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Call for independent counsel better late than never but false premise continues

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Congress could reenact an independent counsel law that expired in 1999 “to prosecute ‘Fast and Furious’-related criminal charges against high-ranking Obama administration officials,” The Washington Times reported, citing House lawyer opinions from a late Tuesday court filing.

While it may be gratifying to see the idea finally getting serious consideration in some quarters, it’s nonetheless bewildering to some why it’s taken so long for it to happen. It’s also frustrating, although entirely predictable based on their conduct throughout the unfolding “Gunwalker” story, that no other “legitimate news media” outlets deem the development worth reporting on, as a news feed search demonstrates.

“[E]xpecting a truly independent [counsel] to be appointed by a department that is up to its neck in stonewalling and cover-up, by a president whose own role and interests are appropriate for scrutiny, is at best problematic, and at worst a recipe for ensuring those responsible for ‘Project Gunwalker’ are never held accountable for actions that have resulted in human deaths on both sides of the border,” this column explained in October, 2011, in response to Rep. Lamar Smith asking the president to appoint a Justice Department special counsel.

“Currently, the only mechanism available is through U.S. Code, which authorizes the Attorney General, or if recused, the Acting Attorney General to appoint a Special Counsel,” the column elaborated. “There was another way, but the Office of Independent Counsel, reporting to the Congress, was terminated in 1999.

“What is needed is to reenact authorization for that office, and to maintain such powers under the coequal branch of government comprised of our elected representatives,” the column concluded. “Permanently. Anything less would make the entire investigative effort suspect.”

Such was the predictable result for the long and drawn out Office of Inspector General investigation (which took nearly 10 months longer to produce a report than the Warren Commission required), with the OIG reporting they were denied access to key witnesses and had no authority to compel cooperation from the White House, but administration allies nonetheless declaring the paucity of findings “cleared” the stonewalling Eric Holder.

This column has also been a consistent voice opposing calls from those urging Holder to resign. Out of the way, the political incentive to pursue him -- and the truth of Fast and Furious -- would evaporate.

“House lawyers said the congressional probe into the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation eventually could suggest the need for ‘additions to or modification of existing federal laws,’” the Times report continued, explaining “The ATF undercover sting operation [was] designed to ensnare Mexican drug kingpins.”

The paper, which often deserves credit for reporting on what its transparently “progressive” competitors won’t, and largely avoids their manipulative spin on “straight news,” has fallen into the trap of accepting and repeating a totally unfounded conclusion. True, that’s what ATF and Justice personnel laying down cover for themselves say was the program’s intent, but any attempt to flesh out how a surveillance operation that didn’t surveil could possibly accomplish that goal.

Colleague Kurt Hofmann best exposed the absurdity of that excuse with his “South Park underpants gnomes” analogy, evidently noticed and later repeated without source attribution to ATF whistleblower John Dodson by agent Lee Casa.

Those allowing guns to “walk” knew the only time they would be seen again would be when they were recovered at crime scenes. Discuss the intent behind that, despite “Mexican crime guns” being the very reason given to impose the border state long gun reporting requirement and continued collusion between the domestic citizen disarmament cabal and the Mexican government to ban semi-automatic firearms fraudulently called “assault weapons,” and risk being dismissed as a “wingnut” by radical administration water bearers.

A truly independent investigation, assuming one is even possible, represents the last best hope for uncovering that rarest of things in the world of politics, power and a derelict media -- the truth.

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