The Obama conspiracy theorists are having a ball with Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF case that involved letting Mexican drug cartels purchase illegal guns in Arizona. Over the weekend, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California revealed that many conservative believe the Obama administration allowed the operation to proceed as a backdoor way of building public support for gun control—even though the operation was first begun during the Bush administration, which was staunchly opposed to gun control.
It makes no sense whatsoever, but the theory is currently all the rage in right wing circles, added to a whole catalogue of actions by President Obama that conservatives use to feed each other wacky conspiracy theories.
During a Sunday appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Issa acknowledged that the operation began under President Bush, but said, “It started under Bush, was closed up under Bush, reopened under President Obama, and in fact got to be on steroids.”
The botched ATF undercover operation in 2011 resulted in nearly two thousand guns that were illegally purchased at Arizona guns shops—with the knowledge of ATF agents—winding up being used in at least 200 murders in Mexico and ultimately the murder of ATF agent Brian Terry. Though the undercover operations actually began during the Bush administration and the 2011 operation was initiated by lower-level ATF officials, Republicans have been trying to use the case to crucify Holder and paint him as incompetent because he wasn’t aware of the operation—both Holder and President Obama have said they didn’t approve of it—and gave Congress misleading answers early in its probe. Issa has gone so far as to take a vote in his Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not handing over all the documents Issa said he wanted.
But in his appearance on Fox, Issa contradicted a statement made last Thursday by House Speaker John Boehner, who said that President Obama invoking executive privilege to prevent Congress from accessing documents Obama considers too sensitive was proof that Obama and the White House was aware of the ATF operation and was trying to cover it up. Issa said Congress had found no evidence to support Boehner’s claim. He also said he never claimed that Holder knew of the operation.