furious” as a way to encourage gun control.

On May 3, 2011 Eric Holder, head of the Justice Department, claimed that he heard of Fast and Furious only six months after Terry’s death, and three months after the CBS News reports.  Unfortunately for his version of events, it turns out he was sent weekly briefings on the case as early as ten months before. 

On Sept 2, 2011, Attkisson does a live shot for the CBS Early Show to tell Americans that an email was sent the day after Brian’s murder by Attorney Emory Hurley to cover up the connection between the murder of Brian Terry and Fast and Furious.

So the answer to my initial question is yes, the government lies to you.  

In this case, more remarkable may be the devious nature of the underlying agenda. Attkisson suggests that the agenda was not to trace criminals, as it seemed, but to achieve gun control. If that is the case, then the government is giving lethal weapons to some of the worst people in the world in order to deprive law-abiding Americans of their own weapons.

Whatever the purpose was, the mainstream media, as Attkisson shows, was not interested in digging beneath the surface of stories potentially embarrassing to the Obama administration.

You can’t correct mistakes if you stonewall those who would investigate those mistakes, and when the media sinks into an anesthetized state and dismisses Fast and Furious–or Benghazi as a “Republican story.”



Stonewalled – by Sharyl Attkisson

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