Grassley was not so ‘Fast & Furious’ in 2006

Stephen Dinan in yesterday’s Washington Times reported that:  “Sen. Charles E. Grassley and Rep. Darrel Issa demanded the Justice Department’s inspector general step into the fray and make sure the whistle-blowers are shielded.”

Of course, Grassley’s and Issa’s demand is in regard to the ‘Fast & Furious’ story where the administration is accused of sponsoring and facilitating a poorly thought out gun-running sting operation to cartels in Mexico and then attempting to cover it up. However, Grassley was not so quick to rally to another group of whistle-blowers in 2005-2006.

Grassley who has made whistle-blower protection one of his trademark issues during his long career on Capitol Hill was strangely silent when a group of whistle-blowers came forward to inform Congress about gross incompetence and massive corruption within the USCIS (primarily at the NBC), and then were systematically picked off and retaliated against.

It’s hard to believe that Grassley wasn’t aware of the group or their fate. One of the whistle-blowers was a Grassley constituent who had a pre-existing medical condition, was fired after coming forward, consequently lost his medical coverage and died shortly thereafter. Furthermore, it was one of Grassley’s staffers, according to emails,  who put the whistle-blowers together with Mike Maxwell, the USCIS’ OSI Director who was busy selling himself off to Congress and the media as a headline whistle-blower. (More on that claim later.)

Nevertheless, Grassley seemed all but oblivious to the fate of the USCIS whistle-blowers, as did many of Issa’s House colleagues who held the hearings which featured Mike Maxwell. It didn’t help that the whistle-blowers were also abandoned by the NGOs and media which had embraced their story. And the abandonment on the Hill and in the media was across the board, from Democratic Senators and House members to Republican Senators, like Grassley, and Issa’s fellow Republican House members; from 60 Minutes to the Washington Times.

Why were the whistle-blowers who reported corrupt hiring and processing practices in the USCIS in 2005-2006 abandoned by so many? And whatever happened to Mike Maxwell? Was he really a whistle-blower? Or did some other agenda guide and protect his starring role on the Hill and in the Press, as the USCIS whistle-blowers came to believe? Is the FBI protecting Mr. Maxwell? And if so why didn’t they protect the original USCIS whistle-blowers who went to the FBI first?

While the Fast & Furious debacle constitutes an incredibly outrageous  abuse of power by senior management in our law enforcement agencies, and possibly by the politically appointees who found themselves overseeing the program, the processing of thousands and thousands of individuals into this country without a criminal background check strikes me as an even more stunning and potentially deadly abuse of power by government officials then Fast & Furious, because, after all, as we all know – guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

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