House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Attorney General Eric Holder
Given the attention focused on the presidential race, it was easy to miss the report from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General on the "Fast and Furious" controversy. The 471-page document, based on 100,000 documents and more than 130 interviews, is the definitive take on what transpired.
And what did the IG find? That the operation was "seriously flawed and supervised irresponsibly" by federal officials in Arizona, but also that Attorney General Eric Holder knew nothing of the botched effort, and there was no White House involvement.
And while that's important, Kevin Drum raises an important point about the bigger picture.
For over a year, it's been an article of faith on the right that Fast & Furious was a carefully constructed scheme directed by the White House to trash the Second Amendment and build support for more gun control laws. It wasn't. Neither the White House nor Eric Holder had any idea what was going on. It was just a local operation that was badly botched. This makes Fast & Furious officially yet another lunatic conservative conspiracy theory that has bitten the dust in the cold light of reality.
Those who don't keep a close eye on Republican rhetoric and/or Fox News broadcasts may not realize how deeply invested the right has been in this conspiracy theory. Conservatives have been convinced that this would be a sweeping scandal that could destroy the administration and bring down Holder, if not the president. The Weekly Standard suggested the issue could be "Obama's Watergate." Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) argued that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) had secret documents that proved the White House was directly involved in the F&F operation.
The whole thing just made sense to them -- the Bush and Obama administrations deliberately attempted misguided sting operations so there would be deadly gun violence along the U.S.-Mexican border, which in turn would repulse the American mainstream, which in turn would create a demand for gun-control legislation, which in turn would cause Congress to pass gun-control laws, which in turn would cause a breakdown of Second Amendment rights.
In June, Bob Herbert told Rachel the argument was "madness of the highest order," and he was right. But that doesn't mean this madness was limited to the fringe; this nonsense was actually a mainstream GOP idea.
And in some ways, it still is -- Issa, in his capacity as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, vowed this week to keep digging, looking for more evidence of administration wrongdoing.