Two Republican presidential candidates have joined the 51 congressmen who have called for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the gunwalking operation Fast and Furious. They join former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who called on Holder to be fired more than a month ago.
This past Friday, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told the Daily Caller:
Attorney General Holder should resign because of the mismanagement of “Fast and Furious.” … As the nation’s top law enforcement officer, he bears the responsibility for the actions of his department.
Bachmann stopped short of calling on President Obama to fire Holder if he refuses to resign. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had originally refused to answer when asked about the attorney general last week, wrote a scathing editorial in the Washington Times Monday that stated Holder must resign because he was either grossly incompetent or criminally involved in the plot:
Mr. Holder’s proclaimed ignorance leaves Americans to draw one of two conclusions: Either he is guilty of extraordinary bureaucratic incompetence or he is guilty of a cover-up meant to shield him from the consequences of an operation that has left at least one federal agent dead and continues to imperil many more.
Either way, it is high time for Mr. Holder to step down. If he refuses to resign, Mr. Obama must fire him immediately.
Under the attorney general’s leadership, our nation’s top law enforcement agency proactively armed some of the most dangerous criminal organizations in North America, and at least one American is dead as a direct result. The damage done to Mr. Holder’s credibility is irreparable.
Perry’s forceful statement is in line with growing public and Capitol Hill opinion, putting the administration in the unenviable position of having to defend a cabinet-level appointee against charges of gross incompetence, corruption, and criminality that has resulted in the deaths of American law enforcement officers and hundreds of Mexican civilians.
Operation Fast and Furious is one of ten alleged gunwalking operations in five states that seem to have existed with the express purpose of arming criminal gangs with the very weapons that the Obama administration and his gun control allies have long sought to ban. The Department of Justice has claimed that Operation Fast and Furious was an effort to identify drug cartel kingpins and to take down entire gun-smuggling rings, but the evidence suggests the DOJ’s position is a poor alibi.
High-level cartel members are simply not involved in low-level work such as weapons acquisition. Such a scheme would have been rejected at the planning phase. Further, there was no attempt at all to interdict or even to track the weapons being sold to the cartels. In multiple instances, executive branch law enforcement agencies stepped in to ensure that smugglers were freed from custody with their weapons when stopped by local police.
No rational person can look at the evidence of how the operation was run and come to any conclusion except that this was intended to be a government-sanctioned weapons smuggling program expressly designed to arm the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The DOJ plot seems in line with fresh allegations that the federal government during Obama’s presidency has greatly increased official arms sales to Mexico, with many of the sales sending military weapons to the most corrupt portions of the Mexican government and military — who are then apparently selling the guns to the cartels. The implication is that U.S government in the Obama years is the number one supplier of cartel weapons:
From 2008 to 2009, when President Obama entered office, Defense Department expenditures to Mexico have increased from $12 million to $34 million and State Department expenditures increased from $7.2 million to $356 million. While 2010 data is currently unavailable, it appears our foreign aid to Mexico has continued to increase for 2011. These statistics imply the State and Defense Departments may very well be the top suppliers of small arms to Mexico’s drug cartels and not civilians. Only the information obtained from ATF Firearms Traces will tell. However, those records are not public. After the DOJ and the White House knowingly pursued attempts at new gun control legislation, we are left to ask the question; is this just another case of government stupidity or is this something more premeditated?
Florida Republican Allen West has said if Holder doesn’t resign and President Obama doesn’t fire him, “then perhaps the president of the United States of America is also complicit in this horrible, tragic event of Operation Fast and Furious.” None of the Republican candidates have gone as far as Rep. West’s statement.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been largely silent, dodging the issue at first. Later, a spokesman said that if the attorney general is proven to have lied in front of Congress he should resign. Herman Cain, who is rapidly fading in the polls, had opined earlier this month that the 30 members of Congress then calling for Holder to resign “can’t be wrong.”
Second-tier candidates John Huntsman and Rick Santorum have also called for Holder to resign. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate to avoid taking a position on the scandal.