NEWS BLOG: Fast and furious theatrics

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The day before Congress voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, an article published by Katherine Eban in Fortune Magazine essentially gutted the rationale for the move. Fortune is hardly a left-leaning pub, so it's certainly worth the read in light of what is happening.

Republicans went after Holder because he refused to turn over any more documents involving "Fast and Furious."

The case sounds like a new Clint Eastwood movie, but it's the name given to a 2009 operation involving the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The ATF's Phoenix division was trying to stop gun trafficking from the Phoenix area into Mexico, but something went wrong and an officer, Brian Terry, was killed.

Eban reports that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. But the opportunity for political mayhem has taken over. And here we are.

Obviously, there were mistakes. But Republicans aren't interested in knowing what happened to Officer Terry. They, largely at the behest of the National Rifle Association, have concocted one story after another to politicize the event and stir up the conservative base.

None is more bizarre than the one about the Obama administration actually orchestrating the whole thing in order to whip up anti-gun sentiment in the US.

It's kind of hard to believe that some reasonably intelligent members of Congress have appeared on one news show after another spewing such crazy nonsense. If they really believe this kind of stuff, they shouldn't be allowed to drive much less hold office.

There is no evidence linking Officer Terry's death to President Obama. But it shouldn't surprise anyone that Republicans are desperately trying to make the connection.

Republicans are busy trying to debunk Eban's work. But similar reports are surfacing.

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