**Posted by Phineas
And the only way that doesn’t happen is if he is fool-enough to stay in office, Obama is fool-enough not to fire him, and Congress has no choice but to remove him from office.
Consider: On the 4th of July, a national holiday, acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gave testimony to House and Senate investigators on Operation “Fast and Furious,” aka “Gunwalker.”
Without telling his bosses.
And bringing his own lawyer, not the Bureau’s and not the Department of Justice’s.
To quote Allahpundit — Dude!
This morning, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley released a copy of a letter (PDF) they sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on July 5 about Melson’s testimony. Melson’s revelations raise even more serious issues not only about the operation itself, but about apparent attempts by the Justice Department to mislead Congress on the details of the operation.
Contrary to the Justice Department’s denials, according to Melson, ATF agents specifically witnessed transfers of weapons from straw purchasers to third parties without taking any further action. Melson claimed that it was not until the public disclosure of the operation that he personally reviewed the “hundreds of documents” related to the case. He said he became “sick to his stomach” when he learned the full story. Even more shocking is that some of the “gun trafficking ‘higher-ups’ that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants” by agencies such as the FBI and the DEA.
Melson provided detailed information and documents to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Justice Department. But that information was not given to Congress by then-Acting Deputy Attorney General James Cole. In fact, “Melson was not allowed to communicate to Congress” and “Justice Department officials directed [ATF’s senior leadership] not to respond and took full control of replying to briefing and document requests from Congress.” According to the letter Issa and Grassley sent to Holder, it was “two days after [Melson] told [Cole] about serious issues involving lack of information sharing” that the Wall Street Journal suddenly reported that Melson was about to be ousted by the Obama administration.
The Deputy Attorney General advises and assists the Attorney General in formulating and implementing Departmental policies and programs and in providing overall supervision and direction to all organizational units of the Department. The Deputy Attorney General is authorized to exercise all the power and authority of the Attorney General, except where such power or authority is prohibited by law from delegation or has been delegated to another official. In the absence of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General acts as the Attorney General.
Think about this: Melson, head of the BATF, gave Cole, Holder’s chief deputy, “detailed information and documents,” after Melson had seen enough to make him sick. And instead of letting himself be set up as the fall-guy, he got his own lawyer –a former US Attorney– rather than let government lawyers “represent” him. Gee, I wonder why he’d feel that need?
But wait, there’s more!
In a related article, Bob Owens quotes an email from the Phoenix BATF office referencing an inter-agency meeting that shows how widespread knowledge of Gunwalker was:
The October 27, 2009 email from ATF Phoenix Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell regarded a Southwest Border Strategy Group meeting that focused on Fast and Furious. It contained a laundry list of high ranking Justice Department officials that attended the meeting, including:
- Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Lanny Breuer,
- Kenneth Melson, Acting Director, ATF
- William Hoover, Acting Deputy Director, ATF
- Michele Leonhart, Administrator, DEA
- Robert Mueller, Director FBI
Four other Justice Department directors or their representatives came from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Bureau of Prisons (BOP), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA). The chair of the Attorney Generals Advisory Committee (AGAC) also attended the session. Their names were redacted in the released document. U.S. attorneys for all four southwest border states also attended.
With all this legal and bureaucratic firepower in one room being briefed on Gunwalker, there is absolutely no way Attorney General Eric Holder did not know what was going on, which may make the DoJ’s actions in response to requests for information from Issa’s committee Obstruction, a felony. And interference with Melson’s testimony may also be Tampering, under Title 18, Section 1512 of the US Code. (See subsections (b) and (c).)
This is why I say Eric Holder is a “Dead Bureaucrat Walking.” There is too much to indicate he is either monumentally detached from his supervisory responsibilities and thus incompetent, or (more likely) knew all along about an operation that let thousands of firearms be sold to straw buyers who were acting as cutouts for the Mexican drug cartels, in order to trace a putative “gunrunning network.” An operation that has cost at least 150 Mexican lives (1) and the lives of two US federal officers.
And thus my strong guess is that he will resign to protect President Obama, rather than be impeached and to try to head off an independent prosecutor, because I find it very hard to believe the President didn’t know, either.
(1) It’s no wonder the Mexicans are talking about extradition; I’d be screaming mad, too.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)