Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Holder runs to familiar source for cover

It looks like Eric Holder has run to the Washington Post to fire back at the House of Representatives which voted to hold him in contempt last week. The Post reports Holder spins the vote as an anti-Obama election year stunt:
"I've become a symbol of what they don't like about the positions this Justice Department has taken," he said. "I am also a proxy for the president in an election year. You have to be exceedingly naive to think that vote was about ... documents."
Holder was voted in contempt of Congress last week for blocking release of documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious where federal agents facilitated illegal straw buyers and guns ended up in the hands of Mexico's drug cartels.

It's not surprising Holder would turn to the Post. The paper's largely followed Justice Department spin in reporting Fast and Furious  from the start. As late as January 2011, the Post saw no scandal:
Project Gunrunner is a signature effort by the Obama administration to assist Mexico in stemming the flow of guns south of the border. Under the project, federal officials in Arizona last week arrested more than a dozen people named in a 53-count indictment alleging that a network of gun buyers and smugglers had planned to ship hundreds of weapons to Mexican drug cartels. 
Dubbed "Fast and Furious," the investigation found traffickers purchasing 10, 20, 30 or 40 AK-47-style rifles at a time from gun shops in the Phoenix area.
The Post made no mention that when gun shops sought guidance to challenge at least some of these sales, ATF told them to let the sales go forward. As scandalous elements began to get media attention, the Post also seemed to attack the credibility of those reporting it. In March 2011, the Post reported:
Anti-ATF bloggers sympathetic to the milita movement picked up the allegations late last year, dubbing the scandal "Project Gunwalker" and alleging that ATF agents let guns "walk" to boost the numbers of U.S. weapons recovered in Mexico. The bloggers theorized that the ATF wanted high numbers to gain support for an assault-weapons ban.ia movement picked up the allegations (in late 2010). 
The Post failed to note that the bloggers, long time gun rights activists, were working directly with ATF insiders to unearth the scandal. The whistle blowers apparently trusted the bloggers more than their own agency. 

Bottom line: It's no surprise Holder would turn to the Post for another shot at clouding circumstances surrounding Fast and Furious and the congressional investigation of it. But the Post and its reporter should also be smart enough to know they've been used before and are being used again. By now, I suspect a bunch of the reading public has caught on as well.

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