Skip to comments.Darrell Issa: Eric Holder 'owns' Fast & Furious
Posted on 10/10/2011 11:51:30 AM PDT by dragnet2
Holder denyed charges that he misled lawmakers over his knowledge of Fast and Furious.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) excoriated Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday over a controversial Department of Justice gun program, writing in a letter, whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.
On Friday, Holder wrote to Congress denying charges that he misled lawmakers over his knowledge of Fast and Furious, asserting he only learned of the tactics of the operation in early 2011 and denouncing as irresponsible and inflammatory some of the Republican rhetoric that has been used to criticize him.
But Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, hit back Monday morning, writing that Holders letter was deeply disappointing.
Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Departments responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program, Issa wrote.
Issa asserts the Department of Justice has been continually contradicted over its successive explanations of the nature of the operation, and then later over Holders involvement in Fast and Furious - first denying gunwalking occurred and then later saying the activity was limited to the Phoenix field office of the ATF; then blaming the U.S. Attorneys Office in Arizona; and claiming it didnt reach the upper levels of the Justice Department and later admitting it had.
Holder and the DoJ maintain that Issas accusations are based on quotes taken out of context, and insist that there has been no contradiction. My testimony was truthful and accurate and I have been consistent on this point throughout. I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it, Holder said in his letter Friday. Prior to early 2011, I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation.
Holder has been under fire in recent months for Fast and Furious, which was an attempt to investigate drug cartels and weapons traffickers by tracking illegally purchased guns. The mission ended in failure investigators lost thousands of firearms, many of which crossed the border into Mexico. Weapons linked to the program were later involved in the December 2010 shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and at least one other incident of violence involving law enforcement.
Issa and other Republicans have claimed that Holder misled Congress in testimony from May 2011. Holder claimed then that he had only learned about Fast and Furious over the last few weeks. But memos addressed to Holder mention the Fast and Furious operation as far back as 2010, giving Republicans a window through which to attack him as having mislead Congress.
Holder has pushed back strongly on any claim he lied to Congress, writing on Friday that he cant read every item that is sent to his office, and insisting that he was not informed about the controversial aspects of Fast and Furious until early this year.
Issa, who said on Sunday he was working to issue another round of subpoenas this week, was not satisfied with the defense.
The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come, wrote Issa.
Republicans have been increasingly aggressive about criticizing Holder over the Fast and Furious Operation. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has called for the White House to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether Holder lied to Congress.
Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) suggested last week that Holder and the DoJ officials involved in Fast and Furious may have been accessories to murder. Several Republicans have also begun calling for Holders resignation.
You instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Departments responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program.
Thank god for Darrell Issa. Holder always looks like a mindless robot in pictures.
Eric Holder, agent of murder, yes, I said murder, must resign or be fired. And...if POTUS Obama does not broom him immediately, Obama should be forced to resign by his own Democrat Party!!! This has gone far enough!!! Wake up, America, the nation is adrift at sea without a loyal Captain. Obama & Holder and their entire Democrat Party ilk are on amission with the Devil to destroy America!!!
Holder will be forced to resign, he will have no choice. Hopefully when faced with disgrace and possible criminal charges, he will start talking and directly implicate his boss and directors of various agencies.
If any Attorney General was innocent of such a charge, he would be doing EVERYTHING he could to cooperate...to find who was responsible and can them as soon as possible.
Holder should be praying he gets tried and convicted before odumbo is out of office or else theres no presidential pardon.
Another hour, another source PING!
Obama's handlers are likely building a course of action to minimize his knowledge/involvement and to distance himself from his own AG.
I would guess trust between Holder, Obama and others are deteriorating fast. I imagine the big question now is, will they be willing to save the boss at their own expense?
But, when is the scheduled perp walk, Holder with a suitcoat drapped over his head.
Brian Williams hasn’t mentioned this story therefore it never happened.
obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic, Gee, I wonder where He learned to do that?
Holder AND his boss BOTH need to be seen in orange jumpsuits to send the message to ALL Leftists that this kind of crap WON’T go unpunished-!!!
Up to now Obama has not been as dependent on high-powered lawyers as the Clintons were. He typically surrounds himself more with campaign people.
I think we'll see more lawyers now coming into the picture. Problem is...Obama himself is a very poor sophist-lawyer as opposed to the Clintons (especially her) who could spin like crazy. This should be fun to watch.
In short, he's a typical liberal. That is precisely what his media agents in the Associated Press are attempting on his behalf. "Nothing happened and if it did there wasn't anything wrong and Bush did it too. Look! There's a bird!"
Not this time, folks, or at least I pray not. Because if this one slides, the federal Executive is openly allowed to employ murder as a legitimate means of increasing its powers. That is precisely what was done and why.
Shut the BATF down. Now. Pull the plug. No bureaucratic cuteness, lateral transfers, cosmetic suspensions while the matter is covered up. Shut the damn thing down now.
Get the Obama bus ready...our first black US AG is about to be thrown under it by our our first mulatto POTUS. Maybe Holder can sue the Imposter for racism...
