Still waiting for answers on Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama administration’s festering scandal.
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By the end of 2011, more than 90 members of Congress either expressed “no confidence” in Holder or believed the attorney general should resign over Fast and Furious. Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, claimed to be unaware of a department letter denying that the ATF had been letting guns walk even though Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans acquired email evidence that Breuer had seen a draft. Holder stands by Breuer.
AT TIMES, Holder has taken refuge in blaming the vast right-wing conspiracy. “You guys need to—you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening,” the attorney general instructed a reporter from the Daily Caller, a news website that has frequently covered Fast and Furious and its fallout, in November. “You guys are behind it.” In an interview with the New York Times, Holder suggested that some of his critics were racially motivated.
But Holder’s admission that the ATF let guns walk into Mexico was in fact a major reversal for the administration. In July, the official who implemented Fast and Furious denied gun-walking. “We did not let guns walk,” William Newell said flatly, contradicting a January 2010 memo from his own office saying, “currently our strategy is to allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place…in order to further the investigation and allow for the identification of additional co-conspirators who would continue to operate and illegally traffic firearms to Mexican [cartels].”
The Justice Department has been inconsistent about who knew the details of Fast and Furious, as well as what the consequences have been. Holder’s congressional testimony suggested that the U.S. attorney for Arizona was removed because of the operation, something that had been denied previously. Democrats have also compared Fast and Furious to a Bush administration program called Wide Receiver, even though the latter happened with the knowledge of the Mexican government and did not lose any guns—and despite the fact congressional investigators have been pressing for information about both initiatives.
The department also moved to punish whistleblowers rather than reward them, even leaking sensitive information about one whistleblower. “This leaked document was also accompanied by a set of talking points designed to undermine Agent Dodson’s credibility as a whistleblower,” wrote Grassley and Issa in a letter to Holder. “This egregious violation of the Privacy Act, and attempted retaliation for protected disclosures to Congress, is unacceptable.”
By contrast, many of those involved in Fast and Furious were either reshuffled like Melson or even kicked upstairs. Newell and fellow Phoenix ATF field supervisor David Voth were both promoted to new management positions in Washington. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley in Phoenix was moved from the criminal to the civil division. William McMahon, who was deputy director of ATF operations in the West, also went to headquarters in the nation’s capital. “Keep your friends close and your henchmen on the verge of spilling the beans closer,” quipped syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin.
BRIAN TERRY’S FAMILY marked the one-year anniversary of his death by calling on officials who knew about Fast and Furious to be prosecuted if it can be shown that they broke the law. “We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian’s murder,” the family said in a statement released by their attorney. “Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.”
While testifying before Congress, Holder declined to directly apologize to Terry’s family for what happened. He later released a formal apology to the media—before the family received it. Terry’s father was outraged. “That shows what kind of a person he is,” he said of Holder in an interview with Fox News. “To me, he is not much of a person.” In a separate interview, Terry’s mother said of Holder’s testimony, “I sat in a chair and cried. It was so inhumane. An apology to anybody means at least they are trying to fix it. He didn’t.”
“Somebody needs to take responsibility. I don’t know if that’s Holder,” the family attorney told the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. “But there were individuals somewhere in DOJ and ATF that were making daily decisions and knew the risks associated with such a reckless plan. Those decision-makers are the folks that need to be held accountable immediately.” More than a year after the border patrol agent’s murder, the Terry family is still waiting—just like everyone else.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?