The revelation is that an illegally purchased gun, a transaction facilitated by the ATF pursuant to Fast and Furious, was used to commit a crime in Phoenix. The revelation in contained in documents obtained through a lawsuit by Judicial Watch against the Phoenix Police Department to force compliance with a public records request. [These are public records but it seems to always take a lawsuit to get the documents].
James Cole, the official who has resigned, doesn’t admit that his resignation is because of yesterday’s revelation, but I’d say this is a case where the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy is no fallacy at all. Cole claims he’s resigning because he wants to work in the private sector. Sure.
From the article cited above, here is a primer on Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious,” operation:
In Operation Fast and Furious, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, under the direction of their supervisors, orchestrated situations in which criminals known as “straw purchasers” were allowed to purchase firearms from Phoenix-area gun stores. Straw purchasers are people who buy guns for others, and are regularly employed by criminal enterprises and weapons smugglers for groups like the Mexican drug cartels. Normally, ATF agents arrest such people as they make straw purchases, but during Fast and Furious they did not. During Fast and Furious, the federal agents let the guns and their purchasers get away—and hundreds of guns ended up in the hands of cartel operatives in Mexico. The scandal broke wide open after one gun was used in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010, but hundreds of Mexicans are thought to have been killed with the guns, and congressional leaders who have investigated the matter say they expect more violence in both Mexico and the U.S.—like this instance in Phoenix—with the Fast and Furious weapons.
Holder, the attorney general, has failed to cooperate with the Fast and Furious congressional investigation led by Issa and Grassley. Holder was voted, on a bipartisan basis, into both criminal and civil contempt of Congress—a first in the history of the United States for a Cabinet-level official—after he failed to provide documents to Issa’s committee pursuant to a congressional subpoena. President Obama himself has asserted executive privilege over many of the Fast and Furious documents, an executive privilege claim that Grassley and Issa say is invalid and unlawful that is currently being litigated in court pursuant to the civil contempt citation. Ron Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, declined to prosecute Holder.
Grassley and Issa say Obama’s executive privilege claim is invalid because he is asserting the lower of two forms of privilege, deliberative process privilege rather than the higher form of presidential communications privilege. If he asserted the latter higher form, Obama would be admitting that either he or his top deputies knew of details of Operation Fast and Furious of which he and his senior advisers have vigorously denied knowledge—and the lower form of privilege, Grassley and Issa have noted, is considered immediately invalid with even the suspicion of government wrongdoing. In Fast and Furious, Obama, Holder, and the rest of the Obama administration have admitted there was not only a suspicion of government wrongdoing, but that government wrongdoing actually occurred.
We now know that Eric Holder and Obama have been lying all along about Fast and Furious. But why was this thing ever done in the first place? One simple reason, I believe. It was to make it appear that it was the Second Amendment that makes it impossible to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. They believed that if the American people saw that guns from U.S. gun stores were regularly making their way to Mexico and the Mexican drug cartels, then the people would support draconian gun laws. Of course, this depended on nobody discovering that it was the U.S. Government running the guns.
You can’t be too cynical about the Obama administration.