‘Gunwalker’ Scandal and the Case for Impeaching Holder
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.
This March, Sarah Brady, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said that Obama told her in a private meeting how gun control was “very much on his agenda”:
"I just want you to know that we are working on it," Brady recalled the president telling them. "We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."
The Obama administration may still benefit from Gunwalker. While current ATF chief Kenneth Melson is expected to resign, his replacement is likely worse. Obama originally nominated Andrew Traver to head ATF. Traver has a history of supporting the worst forms of gun control, and will likely replace Melson.
The NRA strongly opposes President Obama’s nomination of Andrew Traver as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Traver has been deeply aligned with gun control advocates and anti-gun activities….
Traver served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) “Gun Violence Reduction Project,” a “partnership” with the Joyce Foundation.
Between 2006 and 2009, the Joyce Foundation gave the IACP $1.2M to organize the Great Lakes Summit on Gun Violence, and to implement their conclusions, which included anti-rights goals like renewing the Clinton gun ban (reduced capacity magazines and banning many long guns) and forcing civilians to store firearms in “safe” facilities. That’s what Traver represents.
Joyce represents a dozen well-heeled directors with a direct connection to Obama, a former Joyce director.
Then there’s the rhetoric that 90% of Mexican cartel firearms came from American retailers (recently changed to 70%). Stratfor details how firearms selection was manipulated by Mexican authorities to ensure that the guns most likely of American origin were submitted for tracing.
Nor does the alleged 70% explain how the guns got to Mexico, since our government provided many to Mexican military and police, in addition to those provided by Gunwalker.
But the administration continues to promote the 90% myth, so what better way to “prove” it than by sending guns south?
Violating the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989
Federal employees who make disclosures…serve the public interest by assisting in the elimination of fraud, waste, abuse, and unnecessary Government expenditures….
The purpose of this Act is to strengthen and improve protection for the rights of Federal employees, to prevent reprisals, and to help eliminate wrongdoing within the Government…
ATF Agent Dodson testified that he was removed from the ATF Phoenix Group VII because he complained about allowing straw buyers to transport guns into Mexico.
One day after Congressman Issa warned ATF not to retaliate, they fired Special Agent Vince Cefalu, 30-year veteran and long-time ATF critic.
Again, giving Holder the benefit of the doubt: “A person who is unaware of the crime before it takes place, but who helps in the aftermath of the crime, is referred to as an ‘accessory after the fact.’” However, elements of criminal intent have appeared.
The White House claims it’s “committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.” Yet when Congressman Darrell Issa subpoenaed DOJ for Gunwalker documents, he received pages so redacted their bodies are solid black.
From the congressional report:
The Department of Justice has repeatedly and steadfastly denied that any guns were walked under Operation Fast and Furious. According to the narrowest possible interpretation, a gun is walked only when an ATF agent physically places an AK-47 into the hands of a straw purchaser and then lets that straw purchaser walk out of sight.
This rationalizing hearkens back to Clinton’s “the meaning of is” grand jury testimony.
The Constitution empowers Congress to impeach federal officials. From Article 2, Section 4:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Three attorneys general have been impeached; two resigned as a result.
There appears to be enough evidence to impeach Holder for incompetence, violation of federal law, and accessory to murder.