September 21, 2012
An internal Department of Justice report clears Attorney General Eric Holder of any personal knowledge of the flawed Operation Fast and Furious gun-smuggling investigation, according to The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 471 page report instead criticizes the ATF, senior DOJ officials, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix.
This despite the fact that, as Malcolm writes,
Holder got weekly reports that mentioned the operation, [while] his top assistants, including “the Attorney General’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and the leadership of the Criminal Division failed to alert the Attorney General to significant information about or flaws in those investigations.”
The ill-conceived Fast and Furious aimed to identify the cartel leaders behind a firearms trafficking network. More than 2,000 high-powered weapons ending up in criminals’ hands, and two of these were used to murder U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
It is extremely unlikely that Holder’s closest staffers would not relay such troubling information, Malcolm argues:
It is shocking to conceive that the Attorney General was not made aware of the tactics used in an operation that lasted for months and resulted in the deaths of approximately 300 Mexicans and a federal agent. Assuming it’s true, Holder was ill-served by his most trusted advisors and career prosecutors in Phoenix, some of whom should now be disciplined, if not fired.
In the report, Holder actually blames the investigation for causing harm:
It is unfortunate that some were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts about these operations—accusations that turned out to be without foundation and that have caused a great deal of unnecessary harm and confusion.
Do you think Eric Holder bears responsibility for the consequences of Fast and Furious?