He denied them too. Who proofread this Crap!?
Some (on the left) would say you’d be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
But, in this case, after all the dirt was scrubbed off the “baby”, there is no baby.
I'm betting when faced with resignation and possible criminal charges, he starts talking, taking others down with him in hopes of making a deal.
There is no honor among thieves.
Full text of Darrell Issa’s letter of October 10, 2011 to Attorney General Eric Holder is here...
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man (Psalms 118:8).
What was it I read somewhere today...
Holder carries something in his wallet that says “blackness is more important than anything... an attorney general has common cause with black criminals” or some such.
The text of Chairman Issa’s letter to Attorney General Holder is below:
Dear Attorney General Holder:
From the beginning of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations to justify its involvement in this reckless and deadly program. These defenses have been aimed at undermining the investigation. From the start, the Department insisted that no wrongdoing had occurred and asked Senator Grassley and me to defer our oversight responsibilities over its concerns about our purported interference with its ongoing criminal investigations. Additionally, the Department steadfastly insisted that gunwalking did not occur.
Once documentary and testimonial evidence strongly contradicted these claims, the Department attempted to limit the fallout from Fast and Furious to the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). When that effort also proved unsuccessful, the Department next argued that Fast and Furious resided only within ATF itself, before eventually also assigning blame to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. All of these efforts were designed to circle the wagons around DOJ and its political appointees.
To that end, just last month, you claimed that Fast and Furious did not reach the upper levels of the Justice Department. Documents discovered through the course of the investigation, however, have proved each and every one of these claims advanced by the Department to be untrue. It appears your latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in your letter from Friday you now claim that you were unaware of Fast and Furious because your staff failed to inform you of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to you. At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt.
Following the Committee’s issuance of a subpoena over six months ago, I strongly believed that the Department would fully cooperate with Congress and support this investigation with all the means at its disposal. The American people deserve no less. Unfortunately, the Department’s cooperation to date has been minimal. Hundreds of pages of documents that have been produced to my Committee are duplicative, and hundreds more contain substantial redactions, rendering them virtually worthless. The Department has actively engaged in retaliation against multiple whistleblowers, and has, on numerous occasions, attempted to disseminate false and misleading information to the press in an attempt to discredit this investigation.
Your letter dated October 7 is deeply disappointing. Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead 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. 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.
The Mexican Cartels
A month after you became Attorney General, you spoke of the danger of the Mexican drug cartels, and the Sinaloa cartel in particular. The cartels, you said, “are lucrative, they are violent, and they are operated with stunning planning and precision.” You promised that under your leadership “these cartels will be destroyed.” You vowed that the Department of Justice would “continue to work with [its] counterparts in Mexico, through information sharing, training and mutual cooperation to jointly fight these cartels, both in Mexico and the United States.”
Under your leadership, however, Operation Fast and Furious has proven these promises hollow. According to one agent, Operation Fast and Furious “armed the cartel. It is disgusting.” Fast and Furious simply served as a convenient means for dangerous cartels to acquire upwards of 2,000 assault-style weapons. On top of that, the Government of Mexico was not informed about Fast and Furious. In fact, DOJ and ATF officials actively engaged in hiding information about Fast and Furious from not only Mexican officials, but also U.S. law enforcement officials operating in Mexico for fear that they would inform their Mexican counterparts. This strategy is inapposite and contradicts the promises you made to the American people.
Your September 7, 2011 Statement
On September 7, 2011, you said that “[t]he notion that [Fast and Furious] reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that at this point I don’t think is supported by the facts and I think once we examine it and once the facts are revealed we’ll see that’s not the case.” Unfortunately, the facts directly contradict this statement.
Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, clearly a member of the Department’s senior leadership, knew about Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. In fact, I have learned that the amount of detail shared with Breuer’s top deputies about Fast and Furious is simply astounding.
For example, Manuel Celis-Acosta was the “biggest fish” of the straw purchasing ring in Phoenix. From the time the investigation started in September 2009 until March 15, 2010, Manuel Celis-Acosta acquired at least 852 firearms valued at around $500,000 through straw purchasers. Yet in 2009, Celis-Acosta reported an Arizona taxable income of only $15,475. Between September 2009 and late January 2010, 139 of these firearms were recovered, 81 in Mexico alone. Some of these firearms were recovered less than 24 hours after they were bought.
This information, and hundreds of pages worth of additional information, was included in highly detailed wiretap applications sent for authorization to Breuer’s top deputies. It is my understanding, the Department applied to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona for numerous wire taps from March 2010 to July 2010. These wire tap applications were reviewed and approved by several Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals, including Kenneth A. Blanco, John C. Keeney, and Jason M. Weinstein. Breuer’s top deputies approved these wiretap applications to be used against individuals associated with the known drug cartels. As I understand it, the wire tap applications contain rich detail of the reckless operational tactics being employed by your agents in Phoenix. Although Breuer and his top deputies were informed of the operational details and tactics of Fast and Furious, they did nothing to stop the program. In fact, on a trip to Mexico Breuer trumpeted Fast and Furious as a promising investigation.
