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Will the 'Fast and Furious' Scandal Be Obama's Watergate?

1:15 PM, Sep 29, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Over at Forbes, Frank Miniter argues that "'Fast And Furious' Just Might Be President Obama's Watergate":

Why a gunrunning scandal codenamed “Fast and Furious,” a program run secretly by the U.S. government that sent thousands of firearms over an international border and directly into the hands of criminals, hasn’t been pursued by an army of reporters all trying to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein is a story in itself.

But the state of modern journalism aside, this scandal is so inflammatory few realize that official records show the current director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), B. Todd Jones — yes the individual the Obama administration brought in to replace ATF Director Kenneth Melson Aug. 30 in an effort to deflect congressional criticism — also has questions to answer about his involvement in this gunrunning scandal.

Part of the reason why the scandal isn't creating more outrage is that each new development has been reported on in a largely piecemeal fashion. That's why Miniter's piece is worth reading in full, especially if you haven't been closely following the scandal. Miniter provides the necessary political context and outlines the broad contours of how the scandal unfolded.

And while we're at it, in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, I authored an editorial also asking why the story hadn't received much more attention. In addition to the relative lack of media coverage, I concluded there was a lack of political pressure being brought to bear:

As the Obama administration continues to be less than forthcoming, we’re left to speculate as to potential political motives behind this baffling and obviously dangerous operation. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to hear an explanation for the scandal until more political pressure is applied on the White House and Justice Department. Congressman Issa is rightly calling for a special investigator. But, in the meantime, national Republicans need to speak out loudly and often until the situation is resolved. American law enforcement agents have died and there’s not been a single mention of the scandal at a GOP debate. If Fast and Furious were to become a campaign issue, the president might be forced to respond.

For what it's worth, yesterday Arizona congressman Paul Gosar attended a town hall in Tuscon organized by citizens irate over the scandal. That's a small step in the right direction.

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