The Pinal County sheriff talks about the federal sting operation "Fast and Furious" that was meant to stop gun-smuggling to Mexico.
Why is the Arizona Sheriff's Association calling for a special prosecutor to examine "Fast and Furious"?
The American people deserve a thorough, impartial and independent review of what happened here. Nothing short of that will ever be acceptable. The Justice Department has a serious conflict of interest in policing itself. So, no more scapegoats - let's find out just how this happened, exactly who is responsible, and hold them accountable.
What evidence leads you to believe there was a federal cover-up?
Fast and Furious quickly proved to be a catastrophe, but the public didn't learn about it until Agent Brian Terry was murdered on American soil. Since then, whistleblowers have been punished, those responsible have been promoted, scapegoats have been offered. This is a textbook attempt at obstruction by the federal government.
You've called for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign or be fired. Is there enough evidence today to warrant that?
Eric Holder knew or should have known that Operation Fast and Furious was taking place. He received numerous memos on the subject in July of 2010, though he now claims not to remember. In May, Holder told Congress under oath that he had just learned of it. I believe, in addition to bearing responsibility for this operation, which alone should warrant his resignation, he is now actively engaged in concealing what happened.
You said, "This is a much larger scandal than Watergate." Watergate brought down a presidency. Do you expect this to do the same?
If you knew that a foreign power had caused over 2,000 guns to arrive in the hands of America's most dangerous criminals, what would you say? What if those weapons had been used to commit more than 200 murders? Now consider that the federal government did just that - and to an ally. Nobody died because of Watergate, and no treaties were violated. People on both sides of the border will be dealing with the deadly fallout for years to come. But before this is over, we'll know exactly what Barack Obama knew - and when he knew it.
Is the Sheriff's Association also critical of the Bush administration, which similarly allowed guns to "walk" across the border in Operation Wide Receiver?
Our press conference last Friday was a rare moment of bipartisanship in American politics. It's because sheriffs - Democrats or Republicans - know that this was a tragically flawed operation, no matter the president's party.
You told CNN the ATF is an accomplice to murder. Why is that a fair accusation?
First of all, many of the brave men and women of the ATF recognized this operation as a world-class disaster in the making. As for those responsible for Fast and Furious, they facilitated and they directly sold over 2,000 weapons to Mexican drug cartels. These guns have been used to murder at least 200 people. Should we be more strongly regulating gun sales in this country so weapons are not so readily smuggled into Mexico?
This is about our own federal government using taxpayer money from the stimulus to purchase automatic weapons and sell them directly to the most dangerous criminals in North America. The firearm dealers in these cases flagged the purchases and reported them to the federal government, who then ordered them to make the sale anyway. Nothing about this suggests a problem with our current regulations.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/10/15/20111015into-the-mind15-paul-babeu.html#ixzz1bCtrc7qf