FURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Will Eban’s report be pursued in the press?


Or will her report disappear: Last night, NBC Nightly News featured a brief interview with William Newell, “the veteran ATF agent who ran” the Fast and Furious program.

Newell furthered the story-line which first appeared in Katherine Eban’s recent confounding Fortune report. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/28/12.

“To my knowledge, not one firearm was walked to anybody intentionally,” Newell told NBC’s Michael Isikoff during last night’s report. “The notion that we somehow intentionally let guns walk is insane. It never happened.”

To watch last night’s report, click here.

Isikoff’s brief report seemed a bit confused—nothing unusual there. But this interview extends the contradiction which came to light in Eban’s report.

Newell said the ATF agents in Phoenix wanted to arrest the “straw” gun buyers at issue in the Fast and Furious flap. They couldn’t do so, Newell alleged, because nit-picking U. S. attorneys wouldn’t give them permission to make arrests.

Newell flatly denied the basic premise behind the long-standing Furious narrative. He also contradicted the testimony Eric Holder gave to the House last November. “Instances of so-called gun-walking are simply unacceptable,” Holder said in his testimony. “Regrettably, this tactic was used as part of Fast and Furious.”

Holder said gun-walking did occur. The notion is “insane,” Newell said. Eban’s detailed report in Fortune brought this contradiction to light. (To read her report, click here.)

Before we get to today’s Big Question, let’s imagine a reason for the contradiction between Holder and Newell. We have no idea if it’s true.

When she appeared on CNN Thursday night, Evan speculated that Holder might be scapegoating ATF agents in Phoenix to protect “the political appointees.” She wasn’t asked, and didn’t say, who those “appointees” are.

Question: Could Holder be trying to protect some U.S. attorneys he himself may have appointed? The ATF agents say the U.S. attorneys wouldn’t let them make arrests. If that’s true, were some of those folk Holder men?

We have no idea. But there is a glaring contradiction at the heart of the puzzling tale.

Eban’s report turned a long-standing story-line right smack dab on its head. Newell has furthered this new account with his NBC interview. If Newell’s statements are accurate, Holder’s statement to the House was not.

That brings us to today’s Big Question:

Will Eban’s detailed report disappear? Or will your favorite liberal heroes push to ferret the truth?

Over the past twenty years, your favorite fiery liberal heroes have often let the truth walk. Dearest Darlings, careers are at stake! In come cases, Obama’s line must be served!

Surely, it’s nice to pursue the truth. But it can’t always be done! In such ways, Fools for Scandal was disappeared. Ditto for our own incomparable work regarding the war against Gore. Darlings, the rubes can't be told!

In this case, we can’t tell you where the truth lies. But we can pose today’s Big Question:

Will Eban’s report be pursued in the press? Or will her report disappear?


  1. From the Fortune article:

    "New facts are still coming to light—and will likely continue to do so with the Justice Department inspector general's report expected in coming months. Among the discoveries: Fast and Furious' top suspects—Sinaloa Cartel operatives and Mexican nationals who were providing the money, ordering the guns, and directing the recruitment of the straw purchasers—turned out to be FBI informants who were receiving money from the bureau. That came as news to the ATF agents in Group VII."

    Why didn't the FBI track the guns from their paid informants to their to their destination and have the Mexicans nab the higher ups?

    Holder is not looking very good, but neither is Newell. He wasn't near this combative in his Congressional testimony.

  2. One thing tht I got out of Eban's report is that guns going to the cartels are the direct result of the NRA laissez faire world of gun shops and unrestrictive gun laws in Arizona. That is the scandal.

    1. I think the 47,000 dead Mexicans would agree with you.

  3. The thing about Eban's report I find curious is - if it's true, why the kerfuffle over documents? Then again, with Issa releasing classified details into the public record, maybe that's why.

  4. If the Attorney General simply complied with the Congressional subpoena and supplied the relevant documents, we wouldn't have to guess about whether or not guns were run to Mexican gangsters.

