News documents indicate that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder more than likely perjured himself in congressional testimony about Operation Fast and Furious earlier this year.
Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News and William LaJeunesse of Fox News have been the only mainstream media reporters diligently working on the most important scandal in White House history, and it is no surprise that they concurrently released information indicating that the attorney general, who claimed in direct testimony on May 3 of this year in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he first heard about Operation Fast and Furious “over the last few weeks,” had actually been briefed on the program in a memo by the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center almost a year earlier on July 5, 2010.
A copy of the heavily redacted weekly report posted by CBS News offers direct evidence that not only was the attorney general briefed on Operation Fast and Furious, but that he was briefed on it regularly and was well aware that the program was sending thousands of weapons into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel:
From July 12 through July 16, the National Drug Intelligence Center Document and Media Exploitation Team at the Phoenix Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCTDETF) Strike Force will support the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Phoenix Field Division with its investigation of Manuel Celis-Acosta as part of OCDETF Operation Fast and Furious. This investigation, initiated in September 2009 in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Phoenix Police Department, involves a Phoenix-based firearms trafficking ring headed by Manual Celis-Acosta. Celis-Acosta and [redacted] straw purchasers are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. They also have direct ties to the Sinaloa Cartel which is suspected of providing $1 million for the purchase of firearms in the greater Phoenix area.
That excerpt stated what the task force would do in the near future, while the same language was used later in the report to show what the task force had done that week:
From July 6 through July 9, the National Drug Intelligence Center Document and Media Exploitation Team at the Phoenix Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCTDETF) Strike Force will support the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Phoenix Field Division with its investigation of Manuel Celis-Acosta as part of OCDETF Operation Fast and Furious. This investigation, initiated in September 2009 in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Phoenix Police Department, involves a Phoenix-based firearms trafficking ring headed by Manual Celis-Acosta. Celis-Acosta and [redacted] straw purchasers are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. They also have direct ties to the Sinaloa Cartel which is suspected of providing $1 million for the purchase of firearms in the greater Phoenix area.
Attorney General Holder’s eventual criminal defense attorney is certain to state that the attorney general is provided with dozens of reports each week, and that is within the realm of reasonable doubt that he simply overlooked or did not remember the specifics of this memo.
Prosecutors would likely cast doubt on such a claim, citing the fact that the report was named Operation Fast and Furious, that it referred to the number of guns walked by the program at that time (1,500), and that it even noted how much they thought the Sinaloa cartel had budgeted for weapons ($1 million). They will then note that this information was cited twice in each weekly report for both current and future operations.
The prosecutors will more than likely be able to state with a great degree of certainly that Holder was provided this information in x number of weekly reports spanning y number of months in a report that only cites the most important National Drug Intelligence Center cases.
It will be very interesting to see if the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has the ability or interest to imprison a sitting attorney general for contempt of Congress, which would in and of itself bring up a question of separation of powers, as it would require Congress having the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia attempting to arrest and imprison a member of the executive branch. This is more than likely a moot point, however, as Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa expressed in a conference call with new media representatives that he would call for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor, who would be given the power to pursue criminal charges that carry a much longer prison sentence than the maximum one year that Congress may impose for contempt.
Another communication acquired by Attkisson and LaJeunesse shows a series of emails between two Department of Justice officials, Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division, and Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty.
The two men discuss Operation Fast and Furious in conjunction with another gun-walking operation based in Tucson (OFF was in Phoenix) and a third, unnamed gun-walking operation.
Trusty wrote to Weinstein:
Looks like we’ll be able to unseal the tucson case sooner than Fast and Furious (although this may be the difference between Nov and Dec). It’s not clear how much we’re invlvoed in the main F and F case, but we have Tucson and now a new, related case with [redacted] targets. It’s not going to be any big surprise that a bunch of US guns are being used in MX, so I’m not sure how much grief we get for “gun walking.” It may be more like, “Finally, they’re going after people who sent guns down there.”
The Trusty email confirms that senior Department of Justice officials were aware of not just Operation Fast and Furious, but that Operation Fast and Furious was a gun-walking operation; Trusty used that exact phrase. The news of the Tucson operation is the second confirmation of that gun-walking operation (Operation Wide Receiver), which was first revealed in a Friday afternoon document dump by the White House.
There is scant reference to the third operation, and it is unclear if this is another Arizona-based case or one of the Texas-based gun-walking operations that was also mentioned in passing in the O’Reilly email released Friday as “last year’s TX effort.”
In the flurry of documents released in the past several days, top officials of the Department of Justice are confirmed talking about at least three and as many as four gun-walking operations, dramatically raising the probability that gun-walking was known throughout the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State, as well as the White House.
These documents seem to convincingly argue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knowingly perjured himself in congressional testimony. As Holder knew, it is likely that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose agents were also part of the task force, received similar weekly reports from either her direct reports or U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, a close personal confidant who was her chief of staff while she was Arizona’s governor and who was appointed U.S. attorney through Napolitano’s influence. State should have been informed as they would have to waive what are clear violations of the Arms Export Control Act, but there is not any evidence yet that Secretary of State Clinton was involved in the operations.
It is starting to appear that Eric Holder might soon find himself thrown under the proverbial bus. It now seems only a matter of time before we discover who was driving a bus that seems destined for the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.