Rep. Issa Panders To Conspiracy Theorists

September 21, 2011 10:29 am ET — Brian Powell

If conservative blogger Bob Owens is telling the truth, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is pouring fuel on the wildfire of internet conspiracy theories surrounding the ATF's failed gun trafficking program, Operation Fast and Furious. According to Owens, Issa held a conference call with members of the conservative blogosphere yesterday in which he answered questions from the likes of Owens, a man who has previously called an armed revolution "the morally-required alternative" if other efforts to repeal health care reform fail.

Owens, writing for, asked Issa whether there was an ulterior motive behind Operation Fast and Furious, likely referring to conspiracy theories that accuse the operation of being a front for pushing public opinion in favor of stricter gun laws. Owens described Issa's response:

Nothing in his response could be construed to mean that Rep. Issa thought Operation Fast and Furious was a legitimate law enforcement operation. And if it does not appear to have been implemented as a legitimate law enforcement operation, then we are left with the possible alternative that the goal of the operation was both illegitimate and unlawful.

Issa put it rather bluntly: "The administration wanted to show that guns found in Mexico came from the United States."

He elaborated a bit when he noted that while he wouldn't presume to know the precise goals of Operation Fast and Furious, it certainly did seem to tie in with the narrative the Obama administration was trying to push — that U.S. guns were turning up at Mexican crime scenes. That allowed, the suggestion hanging in the air was that a goal of the Administration was indeed a "Reichstag fire" designed to support a narrative that has been publicly woven by Attorney General Holder, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and President Obama himself on multiple occasions.

According to the report produced by Issa's committee, the "purpose" of Operation Fast and Furious was to "build a large, complex conspiracy case" in order to take down Mexican drug cartels. Issa's reported comment to Owens implies he has knowledge of motives behind Operation Fast and Furious that he failed to put into his committee's investigative report, or he's recklessly making accusations he doesn't know to be true in order to appease the gun-rights conspiracy blogs that have helped keep his investigation alive in the media. Either act would be grossly unprofessional.

But given the violent rhetoric by bloggers like Owens, who recently wrote that Fast and Furious "is the start of a coup d'etat against the republic," Issa's remarks are also potentially dangerous.