Earlier today the Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Eric Holder walked into the line of fire when he appeared in front of the House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning the controversial Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) disastrous “Fast and Furious” investigation.
The Attorney General took rapid fire questions from GOP representatives seeking answers for the failed “gunwalking” program that resulted in the murder of at least one Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, and more than 200 Mexican citizen deaths. From the get go Mr. Holder made it clear that the approximately 2,000 high-powered guns that ATF let “walk” into Mexico will turn up at crime scenes in both countries for years to come.
However, the day-long hearing revealed little new information and yielded no acceptance of responsibility from Holder. He simply doubled-down on DOJ's innocence regarding the (mis) handling of the botched gun-running investigation.
It’s been almost a year since Border Patrol Agent Terry was callously gunned-down in the Arizona desert by “rip crew” bandits using guns the U.S. government let “walk” into the hands of brutal Mexican drug cartels. During the past year, Agent Terry’s family has witnessed a cover-up by ATF and DOJ and seen no compassion or concern from Mr. Holder regarding the murder of their son.
Instead, the agent’s murder has resulted in a firestorm of inquiry for ATF and DOJ led by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. Despite Issa’s vigorous inquisition, the DOJ still has not told Congress who knew what, and when.
It was just a week ago when the AG’s office asked for a “mulligan” on a letter their office issued to Congress that misstated “Fast and Furious” facts. The DOJ letter stated that ATF’s fatally-flawed “gunwalking” investigation did not allow guns to walk across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. The DOJ letter lied and ATF did allow guns to leave their jurisdiction and cross the Mexican border.
This led Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to ask AG Holder a direct question regarding the art of lying; “Tell me what's the difference between lying and misleading Congress, in this context?”
Holder's reply seemed like a non-answer. “Well, if you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered perjury or a lie,” Holder admitted. “The information that was provided by the February 4th letter was gleaned by the people who drafted the letter after they interacted with people who they thought were in the best position to have the information.”
Holder’s answer harkened back to President Bill Clinton’s definition of “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
Nevertheless Republican committee members echoed the same mantra all day- that heads needed to roll for the failed Fast and Furious investigation. And, it appears the Obama Administration is positioning Holder’s long-time friend, confidant and DOJ Assistant AG of the Criminal Division underling Lanny Breuer to be the fall guy.
It was recently discovered emails discussing the ATF “gunwalking” operation that provoked Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to call for Breuer’s firing earlier this week.
“The real shock was how Mr. Breuer had responded within his own Department when earlier ‘gunwalking’ was first brought to his attention in April 2010. He didn’t tell the Attorney General. He didn’t tell the Attorney General’s Chief of Staff. He didn’t tell the Deputy Attorney General. He didn’t tell the Inspector General. Instead, he simply told his deputy to meet with ATF leadership and inform them of the ‘gunwalking’ so they knew the bad stuff that could come out,” Grassley said.
The final squabble of the day squared Rep. Issa’s sharp- tongue questions surrounding Holder’s continued stonewalling tactics of Fast and Furious. Issa reminded the Attorney General that he could be held in contempt of Congress if he continued to block Congressional members request for documents, to which Holder replied; “Have you no shame?”
But Issa countered Holder’s political gamesmanship with; “No, have you no shame?”
Up next – House committee members will now flood Eric Holder’s office with a litany of follow-up questions, but the answers will not be disclosed until after the holiday season. Stay tuned for more ATF Fast and Furious updates.
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