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Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder provided congressional testimony for the seventh time regarding Operation Fast And Furious, the illegal, dangerous, and idiotic ATF plan to let guns "walk" across the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, allegedly to allow the guns to be tracked back to subsequent criminal activity and then apprehend those responsible. One of the many problems with the hairbrained plan was that the ATF couldn't track the weapons once they went into Mexico, and in fact neither ATF agents in Mexico nor the Mexican government was even made aware of the existence of the Fast And Furious plan. Thousand of guns went across the border in violation of federal law and in violation of the ATF's own mission statement, and as a result, the guns were used in numerous violent criminal activities in Mexico and an American border patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed with Fast And Furious weapons. Mexican officials are understandably furious, and congressional investigators, headed by Darrell Issa (R-CA), are trying to get to the bottom of who knew what and how high knowledge of the gun walking went.
The reason AG Holder is being questioned is, the ATF works under the Department Of Justice, which is headed by Holder, and Fast And Furious began in 2009, during the Obama administration, for whom Holder works.
A previous and much smaller ATF gun walking operation, called Operation Wide Receiver, began in 2006 during the Bush administration. That smaller flawed operation didn't work, and was shut down in 2007. Write it down as a very bad idea, a failed experiment….so why would the ATF greatly expand upon the same failed strategy again in 2009 with Fast And Furious ? Enquiring minds would like to know.
Holder has been using the Sergeant Schultz "I know nothing" excuse. He claims no high ranking officials at Justice knew about Fast And Furious, including himself. When asked in April 2011 when he first became aware of Fast And Furious gun walking, Holder told Congress he found out just a few weeks earlier when the news became public. That was disproven by e-mails showing Holder had been informed at least ten months earlier. After his previous statement was disproven, Holder hilariously claimed he didn't understand the question he was being asked. He then admitted he knew about Fast And Furious, but not the gun walking. I'll repeat Issa's question and answer here just to illustrate how ridiculous Holder's new response was:
ISSA: Mr. Attorney General, we have two Border Patrol agents who are dead, who were killed by guns that were allowed, as far as we can tell, to deliberately walk out of gun shops under the program often called Fast and Furious. This program, as you know — and the President’s been asked about it, you’ve been asked about it – allowed for weapons to be sold to straw purchasers, and ultimately, many of those weapons are today in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals. When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious? To the best of your knowledge, what date?
HOLDER: I’m not sure of the exact date but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.
There was nothing at all unclear about Issa's question, and it was about gun walking in particular. Holder lied. Again.
When that excuse didn't fly, the ever creative Holder made the odd claim that he didn't read all his e-mails. In effect, Holder was saying, "I'm not a liar. I'm just inept at my job". Obama should have fired Holder the second those words came out of Holder's mouth. Who wants an AG who doesn't even read his e-mails, for chrissakes ?
Btw, during the Bush years, VP Cheney's assistant, Scooter Libby, was sentenced to jail for being wrong about the date he found out the CIA identity of Valerie Plame, and Libby was only off by one month. And Libby didn't even divulge Plame's identity to the press. Holder was off by a minimum of ten months, and then gave two followup explanations that defy credulity.
That brings us to yesterday's' hearing. The date-challenged, question-misunderstanding, e-mail non-reader Holder had the following exchange with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT):
"You claim with passion that nobody at the senior levels at the Department of Justice prior to the death of [border patrol] agent Brian Terry knew that guns were walking, and I've got an email from Jason Weinstein using the term 'guns walking,'" Chaffetz said.
Holder ducked the question, saying that the email referred to a different operation.
"That refers to Wide Receiver, not Fast and Furious," balked Holder.
Chaffetz fired back "That is not what the February 4 letter that was sent to the United States Congress said. that's not true."
Holder stood his ground, compelling Chaffetz to read every email verbatim to the committee.
"The email says Fast and Furious, you say it doesn't. I've got it in black and white," Chaffetz said.
"I have superior knowledge," answered Holder.
Once again, Holder seems to be avoiding honesty. Here's what the e-mail in question actually says:
“It’s not clear how much we’re involved in the main F and F [Fast and Furious] case,” reads the email, “but we have Tucson [Wide Receiver] and now a new unrelated case with [redacted] targets. It’s not any big surprise that a bunch of US guns are being used in MX [Mexico], so I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like ‘Finally, they’re going after people who sent guns down there.’”
Clearly, the e-mail refers to BOTH Fast And Furious and Wide Receiver, and it also references a "bunch of US guns" in Mexico, as was the case with Fast And Furious.
So now we have Holder's latest excuse - Fast And Furious doesn't mean Fast And Furious. No wonder Issa is ready to blow his top, and Congress is considering a contempt citation against Eric Holder.