    1. If Republicans didn't obsequiously fawn over the NRA maybe we wouldn't have a problem with huge amounts of guns being transferred to drug cartels.

  5. The problem with turning over documents to Senators or Congressmen is their offices have more holes than Swiss cheese.

    Too many people have access to what should be 'eyes only' to the elected official, and staffs are known to blab.

    Issa demands classified documents for his investigation. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain wants to investigate and stop leaks in Obama's administration.

    The withheld documents can reveal the identities of undercover agents and Confidential Informants.

    The nature of the information can also point neon arrows at moles and plants inside the cartels, and aid the cartels in discovering and eliminating police that are not corrupt.

    One punishment the cartels mete out to their enemies is to place a burning tire around their necks.

    1. Since the documents at issue regard the cover-up, it's doubtful that any of your lurid fantasies are in play.

    2. Um, just curiously, what cover-up would that be? It's quite obvious from Eban's and Iskoff's reporting that everybody played by the book from start to finish.

      So what "cover-up," please? Thx.

    3. In January 2012, the Mexican government reported that 47,515 people had been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón began a military assault on criminal cartels soon after taking office in late 2006.

    4. The "cover-up."

      Quite simply, if we accept that Bob's guess might have some merit, the "cover-up" would be protecting US Attys from having *their* judgement questioned in the cases where *they* refused to allow arrests.

      Could the documents which show US Attys refusing to allow arrests also be documents which name secret sources?

      Obviously, yes they could.

  6. The actual US Attorney involved has already resigned. The Assistant US Attorney who received much of the blame in Eban's report has been transferred to the civil division. Assistant US Attorneys are not political hires per se, and they are largely career or at least long term jobs for the best and the brightest. SO no way Holder is covering for either of those 2.

  7. Lurid fantasy:

    TUCSON -- A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent from the Nogales office was sentenced Friday to 3years in prison for using her work computer to access classified information without authorization and leaking it to a sister in Mexico who investigators say had ties to violent drug cartels.
    Jovana Deas, 33, a former special agent with ICE Homeland Security Investigations, may have jeopardized national security and put at risk the lives of fellow agents and confidential government informants by leaking the information, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Lacey said at the close of a two-day sentencing hearing.
    Calling Deas a "spy in the U.S. camp," Lacey urged U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to exceed the guidelines and sentence Deas to 10years in prison to reflect the damage she had caused to ICE's operations and to deter other agents "from even thinking about" leaking confidential information.

    Lacey said one of the people who Deas researched using her work computer as a favor for her sister was later assassinated in Juarez, Mexico, though Lacey could not link his death directly to a photo of the man Deas provided her sister, Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, 40, a former Mexico federal police officer.
    "We are not saying she caused his murder. Maybe she did. Maybe she didn't," Lacey said.
    A copy of the photo was later discovered in the computer of Samaniego Montes's ex-husband, Miguel Angel Mendoza Estrada, when he was questioned by federal police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of a drug-trafficking investigation, ICE investigators said during the hearing.
    The former agent's actions seriously compromised ICE's operations in southern Arizona and exposed the country to the possibility of a terrorist threat, Lacey said.
    "It only takes one person to come in," Lacey said.
    In February, Deas pleaded guilty to a 21-count indictment.
    On Friday, she apologized for her actions but denied knowing her sister or ex-brother-in-law had ties to drug cartels or that she was trying to help drug cartels.
    She said that only in one instance, the one involving the photo, had she accessed confidential documents on her work computer as a favor for her sister. She said that in the other instances she was using tips provided by her sister to try and build cases against people possibly involved with drug cartels.
    "I feel like I betrayed my country and the agency that gave me so many opportunities," Deas told Jorgenson. "But I would never do anything to jeopardize the lives of agents."
    Jorgenson rejected Lacey's recommendation that Deas be sentenced to 10 years in prison. But she said that as a law-enforcement officer, Deas should be held to a higher standard. She also rejected Deas' request for a more lenient sentence and noted that the 3-year sentence was at the top end of the sentencing guidelines.
    Samaniego Montes also was indicted as part of the scheme, but she remains a fugitive in Mexico.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/06/29/20120629former-ice-agent-sentenced-info-leak.html#ixzz1zJnMekqp

  8. "Will Eban’s report be pursued in the press? Or will her report disappear?"

