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DOJ did not get required license to send guns to Mexico

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CNN Opinion

Who will pay price for Fast and Furious?


October 13, 2011 -- By Ruben Navarrette Jr., Special to CNN

Attorney General Eric Holder faces criticism over Fast and Furious, but he says he was unaware of details of the gun operation.

Let's understand what all the fuss is about with the Obama administration's ill-conceived "Fast and Furious" operation -- or rather what it should be about. It's not about assigning blame, or playing "gotcha," or covering up mistakes. It's not about Republican critics forcing top administration officials to resign, or those officials spinning whatever fantastic narratives are necessary to avoid doing so. It's about who pays the price when government agencies make bad decisions.

When field agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed some 2,000 guns to "walk" into Mexico from gun shops in Arizona as part of a harebrained and hazardous scheme to track Mexican drug cartels, and then lost track of the cargo, they set in motion a deadly series of events. Before long, guns from the operation were showing up at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

When one government agency screws up, other agencies sometimes pay the price. One of the weapons even showed up at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

But by far, the group that paid the heaviest price for this doomed initiative is the Mexican people. There is no way to know how many Mexicans died at the hands of criminals armed with weapons supplied courtesy of the ATF, but Carlos Canino, an ATF agent at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, reportedly testified to congressional investigators that Fast and Furious guns showed up at nearly 200 crime scenes.

This scandal is about dead Mexicans.

As politicians in Washington have been known to ask: Where's the outrage? There isn't much of it, and what little there is seems to be reserved for political adversaries.

Republicans, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have expressed outrage that the administration spent months stonewalling an investigation into the program by refusing to honor requests for information.

More recently, they're questioning whether Attorney General Eric Holder might have committed perjury when -- after being asked by the committee in May 2011 when he had learned of the operation -- he responded: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."



http://articles.cnn.com/2011-10-13/opinion/opinion_navarrette-fast-furious_1_fast-and-furious-atf-e-mails-show?_s=PM:OPINION