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Latest in Fast and Furious

If these allegations turn out to be true, and they did indeed try to frame one of the whistle blowers for a crime, then someone needs to go to jail. I think they really need to name a special prosecutor to look into this. Orin Hatch was on NRA News last night, and was being wishy washy on the subject of naming a special prosecutor, but it has to be done in this case. There’s too much we just don’t know, and the DOJ is likely not to be cooperative. Hatch’s reluctance is based on the history of special prosecutors, which is not a remarkably good one, and that’s understandable. But sometimes it’s the right tool for the job, and this is one of those times.

10 Responses to “Latest in Fast and Furious”

  1. Harold says:

    Note the dates; this is “old news” and all happened prior to Fast and Furious. The idea that “Newell used Dobyns as a test run” is 100% supposition, or at least those of us who’ve followed this case have assumed it was SOP taken to an extreme, it’s one of their charming characteristics.

    That said, the ability of Newell et. al. to get away with it probably had more than a little to do with their conceit they’d be able to get away with Fast and Furious … especially given that so far they have. And would anyone be willing to make a bet that a new Republican president and AG will prosecute this in 2013???

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Hard to say. Also, one administration pressing politically-motivated charges (or appearance of same) has some ugly history. I’d rather see the special prosecutor.

  3. Harold says:

    But how would a special prosecutor appointed by a new administration avoid the same appearance?

    One of the questions I have is how long can the Republic last when one of its two factions can literally get away with murder (I’m thinking the end of Waco in particular) and not be held accountable?

    Our case may be unique in history in that those bearing arms and who are willing to use them (this includes most of our military, I believe) are almost entirely part of the other faction; that suggests that without negative feedback perhaps the first faction will someday overreach and then things will get really ugly. But the dangers you point out are very real and have killed republics in times past.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Hence, appoint the prosecutor now.

      I don’t like that there are people who are likely to get away with “high crimes and misdemeanors” because there has or will be a change in administration. The alternative is the kind of factional wars that marred the end of the Roman Republic; where to give up office was to accept personal, political, and financial ruination as your opponents persecuted you for political decisions made in office (as well as actual malfeasance). Look at the less-hinged members of Bush’s opposition, who want him and members of his administration in the dock for war crimes.

      That having been said, the non-appointed members of the permanent bureaucracy are fair game for prosecution for actual crimes chargeable in a court of law. Insulation from the political process means they have to be accountable by other means. They’re by law apolitical (or they’re supposed to be) so prosecution of them ought to be so as well.

      • Harold says:

        Hence, appoint the prosecutor now.

        But I, and I hope you, realize this Administration is not going to do that. We already know that Fast and Furious reached all the way into the White House and we’re pretty sure high into the Justice Department. Holder himself either didn’t read all those memos (possible) or is lying through his teeth (not mutually exclusive). It was clear from the beginning that he was appointed AG to keep a lid on scandals, one of his specialties.

        Your point about the Roman Republic is one I often make. However I think your idea about just prosecuting the ostensibly apolitical civil servants fails because too many of them are going to say they were “just following (the) orders” of political appointees who they will of course name. The reality as well as appearance of those appointees evading justice … well, who knows.

        It could well be too late with e.g. our still having as the head of the Treasury and therefore the IRS a tax cheat, one who’s being used in the current Republican competition for the presidential nomination like “I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time”.

        Overall we need a Pareto circulation of elites without the worst of the excesses that often accompany that.

        • Ian Argent says:

          I want the current Congress to prosecute, either directly or by proxy of a special prosecutor.

          “Just following orders” doesn’t cut it in this country, nor should it. The bureaucrats are insulated from the political process for that reason among others.

  4. Harold says:

    (Hmmm, only three levels of replies; that’s OK, there has to be some limit.)

    I want the current Congress to prosecute, either directly or by proxy of a special prosecutor.

    The only problem with this is that the Constitution, for many very good reasons, restricts the power of criminal prosecution entirely to the Executive so the Congress simply doesn’t have the power to do either of those things. The best they can do in the criminal arena are things like “ insert a funding amendment that would essentially tell the Administration that it can’t traffic firearms to drug cartels anymore” … but against a lawless and shameless Executive it’s not clear to me what value that has.

    They are the nation’s Grand Inquisitor, something that Issa appears to be doing a pretty good job of. Sunlight the best disinfectant and all that. Too bad we live in an age where one faction is absolutely shameless and the bulk of the media is carrying water for them.

    • Ian Argent says:

      We’re in a situation where there’s, to a certain extent, a break-down of well-ordered governance. Who prosecutes the Attorney General?

  5. Harold says:

    Who prosecutes the Attorney General?

    (An agent of) The President, who is the top law enforcement officer in the nation. Of course, in this case the AG is just doing his real job so none of us are holding our breath for that.

    Civilly, perhaps families of the victims of Fast and Furious, but with a full on cover up including the FBI plus issues like standing that’s beyond iffy. Especially since the Executive can make their lives hell, although that was more of a Clinton sort of thing.

    In theory the Congress can impeach and convict him and simply remove him from office, but with the Senate in Democratic hands and modern Republicans having no stomach for this sort of thing I don’t see that happening,even if Obama gets reelected with the Republicans getting massive majorities in both houses.

    It’s pretty hard to expect that a very corrupt ruling class will police itself.

    • Ian Argent says:

      I was being a bit facetious, and couldn’t remember the latin for Who Watches the Watchers.

      I don’t know what we can do about electing an unethical President who appoints unethical Cabinet members. Congress is supposed to impeach them, I guess, but as noted, that’s not going to happen. Guess we learn a lesson and move on (as we did with Nixon and Clinton).

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