The Fast and Furious scandal may be the final undoing of Obama Attorney General Eric Holder. Fast and Furious is a Department of Justice (DOJ)/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would end up at crime scenes! Well, they did, such as the crime scene of the murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry – and countless others in Mexico.
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a subpoena Wednesday to Attorney General Eric Holder as part of his investigation into the gun trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
“Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged,” the California Republican said in a statement. “The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It’s time we know the whole truth.
And why would Rep. Issa have reason to believe Holder and his minions at DOJ have been less than truthful?
Recently, new allegations emerged that Holder lied to Congress about what he knew and when he knew it concerning the operation, prompting calls for a special counsel to investigate.
Here’s how Holder got himself into trouble.
On May 3, 2011, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Holder testified: “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” But newly released documents show he was receiving weekly briefings on Fast and Furious as far back as July 5, 2010! (See the documents here.)
Holder subsequently said he misunderstood the question. Not many are buying that excuse. It is now up to Holder to explain how his own Justice Department can credibly investigate him for lying to Congress.
Reps. Issa and Lamar Smith and others in Congress, including Senator Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), should be congratulated for taking Fast and Furious so seriously. But, at the same time, if we’re ever going to get to the bottom of this we need an independent investigation.
Last Tuesday, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain Fast and Furious records. Back on July 13, our investigations team submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:
- All records of communication, contracts and correspondence between ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson and any official, officer, or employee of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) regarding ATF Phoenix Operation Fast and Furious.
- All records regarding, concerning, or related to, the October 26, 2009 meeting/telephonic conference call between DAG David Ogden, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Lanny Breuer, ATF Director Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michelle Leonhart, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller, and other DOJ officials regarding the Southwest Border Strategy (including, but not limited to, any agendas, minutes, transcripts, notes, or presentations).
- All records prepared for, or submitted to, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding, concerning, or related to, ATF Operation Fast and Furious.
(Judicial Watch filed a similar FOIA request with ATF on the same day. Neither agency responded within the time the law requires – prompting our lawsuits.)
With these lawsuits we’re trying to get to the genesis of the Fast and Furious operation, which was reportedly discussed during that October 26, 2009, telephonic conference call, as well as information being provided to and/or withheld from Congress by the Obama administration.
The requests we’ve made are very basic, and yet we haven’t received one document from the DOJ or ATF regarding Fast and Furious. Given their dissembling, DOJ and ATF are apparently in cover-up mode. Now they’ll have to answer to a federal court for their obfuscation.
Make no mistake; this seems to be one of the most egregious examples of corruption and malfeasance inside of the Obama administration we’ve seen yet.
In Fast and Furious, the ATF, with the full approval of the DOJ, allowed guns to be sold and sent to the Mexican drug cartels.
It’s called letting guns “walk.” And it remained a well-kept Obama administration secret until the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals who were armed with Fast and Furious guns found at the crime scene. After Terry’s murder, “ATF agent John Dodson blew the whistle on the operation,” CBS News wrote.
These same Mexican drug cartels seem now to be available for hire for terrorist operations here in the United States.
Once Fast and Furious splashed into the news, the man at the head of ATF, Kenneth Melson, reportedly told Rep. Issa that the senior officials at the DOJ were trying to suppress information about the scandal – an admission that surely earned Melson a transfer to a make-work position at DOJ. The U.S. Attorney in Phoenix who helped run the operation was forced to resign. And the Los Angeles Times reported that two more high ranking ATF officials have been demoted as the DOJ attempts to clean up the mess.
So how is it that Holder, the supervisor of all these men, has kept his job?
Remember, we saw similar behavior from Holder’s DOJ regarding the Black Panther scandal. At least one Obama administration official testified to Congress that no political appointees were involved in the decision at the DOJ to abandon the voter intimidation lawsuit against the Black Panthers. Judicial Watch obtained the evidence proving this was a bald-faced lie. Even Holder himself was a recipient of email updates on the Black Panther case.
Again, a discrepancy between what an Obama administration official said and what the evidence shows.
By now you know my thoughts on Holder. He should resign. In the meantime, we’re going to do our part to uncover the truth behind Fast and Furious.
Judicial Watch hosted a special discussion today, October 18, with Senator Grassley at Judicial Watch’s headquarters in DC to discuss Fast and Furious and other current challenges to the rule of law (such as stealth amnesty). You can view the presentation here.