President Barack Obama and his administration have run afoul of the nation’s rule of law, which has been highlighted by the controversial gun-trafficking operation into Mexico known as Fast and Furious, conservatives were told on Oct. 4 at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Colorado.
The opinion came during a panel discussion titled “President Obama’s Fast and Furious Disregard for the Rule of Law.” The forum included Matthew Boyle, a reporter with The Daily Caller, Richard Esenberg, an adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School, Katie Pavlich, news editor at TownHall.com, and Republican Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.
Fast and Furious received heavy criticism after it was discovered that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed weapons to be sold to buyers for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to trace the weapons to cartel kingpins. But nearly 2,000 firearms from the program went missing, and some turned up at deadly crime scenes in Mexico, and at a December 2010 gun battle in Arizona that left U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry dead.
Congressional investigators issued a subpoena for documents from Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department relating to the operation, but Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents.
Buck, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010 against Democrat Michael Bennet, said that in his more than 26 years of being a prosecutor, he has never seen an operation that allows guns and drugs to walk unless the target was the subject of constant surveillance.
“One of the fundamental lessons I learned as a prosecutor was that guns and drugs don’t walk,” said Buck. “Only in very rare occasions — I can count on one hand — the number of times that we allowed guns and drugs to walk.”
Esenberg said he couldn’t justify the operation in the first place, suggesting that there was no plan in place to actually catch the suspects who were being targeted.
“It seems to me that you have to have a plan to eventually catch the bad guys, and that wasn’t present here,” said Esenberg. “They just sort of let these guns walk across the border, and then something good would happen and presumably that good thing would be changing policies with respect to gun regulation…”
He criticized Obama for allowing Holder to keep his position in light of the scandal, and for protecting Holder from being held in contempt of Congress. To Esenberg, that amounts to disregarding the law.
“The president is an extremely ambitious form of progressive,” said Esenberg. “He believes that the government should do a lot of things, and he gets very frustrated when that can’t happen.”
Pavlich, who also authored the book “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up,” said she is more frustrated with how whistleblowers were treated in the wake of the controversy. She said these people “dared to speak up against the corruption,” but were threatened by the Department of Justice for doing so.
“The whole purpose of whistle blowing is you have to go around the chain of command in order to let the people know what’s going on…” said Pavlich. “The only way that we get information out of the Justice Department… is through whistleblowers, because this Justice Department is unwilling to work with Congress, and they’re not willing to work with reporters…”
“There’s a reason why President Obama is standing by Eric Holder,” continued Pavlich. “It’s because they believed in what they’re going, they don’t think that they did anything wrong, and they both have done some things that they don’t want the American people to know about.”
Boyle, who has dedicated much of his young journalism career to Fast and Furious for the conservative-leaning Daily Caller, believes the problem is that the “liberal media” has been working to keep the story out of the public purview, and that it has been working with the Obama administration to do so.
“What we’ve seen is a media that has gone from being just a liberal bias to being in cahoots with the president and with his administration and with his campaign to ensure that he gets
re-elected, because they’d be embarrassed if he didn’t, because they got him elected the first time,” said
He added that he still considers himself an objective reporter, despite having become a part of the story by exhibiting passionate opinions about the Obama administration and the overall Fast and Furious operation. Boyle also denies being a reporter solely for a conservative audience.
“I continue to print the facts…” Boyle said following the panel discussion. “You can say whatever you want, but here’s the point: On every single story that I’ve printed, on every single thing that I’ve written, it’s backed up in fact. It’s backed up in evidence. What they’re writing is not.”