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‘Gunwalker’ Scandal and the Case for Impeaching Holder

While Holder didn’t pull any triggers, the Department of Justice was involved in Gunwalker from the beginning.

by
Howard Nemerov

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June 25, 2011 - 12:00 am
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A detective assembles a crime’s “history” by collecting and examining evidence, which eventually leads him to the perpetrator. When sufficient evidence points to a reasoned conclusion, perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted in court. Crimes consist of means, motive, and opportunity. So it is with ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, also known as “Gunwalker.”

Violent crimes committed with Gunwalker firearms

Besides Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder, “Mexican officials estimate 150 of their people have been shot by Fast and Furious guns.” This indicates at least 150 incidents of murder or attempted murder.

While Holder didn’t pull any triggers, the Department of Justice was involved in Gunwalker from the beginning. The Washington Post notes: “The ATF became part of the Justice Department after Sept. 11, 2001….”

From the recent congressional report on Fast and Furious:

In the fall of 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed a risky new strategy to combat gun trafficking along the Southwest Border.…The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented that strategy using a reckless investigative technique that street agents call “gunwalking.” ATF’s Phoenix Field Division began allowing suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns.

This shift in strategy was known and authorized at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Through both the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona and “Main Justice,” headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Department closely monitored and supervised the activities of the ATF.

Holder accessory to crime?

Murder aside, Gunwalker violated federal law. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 922 states that only a licensed dealer or manufacturer can engage in interstate or foreign firearms commerce. It’s a federal offense for a person to buy a gun intended for another (straw buyer).

The congressional investigation highlights multiple ATF agents’ testimony that they knew of illegal firearms sales and reported them, but their superiors ordered them to let federal felonies proceed:

Though many line agents objected vociferously, ATF and DOJ leadership continued to prevent them from making every effort to interdict illegally purchased firearms.

Several agents blew the whistle on this reckless operation only to face punishment and retaliation from ATF leadership.

ATF Special Agent John Dodson, the original whistleblower, regularly witnessed these violations:

Well, every time we voiced concerns.…But every day being out here watching a guy go into the same gun store buying another 15 or 20 AK-47s or variants or…five or ten…pistols…guys that don’t have a job, and he is walking in here spending $27,000 for three Barrett .50 calibers…and you are sitting there every day and you can’t do anything….

The attorney general is supposed to uphold federal law; instead, his DOJ intentionally violated it.

A person who is aware of a crime before it occurs, and who gives some form of aid to those committing the crime, is known in legal terms as an “accessory before the fact.”

Fellow PJMedia correspondent Patrick Richardson made the case that it strains credulity that Holder was unaware of Gunwalker. But even giving the benefit of the doubt, the only other possibility is that Holder is incompetent to run DOJ.

Elements of premeditation

The Obama administration has a history of promoting gun control. Soon after Obama’s inauguration, Holder said:

As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons.…I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.

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