Friday, December 9, 2011

Project Gunrunner/Operation Fast and Furious update: the miserable hack goes to the Hill edition


The miserable hack that runs the Justice Department trudged up to the Capitol yesterday to tesify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious and claiming no one at DOJ lied to Congress regarding the same.

Attorney General Eric Holder denied that anybody at the Department of Justice lied about the Fast and Furious program that allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug lords, even though he admitted that the DOJ sent inaccurate information to Congress.

Last week, the DOJ took the rare step of formally withdrawing a letter it sent to Congress in February that falsely claimed the program being executed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not allow guns to "walk" into Mexico.

Confronted about this by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Holder defended the DOJ.

"Nobody at the Justice Department has lied," Holder insisted.

When Sensenbrenner pressed Holder on the distinction between lying and misleading Congress, Holder said it was a matter of a person's "state of mind."

Holder said that when DOJ officials provided inaccurate information to Congress, they didn't know at the time that it was inaccurate.

We blogged specifically about that a couple of days ago and the related fact that it looked like the Justice Department was attempting to set up a fall guy.

And drawing a distinction between lying and misleading as depending upon a person's "state of mind" doesn't exactly inspire confidence, now, does it?

Also, you'd be pleased to know that Holder has admitted the the guns allowed to walk into the hands of Mexican drug cartels will stay there for quite some time.

Attorney General Eric Holder suggested Thursday that weapons lost during the course of the failed "Fast and Furious" gunrunning operation will continue to show up at crime scenes in the U.S. and Mexico "for years to come."

And those 2,000 guns are exclusive of the estimated 4,900 guns that fell into the bad guys hands in just 2009 alone in a separate program that we can only imagine looks like selling weapons to the Mexican military out of the back of a State Department van.

And here's the sick part. Want to know why Holder felt obliged to acknowledge that those lost Fast and Furious guns were going to be at the crime scenes both here and Mexico for years to come? As a pretext for putting into place stricter gun laws.

Holder said such a program "must never happen again," but effectively urged lawmakers to move on -- and tackle the broader issue of the flow of firearms into Mexico.

"We cannot afford to allow the tragic mistakes of 'Operation Fast and Furious' to become a political sideshow or a series of media opportunities," he said. "Instead, we must move forward and recommit ourselves to our shared public safety obligations."

He used the occasion to prod Congress to support efforts to give the Justice Department broader legal tools to track firearms purchases.

Un. Freaking. Real

How he made it up to Capitol Hill with those basketball-sized cajones he must be carrying around is one of life's great unexplained mysteries.

The Justice Department and the State Department have proven to be entirely complicit in supplying guns to Mexican drug cartels, and they now want more power to do what exactly? Stop the flow of guns into Mexico? How has that been working?

We suspected all along that Fast and Furious was merely a set-up for precisely what Holder was asking and now we appear to have the proof.

Again, Sheryll Atkisson of CBS News is on the case:

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the "big fish." But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called "gunwalking," and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF's Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

"Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."

Smoking. Gun.

Also, in his testimony, Holder could not even remember if he had discussed Fast and Furious with the President once he was made aware of it... whenever that was.

Scooter Libby was given jail time for far, far less egregious offenses.

Amongst fans of college sports, there is a term that is applicable here. Holder is either complicit in the operation of Fast and Furious or he is completely incompetent with respect to his lack of knowledge of it when the evidence suggests otherwise. Either way, things have gotten so out of hand at ATF and the Justice Department with this and other circumstances, Holder has displayed a demonstrable lack of institutional control and, by hook or by crook, needs to be removed from his position.

1 comment:

Doo Doo Econ said...

Excellent update, and I am thankful that you are doing such work to keep us informed.