The Congressional Research Service recently released another in a series of “Gun Control Legislation” reports by William J. Krouse, Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy. While the entire report is an invaluable guide for understanding the scope and nature of related firearms control issues being considered by Congress, the report references a recommendation of particular interest to those following the “Project Gunwalker” (Operation Fast and Furious) story. From page 30 of the report (page 34 in the pdf file):
As called for originally by Senator Grassley, the House Appropriations Committee included report language in the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 2596; H. Rept. 112-169) that recommends the appointment of “an outside, independent investigator,” who would be charged with conducting “a thorough investigation of the allegations against ATF with respect to Operation Fast and Furious and policies guiding this and similar operations.” In addition, the House committee called on both DOJ and ATF to cooperate fully with related oversight investigations, whether they be conducted by congressional committees, the DOJ OIG, or an independent investigator.
The summary and status of H.R. 2596 is accessible from the Library of Congress THOMAS website, as is the appropriate section of H. Rept. 112-169, BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES SALARIES AND EXPENSES, which asserts:
The Committee believes that an outside, independent investigator should be appointed to conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations against ATF with respect to Operation Fast and Furious and the policies guiding this and similar operations. The Committee expects the Department and ATF to cooperate fully with all oversight investigations into Operation Fast and Furious–whether by the Inspector General, an independent, government-appointed investigator, or Congress–by promptly and thoroughly responding to all requests for information regarding this matter.
Appropriations is a powerful committee—their recommendations have weight. Additionally, further obstruction of Congress and/or perjury charges against individuals equivocating under oath are now a distinct possibility.
With the political considerations that beset any Congressional effort, and noting documented past deliberate indifference by the Office of Inspector General to whistleblower concerns about Fast and Furious, appointing an independent investigator —while noting who would object to one—could present the best option for uncovering the whole truth, and for identifying how high up into the Administration decisions resulting in “walked” guns were made.
Click here for the CRS Gun Control Legislation report.
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’ Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four for a complete list with links of independent investigative reporting and commentary done to date by Sipsey Street Irregulars and Gun Rights Examiner.
Note to newcomers to this story: “Project Gunrunner” is the name ATF assigned to its Southwest Border Initiative to interdict gun smuggling to Mexico. “Project Gunwalker” is the name I assigned to the scandal after allegations by agents that monitored guns were allowed to fall into criminal hands on both sides of the border through a surveillance process termed “walking” surfaced.
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