For those unfamiliar with Fast & Furious it was an ATF operation which deliberately allowed guns to be straw purchased in the US and then 'walked' across the border into Mexico for delivery to the cartels, arguably some of the most vicious criminals in the Northern Hemisphere. National Gun Rights Examiner and blogger David Codrea and Sipsey Street Irregulars blogger Mike Vanderboegh both did yeoman work, collecting, verifying and publishing the almost unbelievable facts of the matter. They both tried for months to get anyone in the mainstream media or government to pay attention to the story, David put together a comprehensive journalist's guide to the scandal, but we still have people like Dennis swilling at the ATF info-trough and regurgitating their talking points practically verbatim. For example:
"Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed hundreds of weapons to cross the border in hopes of catching Mexican drug kingpins, wound up increasing the firepower of cartels without getting any key players."
For starters, F&F did not allow "hundreds" of weapons across the border, it allowed thousands. As best the Congressional oversight folks can estimate something in excess of two thousand weapons were "walked" from border gun shops to the cartels. The idea that DoJ and the ATF allowed this "in hopes of catching Mexican drug kingpins" is ludicrous on its face. Under their Catch-a-Kingpin plan the ATF would know who the low-level straw-purchaser was, and they might know who the even lower-level gun thug was when a weapon was retrieved from a crime scene (and I'll get back to that part of the "plan" in a moment). Those are the sole facts they would have, and from this information they were somehow going to be able to divine (and prove in a court of law) who the mastermind was? This reminds me of that S. Harris 'then a miracle occurs' cartoon, and like the senior mathematician in the cartoon: "I think you should be more explicit here in step two."
Now I promised to get back to the 'retrieve the gun from a crime scene' part of the plan. If we accept that Catch-a-Kingpin was the plan from the beginning, then we also must accept that the ATF was counting on the guns which they supplied to the cartels being used in violent crimes. Think about that for a moment: The ATF was providing violent criminals with weapons in order for the criminals to more easily commit their atrocities. In most jurisdictions this is known as accessory before the fact.
A couple of paragraphs later we come to:
"Rigid defenders of the right to bear arms, who typically assail ATF for enforcing gun laws, took a polar position on Fast and Furious ..."
I know very few "rigid defenders of the right to bear arms" (i.e. gun-nuts) who assail the ATF for enforcing laws, for the most part we instead assail the existence of the laws. What we assail the ATF for is:
1) Selective enforcement of ridiculous interpretations of the laws. For example there have been cases where inspectors called it a violation when someone used 'Y' or 'N' instead of 'Yes' or 'No' on a form 4473. There have been case where dealers have been gigged for filing their forms in the wrong order because they were filed alphabetically within each month instead of strictly chronologically while other dealers have been faulted for not filing alphabetically within each month.
2) Vindictive pursuit of people like Albert Kwan who failed to properly respect their august personages, or Len Savage who provided expert defense testimony in several cases which showed the ATF to be the bumbling buffoons that they are.
3) Having supervisors caught on video directing underlings to commit perjury with no consequences.
4) ATF "experts" who make up arbitrary standards which they then use to bring charges.
5) ATF's continued refusal to establish any sort of standards or protocol for testing of submitted firearms.
6) ATF's laughable statements that a shoestring is a machine-gun or that Chore Boy pots scrubbers are NFA regulated firearms.
8) Ruby Ridge
I could continue for pages, but you get the idea.
"... arguing that ATF agents should have arrested suspected straw buyers and seized their weapons even though the purchases were, in most cases, legal."
Hmm, no, in fact, by definition, straw purchases are not legal, and with someone purchasing dozens of rifles in a few days it is pretty straightforward to show in court that they were not acting lawfully, but we'll let that slide and address the implication that we gun-nuts wanted the straw buyers to be jumped the moment they walked out the door of the gun shop. Speaking just for myself (although I believe most fellow gun-nuts would agree) this is simply not true; I would, however, argue that ATF agents should have arrested these straw buyers and seized their weapons before or as they were crossing the border instead of allowing the Iron River of guns to continue to flow south.
"Key Republicans in Congress welcomed an opportunity to go after the Justice Department and White House. All of them have speculated that the Obama administration devised the investigation so that Mexico would be flooded with U.S. firearms, thereby justifying new gun-control legislation. ..."
Wow, what nut jobs! Who could possibly believe that anecdotal evidence would be used to call for increased long gun sales reporting or that F&F court cases could provide strong supporting factors for implementing increased long gun sales reporting. And who but a complete black-helicopter-conspiracy-nut could believe that a U.S. Senator would use Fast & Furious to push for national gun registration or that a member of the House would use the situation to push the idea that "our weak gun laws are, in fact, helping funnel weapons into Mexico."
"But, as it turned out, the Fast and Furious strategy originated with field agents in Phoenix and was first employed not under Democratic leadership, but years earlier during the Republican administration of George W. Bush."
Okay now we are departing from the ATF meme and going into the liberal "blame Bush" meme. The fact is even Attorney General Holder stated under oath that he would not equate the two operations. The major and critical difference between the Bush DoJ's Operation Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious is that in Operation Wide Receiver the Mexican authorities were apprised of the operation and told when, where and in what vehicle the guns were coming through. In Fast & Furious, however, not only were the Mexican authorities kept in the dark, the ATF's own personnel in Mexico were not told about the operation.
I will say this: once he gets past the opening paragraphs Dennis presents a fairly straightforward litany of facts, but in those opening paragraphs his interpretations show a profound leftward lean.