Gungate and Other Scandals

Operation Fast and Furious is now being joined by “Operation Castaway,” a project allegedly run from the Tampa, Florida ATF office and which arranged for large amounts of weapons to be delivered to MS13 gang members in Honduras. This article suggests that this was different from the Phoenix operation, and that “most” or “several” gun shipments were intercepted.

What was the point?

For the last couple of years, the Obama administration has been pushing the line that “90% of guns used in Mexican crimes come from the US.” Hillary Clinton and various other politicians have made this false statement on a regular basis. The fact that it is false — and that the real number of guns purchased in the US and trafficked over the border was closer to 12% — was an annoyance to the Obama Administration. They continue pushing the false, high number. (Some sites report this as 17%, which includes guns that were manufactured in the US and shipped overseas to allies. These have nothing to do with the sort of problem Obama and company complain about, as the shipments to Mexico were coming from overseas.)

The Obama administration is in an odd position. One could argue that knowingly supplying weapons to people and targeting innocent citizens to accomplish a political purpose fits the classic definition of terrorism. The political purpose here was to create a scare allowing a panic push-through of gun bans, just as they’ve tried this (fairly ineffectively) after any news event they could tie it to. This would give them more leverage, in theory, but the agents involved couldn’t stomach it and blew the whistle.

The history of such prior scandals is worth looking at. Even the word “scandal” is intriguing; it is from a nautical term that means “a loss of wind in the sails.” A suddenly becalmed ship, or one in which the control of the sails has been lost, is said to be “scandalized.”


The Watergate affair, which gave us the “-gate” ending for everything from Travelgate to Chinagate to Climategate, involved a burglary of the office of a political opponent, in which the politican’s own man was caught stuck in the opponent’s window. The scandal ended a political career … well, no it didn’t. That politician was John Kerry, whose brother was caught breaking into the offices of Kerry’s opponent, and comically got stuck in the window. The media ignored this, preferring to go after the Nixon situation instead.

That one also involved a burglary of an opponent’s office. But while Nixon apparently hadn’t known about it in advance (whereas Kerry did), Nixon was a Republican. He resigned (anticipating impeachment) and a number of people close to him were convicted and went to jail.


In the Iran-Contra scandal, US intelligence people had tricked Iran into buying weapons from third party players such that part of the money went to support the anti-Communist contras in Nicaragua. At the same time, the US was helping these parties and countries entice Iran to encourage the release of US hostages being held by the Iranians’ puppet Hezbollah jihadists. We did get a few hostages out, and we were able to arrange help for the Contras to cover the gap where Congress would not.

Congress did vote to resume money to the Contras after the Iran-Contra business was revealed. But at the time, furious Democrats, realizing that their Communist friends were still being attacked by the resistance movement, did everything they could to throw people in jail. They ignored, of course, John Kerry’s unauthorized trip to cut deals with the Communists around the same time; for this, he received only censure in the Senate and barely a mention in the press.

The hearings were monstrous, despite the fact that there was arguably nothing illegal about the operation’s basic premise. The Boland Amendments said that certain US agencies could not fund the Contras, but said nothing about other agencies, or other countries (which was the case actually used). Israel and Saudi Arabia were unlikely partners knowingly helping the Contras, and Iran was doing so unwittingly.

In the meantime, we were trying to establish a relationship with Iran’s new leaders, and convince them to convince their Hezbollah friends to release the hostages. That worked only poorly, but three were released.

Colonel North was indicted on 16 counts, but convicted of only three. Those involved misleading members of Congress while they were on a fishing expedition and he was not under oath (to protect agents and hostages), and accepting a security system on his home installed by General Secord when North’s family was threatened with assassination. All of those convictions were subsequently thrown out, but a few other people had convictions stick.

It’s interesting: While some of the other people engaged in furious denial fared badly, the YouTube videos of Lt. Colonel North show him earnestly trying to explain things to his questioners, at one point even doing a slide show presentation.

Unlike the targets of most such scandals, Col. North became a national hero during those Congressional hearings. Decades ago, I bought the transcripts; it is only this evening that I looked at the old videos on YouTube. I’ve had the pleasure of dining with the man on a few occasions, and I have a great deal of respect for him and his work, then and now. An odd bit of trivia; he offered to act as agent for my America-themed poetry.

Bill Clinton’s swinging -gates

There was Chinagate, in which Bill Clinton and Al Gore made various arrangements with the Communist Chinese and their delegates. I told that story in poetry here, with lots of links. The upshot was that by the time that was over, about a hundred Clinton associates were either indicted or had left the country (or both). And the Chinese had US military secrets, including new targeting systems for their missiles.

I had a very minor involvement here, as I was a client for the failed satellite that China had failed to launch, providing a cover for the technology transfer. It wasn’t my technology, though; I did satellite communications work, not guidance, but I have met many of the players and the technicians involved.

Back in the States, things were heating up. Every day on the House and Senate floors, Republicans (and some Democrats) demanded to know why Bill Clinton had given top secret clearance and dozens of White House visits to a Chinese spy, while Democrat Henry Waxman did everything he could to block the investigations.

