According to a report issued today by The Hill, Attorney General Eric Holder has adopted a new strategy in dealing with the Fast and Furious scandal, also known as Operation Gunwalker.
Holder intends to become aggressive, says the report, in his defense of his own actions and that of his agency in light of growing criticism that the Department of Justice engaged in illegal activity in smuggling U.S. guns to Mexican drug cartels, and then launched into a massive cover-up when the scheme came to light.
The new strategy is two-fold. First, hit back quickly and vehemently when Republicans in Congress maintain that the Justice Department lied to Congress and has murder on its hands in light of the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who whistleblowers say was killed with one of the guns the federal government walked into Mexico. Second, admit that serious mistakes were made by the Justice Department and its agency, the ATF, and promise to hold accountable anyone who was involved in the scandal.
This approach is in stark contrast to the one the Administration has used to respond to charges of corruption up until now. According to The Hill,
For months Obama and his attorney general pointed to the ongoing inspector general (IG) investigation that Holder requested, saying that the unfolding information about Operation Fast and Furious was troubling, but keeping their comments to a minimum after top-ranking Republicans launched a congressional investigation into the quagmire at the beginning of the year.
But amid dozens of calls for his resignation and a series of heated comments —one Republican implied that he’s an accessory to murder — Holder has stepped up his approach.
“I’d like to correct some of the inaccurate, and frankly, irresponsible accusations surrounding Fast and Furious,” Holder announced at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week.
The problem, however, is that so far neither Holder nor the Justice Department have been able to offer an acceptable explanation as to the disappearance of a crucial piece of evidence in the murder of Brian Terry–the 3rd gun that was recovered at the crime scene but never made it to the lab for analysis. It was this gun, according to whistleblowers, that proves Agent Terry was murdered by a weapon the government deliberately placed into the hands of Mexican criminals.
If the gun was recovered at the scene, and agents on the ground say that it was, then why did that gun never reach the lab? What happened to it? How could seasoned professionals possibly lose such a crucial piece of evidence? And the more troublesome question is, did the gun disappear in order to protect the agency and prevent the lab from issuing a report that would place the agency in a terribly precarious light?
Answers to these and other key questions have not been provided to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as requested. Instead, Holder and the DOJ have engaged in persistent stonewalling from day one, refusing to provide documents subpoenaed by the Committee.
In addition, despite Holder’s claim that he promises to hold accountable anyone involved in the Fast and Furious scheme, in practice he has done the exact opposite. The main suspects in the Gunwalker scandal have not been disciplined nor dismissed. Instead, they have been reassigned to other positions within the DOJ, and often given promotions.
It goes without saying that such moves give the appearance of rewarding the perpetrators rather than holding them accountable.
And perhaps the most outrageous display of all in Holder’s new strategy of aggression is his righteous indignation over Republican claims that the perpetrators of Fast and Furious are accessories to murder. In a letter he fired off to Darrell Issa, Holder stated,
“I cannot sit idly by as a majority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests, as happened this week, that law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered ‘accessories to murder.’ Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms.”
The problem with Holder’s vitriol is that hundreds of Mexican citizens have been murdered with the guns the DOJ-ATF sent to Mexico. Those guns have also been found at at least a dozen crimes scenes in the U.S. Brian Terry was murdered. So was an ICE agent. So far Holder has not provided one single fact or piece of evidence to refute the claims by Republicans that the perpetrators of Fast and Furious ‘have blood on their hands’ and are thus ‘accessories to murder.’
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