Thursday’s announced resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder is not going to satisfy people who have wanted the truth about what is possibly the worst scandal of the Obama administration, Operation Fast & Furious, because people died and will continue to die, and documents dealing with that misadventure have been withheld from Congress and the American public.
Fast & Furious was the operation mounted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2009 and 2010 that brought the term “gun walking” into the public lexicon. ATF agents allowed some 2,000 guns to be illegally “walked” into the hands of Mexican drug cartel gunmen until one of those rifles turned up at the Arizona crime scene where Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered.
One question that has popped up: Will Holder simply walk away from the Fast & Furious mess? There is some speculation that he’s leaving because a judge just turned down a request from DOJ to further extend its withholding a list of documents related to Fast & Furious that has been protected by President Barack Obama’s use of executive privilege.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — which held hearings on the scandal three years ago and has sued to get the documents Holder is withholding, pulled no punches. He issued a bristling statement, calling Holder “the most divisive U.S. Attorney General in modern history.”
“Time and again,” Issa said, “Eric Holder administered justice as the political activist he describes himself as instead of an unbiased law enforcement official. By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder’s legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any Attorney General before him.
“Through strong arming reporters,” he continued, “practically ignoring high level wrongdoing, blocking his own agency Inspector General’s access to information, and overseeing a Department that attempted to stonewall Congressional oversight with denials of what is now established fact, Attorney General Holder abused his office and failed to uphold the values of our Constitution.”
Issa called on President Barack Obama and the Senate to “work expeditiously to find a replacement, time and care must be taken to ensure that our next Attorney General recognizes and does not repeat Mr. Holder’s mistakes.”
Issa, at one point during a hearing, told the Attorney General that he was “not a good witness.” The congressman evidently has lots of company in his frustration, with Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano unloading on Holder for politicizing the Justice Department, and writers John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky asserting in Thursday’s Washington Times that Holder and his subordinates “racialized and radicalized” the DOJ “to the point of corruption.”
Holder is the nation’s first African-American attorney general, and the first one to be held in contempt of Congress. His tenure has been described as “tumultuous” by NPR, which didn’t mention the Fast & Furious scandal until the 11th paragraph of its story on his announcement.
There is a bit of irony in the timing. This weekend, at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Chicago, National Gun Rights Examiner Dan is scheduled to talk about the rise of the “citizen journalist,” and he speaks from experience. It was Codrea and “citizen journalist” Mike Vanderboegh who uncovered the Fast & Furious scandal, which ultimately got the attention of Sen. Charles Grassley, and Issa’s Oversight committee.
If Republicans retain the House and actually capture the Senate in November, that could open the door to more scrutiny of the Justice Department under Holder. With lots of those Fast & Furious guns still in circulation, fallout from that operation, which one ATF agent called “the perfect storm of idiocy,” will continue for the foreseeable future.
Other “citizen journalists” added life to the story, which finally gained traction when former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson interviewed a chief whistleblower on the evening news. Attkisson is no longer at CBS, and the Fast & Furious story seems to be fading into the public’s political memory, but it just might spring back to life if Issa’s committee eventually gets hold of those subpoenaed documents.
Fund is also scheduled to speak during the GRPC this weekend. Examiner will catch up to him and get his further thoughts on the Holder resignation.