(With apologies to that great entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.)
Reuters reported it: Attorney General Eric Holder seeks distance from gun sting.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday sought to distance himself and other senior Justice Department officials from a botched operation to track guns smuggled to Mexican drug cartels, saying they were not involved.
The Obama administration has been under scrutiny after revelations that as many as 2,000 guns were sold to suspected gun traffickers, not properly tracked and ended up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico.
The operation, dubbed "Fast and Furious", was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney's office in Arizona. Congressional Republicans have questioned who approved it and whether senior Justice Department officials were involved.
"The notion that somehow or other that this thing reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that, at this point, I don't think is supported by the facts," Holder told reporters.
Politico reported it too. Eric Holder: I didn’t know about ‘Fast & Furious'
FOX had it.
The head of the U.S. Justice Department launched his strongest personal defense yet in the growing furor over Operation Fast and Furious, the controversial sting targeting Mexican drug cartels and American gunrunners.
John Hayward at Human Events covered it. Holder Defends Himself Against Gun Walker Investigation. The stone wall crumbles.
You can tell Attorney General Eric Holder is getting nervous about the Gun Walker investigation, because he’s sounding mighty defensive about it. . .
That’s one of those weird, plausibly deniable denials that signals extreme distress among the Washington herd. “I don’t think the notion is supported by the facts” is a far cry from “I absolutely deny that absurd allegation.” Spinning it as a political witch hunt would work better if Holder hadn’t spent so much time stonewalling the investigation. When House Oversight finally pries something out of him with a subpoena, the pages are so heavily redacted with black marker that they look like supermarket bar codes.
As House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) pointed out, Holder’s “Sergeant Schultz” defense amounts to deflecting accusations of malevolence by claiming incompetence:Holder has said repeatedly he was not aware of the operation as it was unfolding, and others have said no one at the Justice Department in Washington was informed of it, but Issa insists Holder at least "should have known."
"I believe it was his obligation to know, " Issa told Fox News in June. "The fact that there was a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in Eric Holder's office is to say really he wasn't doing his job."
Holder, however, noted he leads a massive department with all sorts of functions and obligations
"There are an awful lot of things that go on in the Justice Department," he said. "There's Operation Fast and Furious, [and] I'm sure there's Operation 'Fill In The Blank' going on right now that the people here in the department are not aware of."
Gosh, that’s comforting. I sure hope Operation Fill-In-the-Blank doesn’t involve arming violent Mexican drug cartels with American weapons!
The operation Holder is claiming sweet ignorance of, Operation Fast and Furious, was a massive exercise that involved not only the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, but also significant involvement from the FBI, which had to over-ride the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to allow Fast and Furious gun sales to go forward. Also, some of the cartel figures involved in Fast and Furious were paid FBI informants. . .
But Holder wants us to believe he knew nothing about all this… and yet is somehow still qualified to keep his job? He still wants us to believe all of this was arranged and executed by now-reassigned Acting ATF Director Ken Melson and a couple of knuckleheads at the Phoenix ATF office? Hey, we got a lot of operations running around here. Some of them kill a hundred and fifty Mexicans, plus U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents. Don’t point fingers at me – I’m the only person in the Obama Administration who isn’t into micro-management!
Of course David Codrea has his own take.
Holder’s qualified ‘Gunwalker’ denial withers under examination . . .
“At this point…”?
“I don’t think…”?
Could that brief compilation of weasel words have been crafted any more carefully for escape clauses? And the “reporters” on the ground and in his face didn’t think to challenge it?
Holder questioned whether the congressional probe, led by Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate, was politically motivated...
Does anyone even know if murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Kel…uh…Terry was a Republican or Democrat? How about slain ICE agent Jaime Zapata? Does it matter what political sympathies the estimated scores of dead Mexicans may have had, if any?
And since when is ensuring law enforcement compliance with the law a partisan issue? Weren’t walked guns found at crime scenes in Phoenix misused to endanger all citizens? Not to mention the untold numbers still out there?
. . . A truly independent investigator must be appointed—particularly to negate Holder’s ability to charge partisanship. And the investigation needs to follow where the trail leads across cabinet departments, including DEA, DHS, NSC, (and especially) State…
And recent revelations like the developing story in Indiana (that the press is once more ignoring) need to be torn into with an eye toward where else evidence exists of “authorized” straw purchasing, FBI NICS clearance of “prohibited persons,” and crime scene traces pointing to walked guns falling into criminal hands. Start with the Special Agents in Charge at every ATF field division, and do the same with the cognizanrt FBI chief and the regional U.S. Attorney to determine if similar operations and results have been authorized, conducted and experienced in their jurisdictions. Then find out what guidance and directives they have received from main Justice both before and during their operations, as well as after Holder et al realized disclosures put them at risk.
That about sums it up for me.
New symbol of the Office of Attorney General of the United States.
Image credit to CUATF.org.