"RED ALERT: Deputy A.G. behind 'Fast and Furious' met with President Obama four times during the height of the operation" read the headline to a post in Doug Ross's DirectorBlue blog on Monday. The post then proceeds to weave a narrative suggesting President Obama was repeatedly meeting with a Department of Justice official "keenly aware" of the failed ATF operation Fast and Furious at "the height" of the operation.
Sipsy Steet Irregulars conspiracist Mike Vanderbough, quickly picked up Ross' post, asking "Well, well, well. What do you know about this, Mr. President?" Surely the intrepid journalists at Daily Caller cannot be far behind.
As underwhelming as it is to establish that a series of "meetings" happened without a bit of information about what was discussed, Ross doesn't even get the facts straight on that. A closer look -- scrolling right -- at the White House Visitor Records data Ross is citing strongly suggests he's established nothing more than Grindler's attendance at speeches and events at the White House where between one hundred and several thousand other people were present. Looks like it's to time to cancel the draft impeachment articles.
Ross' big find is that Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler is listed in the White House visitor log records that were recently released as having visited Obama -- "POTUS" -- four times. Grindler received a briefing on the failed ATF operation Fast and Furious and although the documents related to the briefing did not mention the controversial "gun walking" tactics and the Department of Justice has said the briefing did not include "the operational tactics that have since raised concerns" it was enough for Ross to posit that Grindler "was keenly aware of all aspects of Fast and Furious." Ross:
Item 3: Newly released White House Visitor Logs list Grindler as having visited the White House 40 times, but only four times with the President himself. All four meetings with the President occurred over a two-week period, between 7 May 2010 and 19 May 2010.
According to The Los Angeles Times, these dates just so happened to represent the run-up to "the height of [Operation] Fast and Furious":
Ross concludes: "So my question is this: What did President Obama know -- and when did he know it?"
Looking at the complete visitor log entries the whole thing falls apart instantly. The four meetings appear to actually be three visits to attend heavily-reported public or diplomatic events where many, many other people were present.
Here's how Ross presents the visitor log data:
All Ross had to do to disprove his theory was scroll to the right. Here's the same data set with several irrelevant columns removed and information on the number of attendees, meeting room, and event description included:
The three May 19 listings indicate that Grindler was one of President Obama's many guests for the widely attended events related to Mexican President Felipe Calderon's state visit, not any sort of briefing. Grindler is listed as an attendee of the Mexico State Dinner in a report by NBC Chicago.
The 3rd visit on May 10, 2010, is listed in the visitor logs as a "Large Event With POTUS and Community Leaders" that took place in the East Room. A large event to discuss Operation Fast and Furious? No, Grinder attended President Obama's announcement of Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.
While the Grindler-Obama meeting smoking gun doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny, there's plenty of conspiracy fodder left for the truly committed. Maybe Grindler briefed Felipe Calderon? Why not Elena Kagan? All those mainstream media reporters covering those events? Beyoncé after her performance at the state dinner?
What did they know, when did they know it?
Update: Andrew Breitbart's Big Government this morning published a post titled "BREAKING NEWS on Fast and Furious: Obama Knew In May 2010?" pushing the Grindler-Obama meeting story.