Attorney General Eric Holder has a bad habit of becoming distracted from his sworn duties and becomes indignant when testifying before Congress, when confronted with the life and death effects of his own decisions.
On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee. He told Congressman Darryl Issa that he had only learned of ‘Fast and Furious’ “a few weeks ago.” Yet, at a conference of senior Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officials in Cuernavaca, Mexico on April 2, 2009, Holder told those assembled:
Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner.
Operation Fast and Furious was directed and coordinated by the Department of Justice, not the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It was initiated by the DOJ in late March 2009, months before Kenneth Melson was brought in to become the Acting Director of the ATF.
It was the DOJ that sent those additional 100 agents, creating a policy of letting guns walk south across the border and into the hands of drug lords. And it was the DOJ that failed from the very beginning to establish the means to “follow the gun” and to prevent the program from arming drug lords with weapons.
In a laughable attempt at self-defense in a Congressional hearing when confronted with facts on Fast and Furious, Holder spoke of having attended the funerals of federal law enforcement officers and having felt the pain of their families. The agents who bravely serve, who enforce our laws, and their selfless sacrifices are never in question during those Congressional hearings; it’s the policies established by the Attorney General that are in question.
Moreover, we learned this past week that the special prosecutor Eric Holder appointed to investigate CIA interrogations during the Bush administration has recommended that no prosecutions are warranted and no further investigation is needed. In a June 30, 2011 statement, Eric Holder said:
I made clear at that time that the Department would not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees. Accordingly, Mr. Durham’s review examined primarily whether any unauthorized interrogation techniques were used by CIA interrogators, and if so, whether such techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other applicable statute. …
In carrying out his mandate, Mr. Durham examined any possible CIA involvement with the interrogation of 101 detainees who were in United States custody subsequent to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. … Mr. Durham has advised me of the results of his investigation, and I have accepted his recommendation to conduct a full criminal investigation regarding the death in custody of two individuals. Those investigations are ongoing. The Department has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted.”
The deaths of Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi still under investigation have nothing to do with enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration. The alleged violation of the torture statute by CIA officers is closed; it was always a political witch hunt of the Bush administration by the Obama administration that should have never been conducted.
More than any other issue, Holder’s greatest obsession while running Obama’s Justice Department has been to bring foreign terrorists to federal trial. He remains undaunted in that quest.
Last Monday, the Washington Post reported that a Somalian named Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame had been captured on April 19th, interrogated by military and intelligence agents aboard a U.S. ship for two months before being read Miranda rights warnings (which Warsame then waived). He then answered questioned for seven days. A federal indictment was sought and obtained, and Warsame was secretly brought into federal court in New York City.
The indictment charges him with conspiracy and providing material support of al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group opposed to Somalia’s government, and Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
This is going to blow up in Holder’s face. Bringing Warsame into federal court bestows upon him Constitutional protections against self-incrimination. In New York v Quarles (that FBI Director Robert Mueller cited during Congressional testimony last year), the Supreme Court narrowly focused on the immediate need for public safety when the arresting officer (of Quarles) asked “Where’s the gun?”
While our Constitution did not extend its protections to foreign enemies, do any of us want the Constitutional protections afforded to us to be destroyed by the federal courts and Supreme Court in a ruling that Warsame’s statements are admissible?
No. And they won’t be. Warsame statements will be found to be ‘fruit of a poisoned tree.’ Not only will they be not be allowed to be used against him, the evidence derived from them cannot be used, and those solely identified by Warsame during those un-advised interrogations cannot be successfully prosecuted in federal court using that “fruit.”
The solution was to detain Warsame at Guantanamo Bay for as long as he remains a threat, to use his statements for intelligence purposes, and to prosecute those he identified (if captured) by military commission.
This Attorney General has been too busy trying to prosecute the previous administration and extending ‘Rule of Law’ to unlawful enemy combatants to supervise the programs he initiates.
Operation Fast and Furious was Eric Holder’s failure as America’s top law enforcement officer. He set it into motion and went on to other business. The death of Border Patrolman Brian Terry was negligent homicide and Eric Holder should be made to answer for that crime.