Investor's Business Daily asks: "A White House 'Gunrunner'?" (They also manage to misspell my name, but what the hey.)
On 25 May, I was the first to pose the question: Is Dan Restrepo the Oliver North of the Gunwalker scandal?
Now comes Investor's Business Daily:
Operation Gunwalker, the rogue ATF operation to arm Mexico's cartels, extends now to three White House officials. A bell goes off with the one named Dan Restrepo.
Late last Friday, CBS News and the Los Angeles Times almost buried the news that Restrepo, the National Security Council's top man for Latin America, and two other officials, were in on ATF memos from the Gunwalker operation called "Fast and Furious."
That blows apart White House claims that it had no idea the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was encouraging frontmen for Mexico's cartels to buy weapons from U.S. gun dealers — to "trace" them afterward.
Some 2,000 U.S. guns were sold in Gunwalker but simply disappeared — until they turned up at massacres in Mexico and at the murder scenes of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata.
But outgoing ATF acting director Ken Melson and others who've been the fall guys in this scandal darkly hint that their orders came from the White House, and domestic critics think Gunwalker can only be explained as a White House bid to boost support for gun control. Restrepo's involvement distinctly raises both possibilities.
Restrepo is a political operative whose interests are more domestic than Latin American. As a result, he's botched every Latin American operation he's had his hand in, appeasing enemies and blaming the U.S.:
• Honduras: In 2009, Restrepo was behind a U.S. bid to swiftly declare Honduras' constitutional ouster of its president "a coup" and sanctioned the country, playing into the hands of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who had attempted to make Honduras a colony.
• Cuba: Restrepo was behind loosening sanctions on Castro's Cuba, which has emboldened the regime to act against Americans. While Castro imprisoned Alan Gross, a U.S. contractor who was distributing satellite phones to dissidents, the Obama administration said nothing.
• Colombia: Its troops captured drug "kingpin of kingpins" Walid Makled, who had extensive knowledge of Venezuelan official involvement in trafficking. U.S. attorneys wanted him extradited, but Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos said President Obama never asked. When IBD asked Restrepo whether he advised Obama to ask, Restrepo defensively said he did. But that's at odds with what Santos said.
• Venezuela: Treasury Department officials complained Restrepo kept names of high-ranking Venezuelan officials with ties to drug dealers off its "Kingpin List," in a naive effort to keep pressure off Chavez.
• Now Restrepo tries to pin Mexico's drug war not on Hugo Chavez's trafficker allies, but on gun dealers from the U.S.
There's little doubt that's his line, because blaming U.S. gun dealers and calling for a U.S. assault weapon ban were his ideas from his days spent at the Center for American Progress, an Obama-linked think tank.
The U.S. "will work to inhibit the flow of weapons ... across our border," Restrepo told Mexican media.
Meanwhile, when Obama met with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, both erroneously declared that U.S. weapons fueled Mexico's drug war — on Restrepo's advice.
Blogger Mike Vanderbroegh thinks that if Restrepo wasn't the author of Gunwalker he'd know who is and should be called to tell Congress. Either he's kept Obama in the dark about Gunwalker, or Obama should be impeached.