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Does ‘fatally flawed’ minority report on gunwalking ‘absolve’ administration?

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“Report by House Democrats Absolves Administration in Gun Trafficking Case,” Charlie Savage of The New York Times would have us believe:

Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday are expected to publish a report on the disputed gun trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious, concluding that agents in Arizona — not Obama administration officials — were responsible for the tactics used in the inquiry and for providing misleading information relayed to Congress.

The “expected” report, that is, the report House Democrats gave their reliable mouthpiece a heads-up on, has been released, just in time to get defense plays and signals out there in anticipation of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Thursday appearance before the full Committee (where he’ll hopefully get to answer questions about why his people are pleading the Fifth and testimony from their underlings is being denied):

Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued a 95-page minority staff report entitled “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona.” The report describes the results of the Committee’s year-long investigation into the actions and circumstances that led to multiple gunwalking operations in Arizona from 2006 to 2010.

Or as Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars puts it, “Bloody Hands Cummings & White House issue a report saying that the Bushes made them do it, and besides, it was all Phoenix's fault.”

That’s because Cummings and Committee Democrats showed deliberate indifference to allegations by veteran agents of ATF management abuse back in 2009 when they controlled things. And he and they have since become the leading voices for diverting the thrust of the investigation into demands for more power for the very people who continue to abuse what they already have.

There will be no shortage of analyses of this latest “report,” but to touch on some highlights, it once more adopts a strategy we’ve discussed before about conflating controlled deliveries and attempts to coordinate operations with the Mexican government in prior operations with making no attempt to track guns and keeping the Mexicans in the dark that are at the center of Fast and Furious.

It also, unsurprisingly, continues to blame U.S. commercial gun sales for Mexican cartel violence, relying on none other than up-to-his-neck Lanny Breuer’s claim that “the vast majority of guns recovered in Mexico were imported illegally from the United States.” That’s a meme we’ve explored many times in Gun Rights Examiner columns, watching the proffered numbers continue to change, from 90% to 80% to 70%...

Yet somehow, this thorough, professionally-prepared report failed to even acknowledge inconvenient truths such as:

Around 27,000 men and women desert the Mexican military every year, and about 50 percent of the military's recruiting class will have left before the end of their first tour. In March 2011, the Mexican army admitted that it had "lost track of" 1,680 special forces personnel over the past decade (Los Zetas were formed by more than 30 former members of Mexico's Special Forces Airmobile Group). Some cartels even reportedly task some of their own foot soldiers to enlist in the military to gain knowledge and experience in military tactics. In any case, retention is clearly a serious problem for the Mexican armed forces, and deserting soldiers take their skills (and oftentimes their weapons) to the cartels.

Those would be weapons approved for export by the State Department.

Unsurprisingly, the minority report would convince us senior administration officials are cleared of any knowledge and wrongdoing, and that the solution is to enact some administrative changes, treat “flaws” as internal personnel, rather than criminal matters, and enact more “gun control.” That makes it easy to point the finger at lower-level Phoenix operatives—if they face no criminal charges, there’s no incentive for them to squeal, and the ones who might can simply plead the Fifth (although why one would have to if there have been no crimes committed remains conspicuously unexplained) or simply not “recall.”

Click here to read the "Fatally Flawed" report.

Also see:

  • A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker' (most current volume) for a complete list with links of independent investigative reporting and commentary done to date by Sipsey Street Irregulars and Gun Rights Examiner. Note to newcomers to this story: “Project Gunrunner” is the name ATF assigned to its Southwest Border Initiative to interdict gun smuggling to Mexico. “Project Gunwalker” is the name I assigned to the scandal after allegations by agents that monitored guns were allowed to fall into criminal hands on both sides of the border through a surveillance process termed “walking” surfaced.

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