Yup. First, as did many bloggers who have written on Gunwalker, I received this email message from the Issa Committee yesterday:
Update on Fast & Furious Investigation
WHO: Chairman Darrell Issa, Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
WHAT: Please join Chairman Issa to discuss the latest developments in the Justice Department's failed Operation Fast and Furious, a program which allowed guns to walk into the hands of drug cartels resulting in the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry and countless Mexican citizens.
WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:15AM EDT – 11:00AM EDT
It included a call-in number and access code.
Now this, to me, was a stunning development in and of itself. As I have been gleefully paraphrasing Bill Clinton recently, "The era of Big media is over." Nothing proves that more so than Darrell Issa's reaching out to bloggers in this way. Of course, it is understandable that he might be more than a little frustrated in the "authorized media." FOX runs a story last week about a "third gun" which was "disappeared" by the FBI at the Terry murder scene and no one followed up on it. I mean, c'mon, it was like finding a second rifle at the Kennedy assassination, but did anybody cover it? No, save one, and that was Sharyl Attkisson at CBS who gave us the ATF-FFL tapes this week verifying the third gun. And did CBS see fit to feature this on the Evening News? Oh, hell no. Sharyl, who was the first of the "mainstream media" to break this story, can't get out of the blog ghetto they have her in. Her Gunwalker stories are not apparently "important enough" to waste valuable broadcast electrons on. Right.
So it is understandable that Issa might turn to the bloggers who have followed this story and broken some of its most interesting stories. But it marks a sea change, folks. Remember that.
There were a number of bloggers who participated, including names frequently mentioned (and mirrored) here: David Codrea, Dave Workman, Bob Owens, Katie Pavlich, etc. Here is Katie Pavlich's story on the blogger conference call.
The questions ranged widely over the broader Gunwalker scandal. I was largely impressed with Issa's answers. Although I am a terrible note taker and the batteries died in my phone recorder just before the event, here are some of the bits I gleaned:
Issa wants to "wrap this up by the end of the year" but doesn't believe the administration stonewalling will allow him to meet that deadline. He told one blogger, "I would very much like to have a true special prosecutor on this," but pointed out that he did not want one just yet for that would cause his investigation to shut down for intents and purposes and he wanted to know a lot more before that happened so that he could make sure that the prosecutor was doing his/her job.
He indicated that the committee was investigating the following subjects: ITAR violations, the Tampa gunwalking to Honduras, David Codrea's Indiana gunwalking story, and other agencies.
I asked: about FBI complicity in Gunwalker. "Given that we now know about FBI paid informants further up the cartel chain and a third gun that 'disappeared' from the Terry murder scene indicating the FBI is covering up the true circumstances of his death, when will we see Robert Mueller and his apparently-complicit minions under oath?" Issa indicated that he thought the third weapon disappeared because "people were panicking." He added later, "The smoking gun is the gun that killed Brian Terry."
Asked about Janet Napolitano's knowledge of Gunwalker, Issa cracked that in Janet's DHS, "Freedom of information is an oxymoron." He indicated that they would continue to ask questions to get as far up the chain as possible.
Asked about the overall purpose of Gunwalker, he demurred on agreeing outright with the "conspiracy against the Second Amendment" theory which sources say was the entire point of the larger exercise, but said:
"The administration wanted to show that guns found in Mexico came from the United States."
When the transcript of the conference call is provided, I will post it on Sipsey Street.
Bottom line: I was impressed with Issa's grasp of the issues and his stated commitment. I was also struck with how much he needs our help -- all of us -- to drive this search for the truth to its proper conclusion.
Congressman Issa promised to have more such conference calls as things progress.