When it came time for Attorney General Eric Holder to make his opening comments, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) requested that the A.G. be sworn under oath. Issa had already noted that Congress had been lied to and that in previous hearings, Holder & Co. displayed the “unheard of” habit of redacting their letters and testimony to the Congress. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that it wasn’t necessary for Holder to be sworn under oath because it was understood that he was already under oath by virtue of the purpose for which he was appearing. Issa then asked Smith if he was sure that Holder was bound as being under oath, and Smith verified that he was.
So it was settled, and Issa had made his point – Holder should choose his words carefully.
Cameras then turned to Holder who said he was happy to describe the “decisive action” his department has taken “to ensure the flawed tactics actions used in operations Fast and Furious and in earlier operations under prior administration are never repeated.” (Notice the jab at Bush.) He then took time to brag on how the 117,000 employees of the DOJ throughout world have basically saved American from apocalypse. (He did this by describing what he called the DOJ’s historic progress in protecting the American people “from global terrorism and violent crime, financial fraud, human trafficking, and more.”)
He finally turned his attention to the Southwest border, i.e., the one the DOJ/ATF allowed 2,500 weapons to walk across. Here, DOJ’s “battle against gun violence” took center stage:
In recent years, the department has devoted specific resources to this fight and specifically, to addressing the unacceptable rate of illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of that laudable goal, unacceptable tactics were adopted as part of Operation Fast and Furious. As I have repeatedly stated, allowing guns to walk, whether in this administration or the prior one, is wholly unacceptable. The use of this misguided tactic is inexcusable. It must never happen again. Soon after learning about the allegations raised by agents involved in Fast and Furious I took action designed to ensure accountability. In February I asked the department’s acting Inspector General to investigate the matter. And in early March I ordered that a directive be sent to law enforcement agents and prosecutors prohibiting such tactics.
I have a question: How did Holder address the “allegations” associated with gun walking in Fast and Furious in February if he didn’t know about Fast and Furious until mid-April? Remember, when he first gave testimony to Congress on May 3, he told Issa he had only known about Fast and Furious for a few weeks:
On May 3rd Issa asked: “When did you first know about the program…called ‘Fast and Furious?”
Holder responded: “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”
This exchange notwithstanding, Holder is now telling Congress about the actions he took in light of allegations about Fast and Furious in February and March. In fact, he specifically said he issued a directive in March against “such tactics” (i.e., gun walking) after the allegations of such tactics were made by ATF agents.
No wonder Issa is mad and tired of being lied to. The American people should be outraged as well.
Somebody in Issa’s office needs to review Holder’s opening comments and call him out for this.