Holder and OF&F: Nothing More Here, Move Along
Here’s what I would like to see today, tomorrow, and every other day after that: every single GOP candidate demanding the resignation of President “King Nothing” Obama’s Attorney General along with every Obama DoJ appointee who was involved with Operation Fast & Furious. In tomorrow night’s debate, the opening statements of each candidate need to hammer this home.
Yesterday, near the end of his day-long testimony, AG Eric Holder was asked if he was going to fire anyone, especially the political appointees, over OF&F. The belligerent Holder said no; he qualified that he was awaiting the report from the Inspector General which would give him the “facts” to help him determine what more he had to do. Excuse me? If you looked at Holder’s countenance throughout much of the day, he basked in the glory of those Democrats who were literally fawning all over him, while at the same time giving the impression of someone who couldn’t understand why Republicans are daring to question how he, AG Holder, has handled this whole OF&F situation, along with demanding more power, power the anti-Constitution Democrats are ready to give the AG. Here’s what I think: there are enough facts out there already showing that Holder’s actions and statements regarding OF&F are those of a political hack, not of the premier law enforcement official he is supposed to be.
So let’s look at some of the facts.
Just like his boss, Holder likes to fudge statistics. In his testimony and in past statements, he has maintained that over 64,000 guns recovered by Mexican authorities were traced to America. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) fabulously debunks Holder’s ongoing mendacity.
Holder deliberately leaves other information out. CBS’ outstanding reporter Sharyl Attkisson issued a report on Tuesday showing how the federal government has been legally supplying the Mexican authorities with U.S.-made weapons by the thousands, weapons that end up being diverted by Mexican officials into the hands of the cartels:
The problem of weapons legally sold to Mexico – then diverted to violent cartels – is becoming more urgent. That’s because the U.S. has quietly authorized a massive escalation in the number of guns sold to Mexico through “direct commercial sales.” It’s a way foreign countries can acquire firearms faster and with less disclosure than going through the Pentagon.
Here’s how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.
And it did approve 2,476 guns to be sold to Mexico in 2006. In 2009, that number was up nearly 10 times, to 18,709.
I’ll bet if someone did a bit of snooping, we’d find out the vast majority of the weapons that end up in the hands of Mexican gangsters are those that were sold via the State Department. And even here, there seems to be a cover-up going on:
The State Department has since stopped disclosing numbers of guns it approves, and wouldn’t give CBS News figures for 2010 or 2011.
As of this time, nobody seems to be demanding Sec. of State Hillary Clinton explain this. Nor have they asked Holder if either the ATF or the FBI has investigated how many of the “64,000” seized guns came from these State Department sales.
Then in December, 2010, American Border Control agent Brian Terry was murdered by a member of one of the Mexican cartels; one of the weapons used was traced to a gun sold by an American gun dealer. Not long after, an ATF whistleblower contacted Sen. Grassley that the gun used was actually part of the Operation Fast & Furious fiasco whereby the gun was actually sold at the direction of the ATF, along with a couple of thousand others. After Grassley began demanding answers, officials in the ATF and the DoJ immediately began pushing back; in February of this year, a letter came out saying the weapon used to kill Agent Terry was not part of any gunwalking, even before any investigation into Terry’s murder was complete:
…a document dump last Friday [Dec. 2, 2011] showed Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer submitted false information in a letter to his office denying knowledge of gunwalking prior to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in February 2011. In November 2011, Breuer testified that he actually knew about gun walking tactics as early as April 2010.
This is how this cover-up began. It continued after Holder told the DoJ’s Inspector General to investigate OF&F; Holder has used this investigation to keep from having to fire anybody, especially the Obama political appointees, involved with OF&F. The cover-up is still continuing as the Obama administration recently sealed the Terry murder records, an action that occurred 50 weeks after the agent’s killing. In the meantime, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was murdered in Mexico with another OF&F-related weapon.
About the only positive, and unprecedented, development that occurred was that the DoJ withdrew their February letter because it was so bereft of “facts.” But Holder won’t fire anyone until he gets more “facts” from the IG.
Throughout the year, Holder and Democrats have attempted to tie OF&F to the Bush administration’s Project Gunrunner (begun in 2005 or 2006), even though OF&F itself didn’t begin until late 2009, months after the Obama administration was in charge. The Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver did allow a few hundred guns to get into the hands of the cartels; but that operation, with the assistance of the Mexican government, did attempt to interdict weapons as they crossed the border and before they could be used. Sen. Grassley was able to get Holder to admit OF&F had nothing to do with Bush.
Those running OF&F, on the other hand, not only avoided any involvement of the Mexican government, they didn’t even bother telling ATF personnel in Mexico about the operation for fear the game would be given away to the Mexican authorities or the State Department (per the report, U.S. authorities did provide a reason why the Mexicans were kept out of it; yet, the State Department was still shipping weapons to Mexico by the thousands). It wasn’t until January of this year that Mexico was told of the operation, even though at least 200 Mexicans had been murdered with OF&F guns. Even with all this, Holder’s Mexican counterpart had still not yet been briefed on the details about OF&F by the U.S. government as of this past September.
