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There’s an old saying that says, roughly, “It’s not the crime that kills you; it’s the cover-up”. Right now the Obama administration is on the verge of being killed by the almost daily revelations of how it came to be that over 2,000 guns passed from the United States, under the watchful eyes of the BATFE, into the hands of narco-terrorist drug cartels in Mexico. Those guns have killed at least 152 government and law enforcement officials, an unknown (but high) number of civilians, and have destabilized the Mexican government.

The latest revelation is that Eric Holder might know more about Operation Fast and Furious — the program launched from the Phoenix office of the BATFE ostebsibly to conbat the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico — than he let on. Both Doug Ross and Barbara Hollingsworth for the Washington Examiner have the transcript of several Holder statements in which he bragged about how the administration was going to ramp up its weapons-interdiction efforts.

However, we need to be very careful how we write about this story. Both Ross and Hollingsworth, as well as Buck Sexton as Glenn Beck’s site The Blaze, conflate Project Gunrunner with Operation Fast and Furious. The terms are not interchangeable. So far as I can tell, Attorney General Holder did not profess ignorance about Project Gunrunner, as Sexton alleges. He professed ignorance about Operation Fast and Furious. That’s a critical difference that, at this point, leaves him off the hook.

Here is the difference between the two. Project Gunrunner is a multi-state operation that began in 2005-2006. It encompasses several local operations inside it, including Operation Fast and Furious (such as Operation Castaway, which might have its own scandal a-brewing). Gunrunner also involves other federal law enforcement agencies — the FBI, DEA, and ICE — as well as local and state police departments.

Operation Fast and Furious started in 2009 as part of the larger Gunrunner initiative. It ran out of the Phoenix (Arizona) Field Division of the BATFE and was shut down in 2010. It may have involved other agencies, unbeknownst to the acting director of the BATFE. Fast and Furious is the program under which all the guns “walked” into Mexico, the one that killed Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, and the one about which the Department of Justice has stonewalled Darrell Issa’s Congressional investigation. The trouble for this administration lies in Fast and Furious — not the larger Project Gunrunner.

We need to be crystal clear about what we mean when we discuss this growing scandal. You had better believe that this administration will try to use the legal and safe operations happening elsewhere under the Gunrunner umbrella to confuse the issue and hide its misdeed. We can not give them an inch of cover. Right now, the evidence shows, at the very least, that high-ranking officials inside the Justice Department directly contributed to hundreds of needless deaths. We must get to the bottom of that, and clarity will get us there much faster.

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6 Responses to “Keep the Focus: Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious are Not the Same Thing.”

  1. james says:

    They are one in the same. The names were different based on the cities they ran out of and what the agency in that city wanted to call it.

    You left out the fact that two of the guns in this operation were found at the scene of Border Agent Brian Terry who was shot while on patrol in southern Arizona. about 18 miles NORTH of the US Mexico border

    • Jimmie says:

      You are incorrect. They are not the same. I also did not leave out Agent Terry. Not only did I mention him in this post, I have mentioned Him in at least one other on the subject here.

      I’ve done the homework.

  2. Pat Austin says:

    Linked at SIGIS!

  3. Alert the Media! In March of 2009 Obama Admin Announced Project Gun Runner! Updated | The Lonely Conservative says:

    [...] they’re only watchdogs when a Republican is in office.Doug Ross: Holder Lied, People DiedJimmie Bise urges caution in not confusing Project Gunrunner with Operation Fast and Furious. (Can I just say [...]

  4. @directorblue says:

    Jimmie, actually I'm relying on reports from both Issa, CNS News and The Blaze that Holder was untruthful.

    Blaze: "Asked in May when he learned of Operation “Fast and Furious” and “Project Gunrunner,” Holder claimed he ‘probably’ learned of it ‘over the last few weeks.’"

    CNS: "Issa told he is convinced—“absolutely”—that Holder knew about the operation earlier than he claimed."

    • Jimmie says:

      I think Issa's belief is right, Doug, but he doesn't have proof for it yet. The Blaze's reporting is a bit off. The video they used to say that Holder did know about Fast and Furious shows that he only admitted to knowing about Gunrunner. I suspect strongly that he not only knew about Fast and Furious but signed off on it to the President, but we don't yet have that smoking gun. Hopefully, someone inside Justice will provide that.

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