    I would think this is an easy one to answer.

    What is at risk in pursuing this report?

    *The sanctity of US gun culture may be tarnished by pursuing this report, if it turns out that our love affair with guns and gun ownership was a contributing factor in the failure to interdict weapons bound for use by Mexican cartels. The GOP may not be interested in having this happen.

    *The President may be tarnished if Holder's people (and even attorneys he did not personally appoint are "his people," now) were responsible for denying crucial arrest warrants. The Democrats may not be interested in having this happen.

    "Will Eban’s report be pursued in the press? Or will her report disappear?"

    Come on. It's a gimme.

  9. We are only days away from the point where mentioning "Eban's report" is the mark of being a conspiracy theorist, definitively a person not to be taken seriously.

  10. Why didn't the FBI track the guns from their paid informants to their to their destination and have the Mexicans nab the higher ups?

    During the Bush administration federal law enforcement agencies tried a program similar to Fast and Furious – but with 2 important differences:

    First, unlike the Holder gunwalking program the Bush program depended on cooperation with Mexican law enforcement to arrest the gunwalkers on the Mexican side as they crossed the border with the guns. In other words the Mexican government was kept fully informed and was an intrinsic part of the Bush administration's gunwalking program. With Obama and Holder's gunwalking program the Mexican government knew nothing.

    Secondly, when the Mexican government, despite being fully informed of who, where and when the guns were crossing the border, failed to arrest the gunwalkers the Bush administration SHUT THEIR PROGRAM DOWN.

    Later Holder started his own gunwalking program, but without informing the Mexican government. And why should they? The Mexicans had already proved too corrupt to arrest the gunwalkers in the earlier Bush gunwalking program. It seems obvious that the guns were NEVER MEANT to be intercepted or the gunwalkers arrested. The question is why? That's part of what Issa wants to find out.

    1. You sound like a Bush apologist. In Fast & Furious the only gun walking was by one renegade agent, Dodson. The rest were allowed to continue on their way because there was no legal basis to interdict them; at least according to the US Attorneys in Arizona. An agent may be sued if he confiscates a weapon against a US Attorney's advice. But unbeknownst to the ATF task force, the FBI knew where the guns were going: to their paid informants in Mexico who had ordered and paid for the guns. Once again, why didn't the FBI take control of the situation in Mexico?

  11. I have an idea -- why not just have strict laws prohibiting the transfer of weapons from or into the US.

  12. DipsoFacto: You sound like a Bush apologist.

    And DipsoFacto sounds like a Holder apologist.

    DipsoFacto: In Fast & Furious the only gun walking was by one renegade agent, Dodson. The rest were allowed to continue on their way because there was no legal basis to interdict them; at least according to the US Attorneys in Arizona.

    For instance by implying Holder is innocent of wrong-doing because the US Attorneys in Arizona would not allow known gunwalkers to be arrested you ignore the fact that US Attorneys in Arizona are part of Holder's Justice Department. They work for Holder.

    So we are left with 2 possible explanations: Either criminals(known gunwalkers) were deliberately allowed by Holder's Justice Department to commit crimes without arrest or penalty – or – "there was no legal basis to interdict" the criminals.

    If the former is true it represents a puzzling policy that should indicate either malfeasance or incompetence on Holder's part – take your pick. If the latter is true it raises another obvious question: Why would the Holder Justice Department revive a program that had been discarded as ineffective by Bush's Justice Department? A program(according to the commentor) that could NEVER result in arrest and conviction of any gunwalkers.

  13. The real US Lawyer engaged has already reconciled. The Associate US Lawyer who obtained much of the fault in Eban's review has been moved to the municipal division

    cheap runescape gold
    FFXIV Gold