Depending upon the breadth of the investigation, it is quite possible for a special counsel to end up investigating not just the attorney general but other senior DOJ officials, including the directors of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), and responsible U.S. attorneys including U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who recently resigned over his role in Operation Fast and Furious.
The special counsel would likewise need to investigate the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including Secretary Janet Napolitano. U.S. Attorney Burke is a close confidant of Napolitano’s, having served as her chief of staff while she was Arizona’s governor. Agencies under her control that may have participated in gunwalking operations — such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol — could also face inquiries.
The State Department and Treasury Department — specifically the IRS Criminal Investigations Division that was part of the task forces — could also face questioning.
The possible charges and the list of those who could face them are extensive. In addition to the perjury case against Attorney General Holder, there exists the possibility of RICO cases (typically reserved for organized crime syndicates), prosecutions for violating the Arms Export Control Act, and the outside chance of prosecutions for international terrorism and treason.
This does not include any criminal charges or civil charges that would likely arise from the deaths of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, or from the wounding of ICE Agent Victor Avila.
The possibility also exists that Obama administration officials may face prosecution in Mexico for contributing to the deaths of a reported 200 Mexican citizens.
It is a dangerous time to be an Obama administration insider, appointee, or operative.
(Related: CBS Reporter says White House staffer screamed at her for pursuing the Fast and Furious story.)