"Get off yer ass. Drink water. Drive on." -- Saying in the 101st Airborne Division when the going gets tough but you've made it through to the first objective and you think it is time to rest.
I suggest that before you read this post, you read the previous one on the Waco coverup and David Hardy's book "This Is Not An Assault." In fact, the post on Waco was suggested to both me and David Codrea by someone who wishes to be referred to as "an anonymous federal employee."
His caution below underscores the Waco coverup lesson, as he commented in the preface email to us:
"The reason is that the Congress makes decisions based on politics, not facts."
Here is his analysis --
I have developed a sense that both sides (Congress and the Executive Branch) have quietly come to an agreement to let Project Gunrunner blow over, because the consequences otherwise are too great. There are no signals that anybody is going to get "offered up" for sacrifice. This is a decision that would be out of Mr. Melson's hands, and determined by the Attorney General (but, more likely, the White House). There are no such noises.
I respectfully suggest that you and your readers study pages 151-155 of David Hardy’s book, This Is Not An Assault, focusing not on the Waco abbatoir, and instead his take on the July 21, 2000, report by then Sen. John Danforth, who was asked years AFTER Congress was done to answer lingering questions about whether federal law enforcement had acted inappropriately.
Attorney Hardy’s analysis is the closest thing we have to a script on how Project Gunrunner/Project Gunwalker is going to play out, and all y’all ought to listen to what he says.
The 149-page report, attorney Hardy notes, “was for the most part a chronology according to the government sources. It did not consider any allegations against the ATF. It likewise ignored many major questions regarding the FBI” and concluded “that the Davidians had started the fire.” In the face of a tragedy like Waco, Danforth stated, “we have a need to affix blame. Things like this just can’t happen; they must be the government’s fault,” and Danforth went on at length:
Ample forums exist to nurture our need to place blame on government. Sensational films construct dark theories out of little evidence and gain ready audiences for their message. Civil trial lawyers, both in the public and private sectors, carry the duty of zealous representation to an extreme. The media, in the name of “balance,” gives equal treatment to both outrageous and serious claims.
Hardy observes: “You could almost see the writer’s look of indignation: documentary makers, attorneys, the press, all dare to criticize the government! In the fact of this, Danforth continued, it was only natural for government officials to, well, maybe lie a little. ‘In today’s world, however, it is perhaps understandable that government officials are reluctant to make full disclosures of information, for fear that the result of candor will be personal or professional ruin.’ That was it. By demanding truth and accountability, the fickle mob was forcing government officials to lie and withhold evidence.”
What happened? Danforth filed felony charges against Bill Johnston, “the former U.S. attorney who had allowed Mike McNulty into the [Texas] Rangers’ evidence locker, and who had informed Attorney General Janet Reno that her subordinates were withholding the truth. . . . twelve million in taxpayer dollars had gone to . . . produce a report blaming the taxpayers, and a prosecution of the one whistleblower who had broken ranks from the coverup.”
My take on Project Gunrunner is dark: that the Congress doesn't want to do anything to compromise the ability of the feds to (1) carry out and get away with bone headed schemes to further agency interests, (2) worry about accepting any responsibility for (2), regardless of, e.g., whether such activities result in the murder of a federal law enforcement officer, and likely the murders of hundreds of Mexican citizens and government officials in Mexico, and (3) prosecute citizens and feds alike who decide to not go along with things like (1) and/or (2). To discipline ATF personnel who did wrong things would be going too far. If you doubt my dark perspective, take the time to read attorney Hardy’s book on Waco, and consider the lessons of that history. They are bleak indeed.
As we have seen, Chairman Issa has issued what is known as a subpoena duces tecum to ATF to fork over specific documents; and his Ranking Minority Member has just as quickly condemned that action. As David Hardy pointed out last Friday: “This makes it more of a showdown: if a subpoena isn’t complied with, he can move (I think it takes a majority of the entire House) to hold the recipients in contempt of Congress, so that enforcement can then become holding them behind bars until they deliver the documents.”
Where does Chairman Lamar Smith stand? He tossed down a March 18 deadline for documents and got stonewalled, and one wonders about his odd silence. In September 1996, Rep. Smith learned that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) had made estimates of numbers of illegal aliens in the United States, but the White House refused to release them because it was too close to the election. Rep. Smith issued a subpoena duces tecum and obtained the estimates; however, he didn’t release them! He only wanted to see them; what does he want now? It is a fair question that ought to be fairly asked.
There will be some sort of investigation and resolution to all of this—and I'm not suggesting it's gonna be an easy slide for either the Congress or ATF or DOJ, because there are indignant Mexicans to deal with, and that's not gonna be so easy. But Mexico will eventually go along with a resolution, because Mexico has to---Mexico needs the United States, and the United States needs Mexico not to become a failed state.
Finally---think about this from the ATF side for a minute, and how, if asked, you would defend ATF. One defense would be that ATF was doing its job, following and dogging the right people---ATF just messed up by not arresting the people quicker than they did. Since there are APPARENTLY no hard and fast protocols for when to arrest, it becomes a matter of judgment; and from there, what sort of vetting, etc. went into the judgment? Who signed off on what, and when?
ATF has not handled Project Gunrunner issues well, and its apparently inherent belligerence is seriously harming ATF. There is, no doubt as Mr. Melson said in Baltimore, a very real element of "shut the f*** up" coming out of DOJ, and he's bound by the rules to do that; he's Acting, not his own man, and is probably more than distressed.
Government attorneys have weighed in on all this from the very beginning. Melson has been instructed, on at least some topics, to follow a word-for-word script that is LEGALLY correct, but MAY be incomplete and/or seriously misleading. That is what attorneys do; the law is not about the truth, but instead about "legal truth" which is amoral, and is "the right thing" only when "the right thing" coincides with "legal truth." Their desire to escape responsibility for acting at all at this time, or in future, is powerful because the consequences otherwise are too great.
-- "An anonymous federal employee."
All of which is a cautionary note to all of us who wish to the truth -- and soon -- about the Gunwalker scandal. Do not let up for a minute on pressuring your Congresscritters for thorough and IMMEDIATE hearings. Keep pushing. Keep being rude. Keep insisting. It is the only way we've gotten as far as we have.
Issa has issued subpoenas. So pat yourself on the back if you must, then get off your ass, drink water and drive on.