Sunday, October 23, 2011

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Can Eric Holder Escape the Grip of Fast and Furious?

The "Fast and Furious" (FF) scandal is catching up with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, especially as Congressional investigators were not impressed with his "letter of defense" sent to them Friday, October 7, 2011.
According to reporting in William Lajeunesse' FOXNews article today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wasn't convinced [by Holder's 10-07-11 letter], insisting that there was "widespread knowledge" within the Justice Department's "senior ranks" that "gun-walking" was "occurring." He said Holder, tried to "shift blame" and "hide behind" his staff "for failing to inform you about 'Operation Fast and Furious' when they reviewed the memos sent to you last summer."
"Your letter ... did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the department's responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program," Issa wrote. "You claim that, after months of silence, you 'must now address these issues' over Fast and Furious because of the harmful discourse of the past few days. Yet, the only major development of these past few days has been the release of multiple documents showing that you and your senior staff had been briefed, on numerous occasions, about 'Fast and Furious.'"

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Issa concluded, "Operation Fast and Furious was the department's most significant gun trafficking case. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.”
So now, Congressional investigators probing the failed anti-gunrunning operation Fast and Furious are sending a new subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder -- seeking communications from about a dozen top Justice Department officials, including Holder; his chief of staff, Gary Grindler; and the head of the department's criminal division, Lanny Breuer.
By way of a historical summary, Operation Fast and Furious is a failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation that began in October 2009, with the intent of allowing known gun traffikers and "straw" purchasers to buy guns from various gun shops in the southwest United States.
Then, federal agent surveillance teams were to follow the guns to their end users--suspected Mexican Drug Cartel members.
However, ATF field leadership refused to implement the surveillance part of the plan--against the strong arguments of the field operatives who later became "whistle-blowers" to the operation--allowing more than 2,000 weapons to just "walk" away, presumably to the Mexican drug cartels, where they were likely used in many of the thousands of murders, including Mexican government officials, that have taken place since, as a result of the ruthless terroritorial drug violence. 
Fast and Furious first began to "surface" after U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, 40, a former U.S. Marine, was killed on December 14, 2010, in Rio Rico, Arizona, in a shoot out with border outlaws; the first two FF weapons were recovered here.
At a congressional hearing in June, three ATF agents said they were repeatedly ordered to step aside while gun buyers in Arizona walked away with AK-47s and other high-powered weaponry headed for Mexican drug cartels.
So far, 20 small-time gun-buyers have been indicted, but the investigation is still under way.
On August 16, 2011, FOXNews reported that ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson admitted to congressional investigators in July that his agency, in at least one instance, allowed sales of high-powered weapons without intercepting them -- and he accuses his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees in the scandal over those decisions.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that [ATF] promoted the key supervisors of Operation Fast and Furious who came under fire for pushing the program even after it clearly spiraled out of control.  William Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who managed the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office, and William McMahon, ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, are being transferred to Washington for new management positions at ATF headquarters.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was quoted as saying "... it is inconceivable to reward those who spearheaded this disastrous operation with cushy desks in Washington.”
They were not being promoted--they were being brought behind protective, closed DOJ doors.
Eric Holder's questionable behavior has left him with only two reasonable outcomes:
1.  He and his senior staff are guilty of "Gross Incompetence" and "Dereliction of Duty", and did not "read" or understand that FF was "spiraling out of control", with no leadership in sight--remedy for this is resignation.
2.  He did know about Operation Fast and Furious during his first Congressional investigative committee hearing back in May 2011, and by denying it commited perjury while under oath. 
The only remedy for this would be the appointment of a Special Independent Counsel, just like Ken Starr in the Bill Clinton investigation, because it is becoming apparent that Holder is not cooperating. 
It would likely end in perjury charges and his resignation.
Under the circumstances of his own making it appears that Eric Holder cannot escape the "grip" of responsibly for Operation Fast and Furious.

Continue reading on Can Eric Holder Escape the Grip of Fast and Furious? - West Palm Beach Republican |

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