Gunwalker: Punch-Drunk Eric Holder Swings Back at Critics, Hits Self
Friday was just another day in a continuing series of bad days for the administration of President Barack Obama, as the furor surrounding the executive branch's gun-walking scandal continues to escalate.
The day began with a gritty montage-style video from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asking the question few in the media are willing to ask about the gun-walking program: Holder vs. White House: Who Is Responsible? Like a duffel bag stuffed with straw-purchased Draco pistols, the day quickly went "south" from there.
The White House attempt to implement a weak "Bush did it too" defense collapsed in spectacular fashion, in the worst possible way. The administration - specifically the Department of Justice -- leaked a claim that a Bush-era operation called "Wide Receiver" also walked guns to Mexican cartels, just like Obama's Operation Fast and Furious. The claim served as a "hook" to draw out news agencies that had up until now largely ignored the scandal out of partisan deference to the White House.
But the claim simply wasn't true.
While the steady drip-drip-drip of evidence has destroyed claims that the Obama administration program was anything but a way to arm criminals to support the 90-percent lie and the president's gun control agenda, the Bush-era Operation Wide Receiver was a legitimate "botched" law enforcement operation that failed because of an over-reliance on new and unproven technologies and an underestimation of the cunning of cartel smugglers. One of the key witnesses testifying about Wide Receiver even came forward to debunk the DOJ's claims of "Bush did it too," noting that the 2006-2007 operation was a small local ATF operation, conducted without Justice or White House support.
The Obama DOJ created more media interest with the Bush claim, only to have the claim fall apart as the national interest in the case finally began to rise. Oops.
Just as the Wide Receiver claim was falling apart, new documents surfaced that seemed to undermine Eric Holder's defense that he was unaware of Operation Fast and Furious, the best-known of the administration's gun-walking scandals. Sharyl Attkisson released documents that showed then-Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, the second-highest ranking official in Justice, received a detailed briefing on the operation and made hand-written notes in the margins. The briefing was on March 12, 2010, six months into Operation Fast and Furious:
In handwritten notes about Fast and Furious that are not all legible, Grindler writes about "seizures in Mexico" and "links to cartel." He also noted "seizures in Mexico" on a map of Phoenix, the home base for Fast and Furious, and Mexico locations where some guns ended up. And Grindler made notations on a photograph of several dozen rifles.
As the evidence continues to cast strong doubts on the attorney general's truthfulness, one of his defensive measures seems to be collapsing. The Obama administration and Holder's Department of Justice have repeatedly fallen back on using the DOJ inspector general's investigation as a way to keep from answering the hard questions about the gun-walking operations. When pressed about the plot, they defer to the inspector general's investigation.
Now we know why.
It turns out that acting DOJ Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar, who had leaked information gathered by congressional investigators to the subjects of her investigation, is an old colleague of Eric Holder:
It turns out that Ms. Schnedar has long and close ties to Mr. Holder. According to her biography on the Justice Department website, she became assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. in 1994. Eric Holder had become the U.S. attorney in Washington the previous year, so he in effect was Schnedar's boss from 1994 until 1997, when he left to become President Clinton's deputy attorney general. Holder would become a key player in the scandalous pardons of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich and members of the Puerto Rican nationalist terrorist group known as FALN.
But during Ms. Schnedar's tenure before Holder had departed, it happened that they had ended up working a number of cases together. According to the LexisNexis website, there were at least fourteen of them, usually at the appellate level. For Holder, it was more than just "in name only"; in some of those cases, they apparently co-filed legal briefs.
A responsible inspector general would have immediately noted the obvious conflict of interest and stepped aside after calling for a special counsel to conduct an impartial inquiry. The fact that Schnedar chose not to disclose this conflict of interest indicates possible collusion and corruption of the DOJ Inspector General's Office. Schnedar may very well find herself the star of her own corruption trial.