Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division who played a critical role in lying to Congress about Operation Fast and Furious, plans to resign soon, the Washington Post reports, citing anonymous sources.
“It is not clear when Breuer intends to leave his post, nor what he plans to do once he departs, but it is certain that the prosecutor’s days in office are winding down, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter,” the Post wrote.
When asked for a comment on the Post’s report, and to verify its accuracy, DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler wouldn’t confirm or deny the report’s veracity. She did, however, tell Breitbart News the obvious–that, at this time, “Lanny Breuer hasn’t resigned.”
Breuer is the last one of the three highest-ranking Department of Justice officials heavily criticized in the Inspector General investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal to step down. Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein both resigned in the wake of the IG report.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley–the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee–called for Breuer’s resignation over a year ago, in December, 2011.
“I have been investigating … Operation Fast and Furious for almost 11 months now,” Grassley said on December 7, 2011, on the floor of the U.S. Senate. “It is past time for accountability at the senior levels of the Justice Department. That accountability needs to start with the head of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer.”
Then, Grassley said it was “time for [Breuer] to go.” It’s now been two years since Grassley first launched his investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, and Breuer’s impending resignation brings it closer to full circle.
Breuer was directly involved in providing false information to Congress. Emails show that he was consulted on a February 4, 2011, letter that the DOJ sent to Grassley denying the administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ever walked guns. In Fast and Furious, the ATF “walked” roughly 2,000 firearms into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. That means, through straw purchasers, the agency allowed sales to happen and didn’t stop the guns from being trafficked, even though they had the legal authority to do so and were fully capable of doing so.
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens-estimates put it around at least 300-were killed with these firearms.
The DOJ has since withdrawn that February 4, 2011, letter and admitted it was inaccurate.
Also, in 2009 emails, Breuer called gunwalking and Operation Fast and Furious a “terrific idea.”
Those were just some of the many instances in which Breuer was involved in Fast and Furious and its subsequent coverup.
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who joined Grassley in investigating Fast and Furious in March 2011, said in a Thursday statement that Breuer’s resignation is “long overdue.”
“Breuer was at the heart of several critical failures in Operation Fast and Furious: he knew about reckless tactics, failed to take seriously allegations that they were continuing, and only owned up to his failures once they were publicly exposed,” Issa said. “The Inspector General’s report admonished Breuer for failing to inform the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General when he learned, in April 2010, that the reckless tactic of gunwalking was used in a prior operation. Furthermore, several of Breuer’s top deputies authorized sensitive wiretap applications under Breuer’s authority that, according to the OIG report, contained stark, incontrovertible evidence of the exact same gunwalking tactic. Had Breuer taken any action whatsoever, Fast and Furious would have ended eight months sooner than it did. This resignation paves the way for needed new leadership in the Criminal Division.”
Breuer’s resignation leaves two main officials involved in Fast and Furious and its cover-up in power in the Obama administration: Attorney General Eric Holder and acting ATF director B. Todd Jones–whom Obama has appointed to be the full-time ATF director.
Jones was involved in meetings in which the legal justification for gunwalking was created. Holder remains in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the congressional investigation, including his unwillingness to give documents up to Congress.
Breuer came to President Barack Obama’s DOJ with Holder from law firm Covington & Burling, where the two worked alongside one another.