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.
Despite the continuing collapse of the attorney general's defense -- or perhaps in response to it -- Holder went on offense late Friday with a scathing letter to the chairmen and ranking congressional committee heads investigating the scandal, seeking to both attack his critics and, incredibly, call for more gun control.
Holder's ostensible excuse for attacking those trying to investigate his department -- other than keeping himself out of prison -- was to claim that he:
...could not sit idly by as a Majority Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests, as happened this week, that law enforcement and government employees who dedicate their lives to protecting our citizens be considered "accessories to murder."
Holder appears to have been passive-aggressively attacking Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who repeated a similar claim Wednesday. Unfortunately for the embattled Holder, Gosar was only relaying the thoughts of his state's law enforcement community. While Holder's lawyers were vetting his letter for release, ten Arizona sheriffs -- five Democrats and five Republicans -- came together to call the gun-walking operations "a betrayal of state law enforcement." The sheriffs demanded President Obama appoint a special counsel to investigate, and stated bluntly that Attorney General Holder should resign or be fired. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu stated:
We want to get to the bottom of this. One, to find out what truly happened, and two, to ensure this never happens again. This is not political. This is a public safety issue, this is a threat against our deputies and local officers, not only in Arizona but across the Southwest.
It was an earlier statement by Babeu and cited by Rep. Gosar that Holder criticized:
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu recently pointed out: “If somebody gives a gun to somebody knowing they’re going to commit murder, guess what we call them? ... We call them accomplices.”
Holder no doubt chose to castigate the congressman instead of the front-line law enforcement officers who are our soldiers in this conflict against the very narco-terrorists Holder's Department has allegedly armed in ten cities in five states with enough weapons to arm a U.S. Army division.
As part of his constant effort to impose gun control, Holder also tried to claim, as other Democrats have, that current laws are insufficient to stop weapons trafficking and that "penalties for straw purchasers are inadequate."
Someone should tell him about a long-running program called Don't Lie For The Other Guy, a joint effort of his own ATF and the National Shooting Sports Foundation that reminds straw purchasers that buying a weapon for someone you know can't legally get a gun could get you ten years in prison.
Or was that in another memo he didn't read?
Also read: Dems Abandoning Ship?