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Editorial: Fast & Furious continues to fail Brian Terry
6/21/2012 1:09:00 PM
Petty politics or momentous scandal? The death of Brian Terry is not petty but has become a footnote in the power struggle over Fast & Furious and its implications in the Obama administration.
Terry, a Border Patrol agent, was killed in 2010 near Rio Rico while trying to apprehend banditos preying on illegal immigrants. Two weapons found at the site came out of the Justice Department’s own Operation Fast & Furious, a gun-tracking program being run from the Phoenix office of the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Without his death, Fast & Furious would be just an embarrassing failure, allowing Republicans to make hay in an election year. Instead, there is real gravity in the scandal, a human reality that is unfortunately lost amid congressional subpoenas, contempt votes and declarations of executive privilege.
The crocodile tears of the GOP and the false victimhood of the Democrats continue to fail Brian Terry.
The purpose of all investigations into Fast & Furious should be to prevent future fiascos in that line and hold accountable everyone who acted negligently or ducked responsibility. If the investigation falls away from that purpose, it becomes a failure, too.
Though hardly the first of its kind, Fast & Furious was a shoddily planned and executed program that allowed who-knows-how-many untracked U.S. weapons across the Mexican border into the hands of drug cartels. That alone is deserving of investigation.
But with each flurry of documents hurled between the executive and legislative branches, the investigation looks more like a sideshow. The hot debates are over what exactly the Attorney General had to share with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, how political was the party-line vote to find him in contempt, and whether the President had authority to invoke executive privilege in this case.
Fast & Furious is a scandal that landed firmly at Arizona’s threshold. There is little sign yet that what is happening on Capitol hill will lead to real reform and accountability. Obama’s executive privilege made matters worse by conjuring up images of Nixon’s Watergate and Clinton’s sex-capades.
In an election year, Brian Terry has been reduced to a pawn in petty politics. That is a failure for everyone.
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