When the overseas intelligence operations chasing communist China began making connections to the Clinton’s domestic Washington deals, Clinton had Jamie Gorelick set up the “Gorelick Wall” to prevent our foreign and domestic intelligence operations from sharing information. This edict was later implicated in our failure to stop the 9/11 attacks.

Another trivia bit: Only one member of the US government was told, in advance, that an attack was likely, that terrorists were casing a particular airport, and that the attack was likely to be a suicide bombing. That wasn’t George Bush (and in fact most people read the famous August memo backward) — it was John Kerry, who received a detailed report from an FAA investigator about jihadists casing Logan Airport two months before the attack took place. Kerry sat on the report, and buried it. And two months later, the planes hijacked from Logan Airport took off aiming for the Twin Towers.

Back to Chinagate (the poetry is more fun than this): Just when it was clear that Clinton was going to be impeached for his Chinese Communist doings (not to mention John Kerry), a “bimbo eruption” took place and Monica Lewinsky became the focus. I suspect that the media thought this would take the Chinagate heat off of Clinton, since he’d survived several previous such eruptions, but his handling of this one … well, he blew it. So the distraction changed the impeachment to be about Monica Lewinsky instead of China, much to many people’s surprise including my own. And, ultimately, he got off. So to speak.

Other -gates

Other “-gates” have arisen from time to time; I’ve spent a lot of time investigating the evidence of climate scientists’ criminality and unprofessional actions in Climategate, in blogs here and here.

Abu Gharaib was massively overplayed in my opinion; the photos taken by the criminal idiots was leaked by their defense attorney to his buddy Seymore Hersh. (Did you know that these people were already being tried even before the public found out about it? They were turned in by fellow soldiers, belying the “under orders” nonsense.) The gang of idiots who pulled the one-night stunt (all the photos were from one night) were convicted on various charges.

Various other scandals have arisen from time to time, many using the “-gate” ending for added weight.

A plan to OFF citizens?

So now we have “Operation Fast and Furious” (OFF) which seems to be a plan to OFF Americans. I am seeing a number of leftists who are agreeing that it is a very bad thing, but attempting to blame it on George W. Bush. This is because a project called “Operation Gunrunner” was started in 2006, on President Bush’s watch.

The problem with this is that evidence shows that OFF was spun off of this as a new project, and launched in about October of 2009. Here’s the timeline — this continues in four parts.

Even a couple of months after Obama took office, the brand-new Deputy Attorney General gave a press conference in which he talked about bold new initiatives for dealing with gun trafficking into Mexico, and thanked Janet Napolitano for her involvement.

Now, of course, Secretary Napolitano has no memory of ever hearing about OFF, and thinks it would be “immature” to offer condolences to the slain agent’s family until she knows more. (She did correct herself to “premature” a moment later, but in either case, her comment was ice cold and probably painful for the families to watch.)

The new allegations are at once horrifying and unsurprising. The gang MS-13 operates in many US cities, and they are a powerful and deadly force for police departments to reckon with.

Incidentally, the OFF project was not to catch gun stores doing something wrong. No gun shops at all have been charged with any wrongdoing; they were told in advance to cooperate. No, this was to get large numbers of guns on the street in the hands of criminals in the US and Mexico. So far, several hundred of them have been recovered — at crime scenes, where at least 150 people have been killed including US law enforcement agents. This leaves a thousand-plus weapons, delivered into the hands of criminals by US ATF agents, still lost. We know what grim harvest to expect from that.

I think that Napolitano had enough information to offer her condolences to the family.

But notice what’s happening here: If this massively bad idea, this “felony stupid’ operation as Congressman Issa put it, were revealed to a President Obama who was concerned about it, he’d be very visibly upset, and would demand an investigation and use his office to get answers.

Instead, Obama and Holder have ducked questions and colluded to keep the investigators at bay, and the Democrats have launched a series of distractions about how loose gun control is while Obama is quietly enacting by fiat gun control laws that could have never made it through Congress.

An email that has just surfaced lends evidence to the fact that Operation Fast and Furious (and an apparently larger operation in Texas, plus the Florida Operation Castaway and who knows how many others) was a PR stunt to gin up numbers to support the “90% assertion” about weapons from the US, so that the Democrats could implement gun bans.

It will not likely be a Watergate for Obama, as Investors Business Daily suggests. The president is planning to survive this, protected by a compliant media. It is unfortunate, but he probably is guessing correctly. But it seems unlikely to me that Holder will remain, considering the calls for him to resign.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • David

    Wow, great article. I did not know that the Gorelick wall was set up to prevent the investigation of Clinton.

    Obama is safe if he cannot be directly connected. Do you have details on the e-mail which shows the political motivation for these programs? The motives in Iran Contra were all fine, this is not.

    Not even the MSM can protect Obama if this political motive can be connected to his having foreknowldge of these programs. At least I hope not. (It appears to me that the Republican leadership needs to do more press conferences, clearly illustrating events and key points, like the situation with the current budget battle. Republicans are handicapped by the MSM, but they are poor communicators, IMV.)

    I am not clear on Clintons motives / goals in the China story.