Readers will recall my survey of Dennis Burke's career, Personnel Is Policy," Part One and Part Two. I concluded Part Two with this:
Why did the administration pick Burke for the job of overseeing Fast and Furious? What was it about him that made them think he could be trusted with such a sensitive position? His anti-gun politics? His competence in executing the agendas of his superiors? His powerful friends? Why do they sustain him now, even in his disgrace when they are publicly trying to blame the whole thing on him? We will one day find out.But one thing is certain, in politics -- even dirty, murderous politics -- as well as business there is this eternal truth: Personnel is Policy.
Now comes Arizona Republic reporter Dennis Wagner to bring the story of Burke to a larger audience: Burke of Fast and Furious had anti-gun history. He even quotes yours truly, with a quibble:
But there are critics, especially among staunch Second Amendment advocates, who paint Burke as a liberal apparatchik who was willing to let criminals move weapons to Mexican cartels if it would help justify new firearms restrictions."It's no coincidence that Dennis Burke, a longtime anti-gun policy person, was made U.S. Attorney in mid-2009 ... the same month (sic) that Fast and Furious begins," said Mike Vanderboegh, a gun-rights blogger. "They picked precisely the right guy to run a clandestine program." (The operation began a month after Burke's appointment was confirmed.)
Not sure about Wagner's quibble here. I made no mistake about the timing of the onset of Fast and Furious and Burke's appointment, nor their inextricable linkage. I am told that one depended upon the other and whether F&F began when the concept was formed or the operation kicked off is rather like trying to argue that your creation began with an act of copulation and not the gleam in your daddy's eye that preceded it.
Wagner does plow some new ground, though, adding something that I missed in my research for the two articles on the subject:
(Burke) began working on gun control. DeConcini said Burke helped draft the Anti-Drug Assault Weapons Limitation Act of 1989. A five-year battle ensued, ending with President Bill Clinton signing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it a federal offense to possess certain semiautomatic rifles manufactured after the law's passage.DeConcini said Burke fostered the measure in concert with a key figure in the White House, policy analyst Rahm Emanuel, who years later would become chief of staff for President Obama. Emanuel now is mayor of Chicago.
In fact, I have since learned that Emanuel and Burke were quite the anti-firearm policy couple before and during the Clinton Administration, and are described as "fast friends" by one source. Given that my first DC insider source (my "old spook") insisted that the Gunwaker scandal began as a meeting in Rahm Emanuel's office when he was Obama Chief of Staff in early 2009 about how to overcome the potential political blow-back of more gun control, Burke's friendship with the consummate practitioner of "The Chicago Way" makes even more sense.