Gunwalker: panic at the Justice Department

**Posted by Phineas

Not surprising, since the Attorney General of the United States has been exposed for lying to Congress. According to the NY Post’s Michael Walsh (via ST’s Hot Headlines), DoJ and Obama administration spokesmen have been coming up with one fig leaf after another to explain why Eric holder isn’t culpable in this fiasco:

And coverup there seems to be. On top of stonewalling Rep. Darrell Issa’s House investigation of the mess, Justice has floated a series of contradictory excuses:

  • There was no such program.
  • Even if there were, Holder never knew about it.
  • Even if he should have known about it, he might not have read Breuer’s memos.
  • Even if he read Breuer’s memos, he misunderstood the simple question: “When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?”

With the recent exposure of another apparent “gunwalking” operation, Wide Receiver, that may date back to the Bush administration, some are already pushing a “Bush-did-it-too” meme. If true, it shows the rot at Justice goes deeper than we thought — but it has nothing to do with whether Holder may have committed perjury.

If Holder is so innocent, why, sources inside Justice say, are folks there engaging in a panicked orgy of finger-pointing and blame-shifting?

Good question. I’m waiting for the “The dog ate the memo” excuse. Should be coming right up.

In his article, Michael Walsh says the panic has reached “stage two.” On the contrary, inside Main Justice at least, I’m sure it’s reached stage three with a bullet, since the President yesterday gave Holder the dreaded “vote of confidence:”

President Barack Obama said Thursday he has complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder amid Republican accusations that the attorney general was aware months sooner than he’s acknowledged about a flawed operation to stem gun-smuggling.

At a White House news conference, the president said Holder has been very aggressive in pursuing gun-running and cash transactions that support drug cartels in Mexico.

Holder “indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious,” the president said. “Certainly I was not, and I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through” to arms traffickers rather than being seized by agents.

(Emphasis added)

We all know what it means when a president expresses confidence in a controversial cabinet secretary, right? It’s usually followed in short order by a resignation “to spend more time with my family” or to “pursue other opportunities,” while the president crosses his fingers behind his back in the hope this makes the scandal go away before it gets to him.

In other words, that sound you hear is the Obama bus warming up — always room for one more under it!

Oh, and regarding that “Bush did it too” diversion, Operation “Wide Receiver:” Bob Owens at Pajamas Media shoots that down in short order. “Wide Receiver” and “Fast and Furious” were fundamentally different operations.

While it’s fun to engage in a bit of schadenfreude at Eric Holder’s expense (Lord knows, he richly deserves it), let’s keep in mind that this is a very serious scandal, in which agencies of the federal government are accused of allowing Mexican drug cartels to obtain heavy firearms in violation of US law — perhaps even selling to them directly. This has been done without the knowledge of our agents in Mexico or of the Mexican government, which is waging a violent war against those same cartels.

And, unlike Watergate or other big federal scandals, this one has resulted in death: three US federal agents have been shot with guns tied to Fast and Furious, two of whom have died. Over 200 Mexicans have died at the hands of gunmen wielding “walked” firearms. If the situation had been reversed, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Even if Eric Holder does resign, the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious must go on and the demand for a special prosecutor must be relentless and loud.

Justice for the dead demands no less.

RELATED: Prior Gunwalker posts.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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