Okay, below I told you that the Senate Judiciary Committee was going to pre-empt the House with a Holder hearing on November 8 and that the White House was going to do a docu-dump to friendly journalists today. Well, chief among those scandal deflectors these days is TPM Muckraker and here is the big raisin in the disinformation turd:
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer Issues Statement On 'Operation Wide Receiver'
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division released the following statement today:
"Throughout my tenure as Assistant Attorney General, one of my highest priorities, and one of the central missions that I have set for the Criminal Division, has been to work with out Mexican counterparts to fight the scourge of drug trafficking and violence in Mexico, and to address the public safety crisis along the Southwest Border of the United States. That is why, among many other steps, in 2009, I offered Southwest Border U.S. Attorneys' Offices assistance from one of the Criminal Division's experienced prosecutors to assist in gun trafficking prosecutions.
"In response to that offer, the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office asked the Criminal Division prosecutor to assume responsibility for Operation Wide Receiver, and the Criminal Division's Gang Unit agreed to do so, despite not having been involved in the underlying flawed investigation of the matter by the Tuscon Field Office of the ATF's Phoenix Field Division in 2006 and 2007.
"As that prosecutor evaluated the case in the fall of 2009, she realized that ATF's investigation -- which had concluded two years earlier -- had included the use of misguided tactics that had resulted in ATF losing control of numerous guns that then crossed the border into Mexico. This information was brought to my attention in April 2010.
"When I learned of the unacceptable tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver, I instructed one of my Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals to schedule a meeting with ATF's Acting Director and Deputy Director to bring these issues to their attention. The next day, my Deputy met with the ATF Deputy Director and others to discuss this matter.
"In prosecuting the defendants in Operation Wide Receiver, the Criminal Division focused on how to ensure that those responsible for illegal firearms trafficking were brought to justice, despite the flaws in the investigation.
"Knowing what I now know was a pattern of unacceptable and misguided tactics used by the ATF, I regret that I did not alert others within the leadership of the Department of Justice to the tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver when they first came to my attention.
"When the allegations related to Operation Fast and Furious became public earlier this year, the leadership of ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona repeatedly assured individuals in the Criminal Division and the leadership of the Department of Justice that those allegations were not true. As a result, I did not draw a connection between the unacceptable tactics used by the ATF years earlier in Operation Wide Receiver and the allegations made about Operation Fast and Furious, and therefore did not, at that time, alert others within Depoartment leadership of any similarities between the two. That was a mistake, and I regret not having done so.
"I remain more committed than ever to the Criminal Division's mission to fight violence in the United States and Mexico."
Here is the CBS piece on this remarkable statement.
Here is CNN's take.
Breuer faces a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday in which he may be asked for a face-to-face explanation of his position.
As head of the criminal division, Breuer is one of Attorney General Eric Holder's most important assistants.
His statement of regret came as the Justice Department sent 650 pages of documents to Congressional investigators. The documents had been subpoenaed October 11 by Republican lawmakers angered by what they claim was stonewalling by the Justice officials.
Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said his staff would scour the new documents.
"At first glance, the documents indicate that contrary to previous denials by the Justice Department, the criminal division has a great deal of culpability in sweeping the previous Wide Receiver strategy under the rug and then allowing the subsequent Operation Fast and Furious to continue without asking key questions," Grassley said.
"With every document that comes out, the Justice Department loses credibility and the faith of the the American people," Grassley concluded.
I am at the end of a very long, exhausting day, so I am going to reserve my thoughtful reaction to this until tomorrow.
It strikes me, though, that this is the same Lanny Breuer who insisted that the Mexicans not be told. The same Lanny Breuer who evinced a pretty complete knowledge of what was happening in F&F. If the Bushies made him do it, why didn't the Obamanoids use it to beat the GOP over the head with it?
The other immediate idea that strikes me is that Breuer has been selected as the sacrificial goat whose bureaucratic slaughter is intended to protect Holder.
It won't work, of course. But I must admit it is funny to watch them try.
The singing raisin in the disinformation turd: Lanny Breuer says he heard it through the grapevine.