Gary Grindler, the then-Deputy Attorney General and currently your Chief of Staff, received an extremely detailed briefing on Operation Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010. In this briefing, Grindler learned such minutiae as the number of times that Uriel Patino, a straw purchaser on food stamps who ultimately acquired 720 firearms, went in to a cooperating gun store and the amount of guns that he had bought. When former Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, a career federal prosecutor, learned similar information, he became sick to his stomach:
I had pulled out all Patino’s — and ROIs is, I’m sorry, report of investigation — and you know, my stomach being in knots reading the number of times he went in and the amount of guns that he bought. Transcribed interview of Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson at 42.
At the time of his briefing in March of last year, Grindler knew that Patino had purchased 313 weapons and paid for all of them in cash. Unlike Melson, Grindler clearly saw nothing wrong with this. If Grindler had had the sense to shut this investigation down right then, he could have prevented the purchase of an additional 407 weapons by Patino alone. Instead, Grindler did nothing to stop the program.
Following this briefing, it is clear that Grindler did one of two things. Either, he alerted you to the name and operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case your May 3, 2011 testimony in front of Congress was false; or, he failed to inform you of the name and the operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case Grindler engaged in gross dereliction of his duties as Acting Deputy Attorney General. It is fair to infer from the fact that Grindler remains as your Chief of Staff that he did not engage in gross dereliction of his duties and told you about the program as far back as March of 2010.
In the summer of 2010, at the latest, you were undoubtedly informed about Fast and Furious. On at least five occasions you were told of the connection between Fast and Furious and a specific Mexican cartel the very cartel that you had vowed to destroy. You were informed that Manuel Celis-Acosta and his straw purchasers were responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. Yet, you did nothing to stop this program.
You failed to own up to your responsibility to safeguard the American public by hiding behind “[a]ttorneys in [your] office and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General,” who you now claim did not bring this information to your attention. Holder Letter, supra note 1. As a result of your failure to act on these memos sent to you, nearly 500 additional firearms were purchased under Fast and Furious.
The facts simply do not support any claim that Fast and Furious did not reach the highest levels of the Justice Department. Actually, Fast and Furious did reach the ultimate authority in the Department you.
Your May 3, 2011 Statement
On May 3, 2011, I asked you directly when you first knew about the operation known as Fast and Furious. You responded directly, and to the point, that you weren’t “sure of the exact date, but [you] probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” This statement, made before Congress, has proven to be patently untrue. Documents released by the Department just last week showed that you received at least seven memos about Fast and Furious starting as early as July 2010.
In your letter Friday, you blamed your staff for failing to inform you about Operation Fast and Furious when they reviewed the memos sent to you last summer. Your staff, therefore, was certainly aware of Fast and Furious over a year ago. Lanny Breuer was aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010, and Gary Grindler was also aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. Given this frequency of high level involvement with Fast and Furious as much as a year prior to your May 3, 2011 testimony, it simply is not believable that you were not briefed on Fast and Furious until a few weeks before your testimony. At the very least, you should have known about Fast and Furious well before then. The current paper trail, which will only grow more robust as additional documents are discovered, creates the strong perception that your statement in front of Congress was less than truthful.
The February 4, 2011 Letter
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this intransigence is that the Department of Justice has been lying to Congress ever since the inquiry into Fast and Furious began. On February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transport into Mexico.” This letter, vetted by both the senior ranks of ATF as well as the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, is a flat-out lie.
As we understand it, in March 2010, top deputies to Lanny Breuer were informed that law enforcement officers intercepted calls that demonstrated that Manuel Celis-Acosta was conspiring to purchase and transport firearms for the purpose of trafficking the firearms from the United States into Mexico. Not only was ATF aware of this information, but so was the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This information was shared with the Criminal Division. All of these organizations are components of the Department of Justice, and they were all aware of the illegal purchase of firearms and their eventual transportation into Mexico.
These firearms were not interdicted. They were not stopped. Your agents allowed these firearms purchases to continue, sometimes even monitoring them in person, and within days some of these weapons were being recovered in Mexico. Despite widespread knowledge within its senior ranks that this practice was occurring, when asked on numerous occasions about the veracity of this letter, the Department has shockingly continued to stand by its false statement of February 4, 2011.
Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.
Operation Fast and Furious was the Department’s most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.
Holder will do obama’s bidding as long as he is promised a pardon. But, if he is not charged, he would obviously not need a pardon. What if he is charged, would a presidential pardon cover a subsequent conviction? Could he even be pardoned if there is no charge?
What if the GOP let him twist in the wind and hold legal action over his head unless he sings before the election?
Holder’s fate will depend on the election.
Just threaten Holder with extradiction to Mexico to face trial there. That should do the trick...
He'd better. Anything less than complete cooperation would be contempt of Congress.
The lib media would have hounded Ashcroft out of office in an orange jump suit so fast......
Shouldnt Holder be charged with manslaughter or???
Shouldnt Holder be charged with manslaughter or???
Accessory of or conspiracy to commit murder...