Also this week, another bomb was dropped on another agency run by Holder’s DoJ [emphasis mine]:
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reported on the probe in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The lawmaker cited a story in The New York Times that reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration used tactics similar to those of “Operation Fast and Furious,” a U.S. operation that allowed thousands of firearms to be smuggled into Mexico in an effort to trace the weapons to cartel bosses…
Based on the Times’ story, Issa said it appears that DEA agents may have laundered “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
As I mentioned earlier, Holder won’t fire anyone over OF&F because he doesn’t have all the “facts” with which to do so. Reality shows otherwise: the ATF encouraged, and even demanded, gun store owners to sell weapons that were going to go to the cartels; hundreds of Mexicans and two federal agents were killed with these guns; neither the Mexican government nor U.S. officials in Mexico were involved with OF&F, nor given any details of the operation; the DoJ began covering up the operation in February of this year, with recent assistance from the Obama administration; Holder has used the IG investigation to avoid firing any political appointees; Holder has used OF&F and other operations to increase the government’s power over gun sales, although Congress blocked funding to keep Holder from using this authority, which was shown in several emails between various DoJ officials and which may have been an attempt to subvert the 2nd Amendment; and now, Holder’s DEA may have been involved in money laundering operations for the cartels.
So far, only former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, an Obama appointee, has resigned over OF&F. Based on my understanding of how the DoJ works, it was Burke who helped lead the OF&F effort. During the cover-up this year, Burke leaked a memo in an attempt to smear ATF whistleblower John Dodson, which Burke admitted doing last month. When Burke resigned in August, Holder said nothing of Burke’s involvement with OF&F. It was only when pressed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) that Holder flip-flopped and told the truth.
Per Frank Miniter, here’s what has happened to the other DoJ personnel involved with OF&F:
Former Acting ATF Chief Ken Melson, after refusing to be a scapegoat for this operation, became an adviser in the Office of Legal Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Acting Deputy Director Billy Hoover is now the special agent in charge of the D.C. office.
Deputy Director for Field Operations William McMahon—he’d received detailed briefings Fast and Furious—is now at the ATF’s Office of Internal Affairs.
Former Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix William Newell—he oversaw Fast and Furious and lied by saying guns hadn’t been allowed to go south of the border—is now at the Office of Management in Washington, D.C.
Phoenix Deputy Chief George Gillette is now in to Washington, D.C., as ATF’s liaison to the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
ATF Group Supervisor David Voth—he managed Fast and Furious out of the Phoenix office—is now in a management position in Washington, D.C.
Agent Hope McCallister—she had management duties on the team that ran Fast and Furious—was given a “Lifesaving Award” after it came to light she’d ordered agents to stop tailing suspects who the ATF had allowed to buy guns.
In addition, Assistant AG Ronald Weich is still in his job (he was involved with the February, 2011 letter). Assistant AG Lanny Breuer is still in his job. Former Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, who was given details about OF&F in March, 2010, has been Holder’s chief of staff since January of this year.
Remember also, Holder’s DoJ was trying to pass a rule whereby it would be allowed, under the law, to lie in response to FOIA requests. Even the ACLU threw a fit over this and DoJ backed down.
Also yesterday, Jon Corzine testified to Congress over what happened to $1.2 billion in customer’s money after the company he ran, MF Global, went bankrupt. He said he didn’t know where the money went. Being the CEO of a publicly held corporation, he is required under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to have signed off on documentation that shows he better bloody well know where the money went to or he faces all kinds of problems. So while Corzine may be in trouble over a variety of SOX violations, there is no equivalent to hold Holder accountable for his complete mismanagement of the DoJ, other than to keep hauling his sorry proktos up before Congress to squeeze more information out of him, information he has no business holding back.
It doesn’t really matter anymore, at least not to me, who knew what and when about OF&F; the cover-up is enough, and there has been a cover-up. Beginning with Holder, and minimally the ones Miniter mentions that are still at DoJ, along with Weich, Breuer, and Grindler, need to go. There also needs to be more information from the State Department on the guns they legally sold to Mexico.
Here’s what Miniter has to say about the whistleblowers:
Agent John Dodson, after nearly a year of harassment, including being given menial assignments and being barred from areas of the ATF building in Phoenix, is in the process of trying to sell his home in Arizona so he can transfer to South Carolina.
Agent Larry Alt transferred to Florida. He still has unresolved legal claims against the ATF.
Agent Pete Forcelli was demoted to a desk job after he testified before Congress. He has requested an internal investigation to address retaliation targeting him.
Agent James Casa took a transfer to Florida.
Agent Carlos Canino, who was a deputy attache in Mexico City, was moved to Tucson.
The only thing I can add is that if Holder and the other of his miscreants stay where they are, and if Obama allows them all to remain in his administration, Republicans in Congress need to keep dragging their sorry behinds up before Congress and railing against them every day Congress is in session. And the Republican Presidential candidates need to keep hammering home the willful abandonment of the rule of law by the Obama administration to the press, and especially in the debates. While this wouldn’t provide all the justice due to Agents Terry and Zapata, nor their families, nor the families of those Mexicans murdered, it is a start.
Cross-posted at Scipio the Metalcon.
P.S.: I would be remiss to not only re-mention the great work done by Sharyl Attkinsson of CBS, but also the outstanding reporting by Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle.