A hard-hitting Univision documentary about Operation Fast and Furious that aired Sunday is creating a media tsunami that will be difficult for the Obama administration to dodge because it uses graphic footage of Mexican crime scenes, and points the finger of blame directly at the gun walking scandal.
“Rapido Y Furioso” may henceforth translate to a four-letter word south of the border. In one horrible scene of a shooting at a bar, caught on security cameras, gunmen walk through a crowd and deliberately execute – with two point blank shots to the head – one man lying on the floor. The footage is complete with muzzle flashes.
ABC News has at least three stories on the Univision documentary, and Monday morning, Fox News’ crack Fast and Furious point man William La Jeunesse covered the exposé.
Mexicans are outraged by the operation because guns that were allowed to walk by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been used to produce a staggering body count in their country. There were at least a half-dozen headlines related to the Univision story on Monday morning’s TheGunWire.com.
And yesterday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan called on Eric Holder to resign or be fired.
Despite Holder’s “pass” on the scandal via the report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz in September, covered by this column here, here and here, he may become a political liability for Barack Obama with the election only 36 days away. Obama will debate Mitt Romney Wednesday night, and if the questions were to cover his administration’s mishandling of the operation and subsequent cover-up, the president would be in trouble in the wake of Univision’s revelations.
There are a couple of minor discrepancies with the coverage, however. One report, headlined “5 things you didn’t know about Operation Fast and Furious,” may apply to the mainstream press, but not necessarily to on-line journalists who have been covering, and exposing, this operation from the beginning.
Gun Rights Examiner Dan weighs in here.
For example, this column reported more than a year ago about the recovery of U.S.-source weapons at the murder scene of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (IE) agent Jaime Zapata.
But give ABC its due, the network is now acknowledging Univision’s revelations that Fast and Furious guns were used in a bloody 2010 massacre in Juarez, Mexico. ABC also notes that 57 previously “unidentified” firearms linked to the operation have surfaced.
But there is one tough allegation that may need some explanation from the Mexican government. The Univision report says officials in that country knew about the operation, and refers to Andrew Selee, vice president for programs at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The report ways William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge in Phoenix – through his attorney – said the Procuraduria General De La Republica (PGR) in Mexico “was certainly aware of the operation.”
However, this is the same Bill Newell who told Darrell Issa’s committee in July 2011 that ATF personnel in Mexico knew of the operation, after which former attaché Carlos Canino strenuously refuted that assertion, during the same hearing. Canino is the man who famously called Fast and Furious “the perfect storm of idiocy.”
The Obama White House was hoping that the IG report would close the door on Fast and Furious. There is not much chance of that now, not only because of the Univision report, but also because Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley are now thinking about a subpoena for former White House National Security staffer Kevin O’Reilly, who was hustled out of the country within three days of Newell’s revelation that he traded some e-mail with O’Reilly about the operation.
The proverbial “October Surprise” that pundits invariably anticipate in a presidential election year may have come one day early.
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