Belmont Club

The Lid Goes On

Attorney General Eric Holder responded in a letter to Congress saying that his testimony before them denying he had any knowledge of operation “Fast and Furious” was truthful. “Fast and Furious” is a program which apparently funneled guns from the US to Mexican drug cartels with the knowledge of the BATF. Holder implied that he was not told of the program by his subordinates and therefore really did not know. CBS News reports:

The Attorney General says that while he was sent received memos on Fast and Furious, they are “actually provided to and reviewed by members of my staff and the staff of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.”

Some of those who kept him in the dark apparently include officials close to Holder. The CBS story continues.

As CBS News has reported, the Deputy Attorney General during Fast and Furious, Gary Grindler is now Holder’s Chief of Staff. Documents provided to Congress indicate Grindler received a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious in March of 2010 and made handwritten notes on briefing materials.

However, in the letter, Holder says Grindler “was not told of the unacceptable tactics employed in the operation in his regular monthly meetings with ATF…”

“I now understand some senior officials within the Department were aware at the time there was an operation called Fast and Furious although they were not advised of the unacceptable operational tactics being used in it,” says Holder’s letter.

Holder took a high hand and declared himself outraged, outraged — that the integrity of his men should be impugned, saying he cannot sit idly by “as law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered ‘accessories to murder’.”

Fox says Holder accused critics of using “irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric” and insisted that his statements have been “truthful and accurate.”

“I have no recollection of knowing about ‘Fast and Furious’ or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it,” Holder wrote in a letter to congressional leaders Friday. “Prior to early 2011, I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation.”

President Obama, speaking at a White House news conference, denied that either he or Holder were aware of the controversial program. The Los Angeles Times says “President Obama insists neither he nor Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. knew federal ATF agents were permitting illegal gun purchases on the Southwest border, even as Republican lawmakers released new documents showing the attorney general was given general briefings on the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.”

In the press conference, the President also referred to the Solyndra debacle while speaking of “Fast and Furious”.  While the President expressed a steely determination to get to the bottom of the swamp and expressed complete confidence in both Holder and the internal investigation which is now taking place,  it was apparent that the President and the Attorney General were feeling the tide of scandal which had finally risen from the lower decks beginning to lap around their knees.

“I have complete confidence in him,” Obama said of Holder. “And I’ve got complete confidence in the process to figure out who, in fact, was responsible for that decision [to launch Fast and Furious] and how it got made.”

Ten Arizona sheriffs have petitioned the President to initiate an independent investigation “and for Attorney General Eric Holder to step down or be fired. They also said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ 2009 operation, known as ‘Fast and Furious,’ was a betrayal of state law enforcement.” Congress was also pressing for an independent counsel.

Michael Walsh, writing in the NY Post says that the Justice Department is in a ‘panic’. “Sources inside Justice say, are folks there engaging in a panicked orgy of finger-pointing and blame-shifting … A trial balloon has reportedly been floated within Justice to essentially eliminate the ATF by firing 450 agents and transferring the embattled agency’s duties to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI.”  But Walsh thinks the administration will attempt to bury the scandal nonetheless and began working on the “unreasonable” media outlets to get them to toe the line.

On the Laura Ingraham radio show yesterday, Attkisson told of being “yelled at” by Justice flack Tracy Schmaler and being “screamed” at by White House official Eric Schultz for being “unfair.”

Said Attkisson: “They will tell you that I’m the only reporter — as they told me — that is not reasonable. They say The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.”

CBS has reportedly yanked Attkisson from further media appearances this week. But isn’t independent inquiry the function of a free press? Nobody thought there was a story in Watergate, either, until Woodward and Bernstein proved otherwise. …

With the 2012 elections looming, the chances of Holder’s appointing a special prosecutor to investigate himself are slim and none. The Obama administration will bury the scandal — unless the media and public demand otherwise.

If the recent Wall Street demonstrations and the Presidents proposals to raise taxes to force more taxpayers to “give back” what they owe ‘fairness’ are any indication, the Obama camp has decided to take a hard line. He is denying everything and going on the attack. The President is going left and staying there, including circling the wagons around Holder.

That extreme positioning makes it hard for “the media” to press Obama very hard, for by placing himself in a position where the media must be either for him or against him, the “Hope and Change” program is entirely in their hands. It will be the ‘fault of the media’ if the progressive agenda stalls now, and Obama knows how hard it will be for liberals to commit that large a betrayal. They must either let him pass or watch him fall, possibly taking them with him.

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