DOJ Handling of Fast and Furious Aftermath Was So Bad, They Have Now Resorted to the Unthinkable: Full Disclosure
Now that it has become abundantly clear that President Obama’s Department of Justice
lied was inaccurate to Congress in its formal statement about Operation Fast and Furious, DOJ has taken the unusual step of up-ending their internal correspondence box on the matter. (Naturally, they did so Friday – that being the best day, media-attention-wise, to break … er, awkward information.)
The department turned over 1,364 pages of material after concluding “that we will make a rare exception to the department’s recognized protocols and provide you with information related to how the inaccurate information came to be included in the letter,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is looking into the Obama administration’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious.
In one of the e-mail exchanges highlighted by the AP, DOJ officials and staffers appear to be discussing, not whether but to what extent, they should shade the truth in the February statement to Senator Chuck Grassley – a statement which the DOJ has now formally withdrawn as it contains “inaccurate information”.
[ then-U.S. Attorney Dennis] Burke’s information was followed by a three-day struggle in which officials in the office of the deputy attorney general, the criminal division and the ATF came up with what turned out to be an inaccurate response to Grassley’s assertions.
The process became so intensive that Breuer aide Jason Weinstein emailed his boss, “The Magna Carta was easier to get done than this was.” A copy of the latest draft was attached to the emails.
Initial drafts of the letter reflected the hard tone of Burke’s unequivocal assertions that the allegations Grassley was hearing from ATF agents were wrong. Later drafts were more measured, prompting Burke to complain in one email: “Every version gets weaker. We will be apologizing” to Grassley “by tomorrow afternoon.” Regarding the allegation that ATF sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser, the Justice Department denial was scaled back slightly from “categorically false” to “false.” ”Why poke the tiger,” Lisa Monaco, the top aide to the deputy attorney general, explained …
Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify in front of Congress this Thursday. Presumably, this was another impetus for yesterday’s document dump: better to get all of this ickiness out now at arms length from the AG as opposed to extracted detail by excrutiating detail from the AG himself.
Now the question is, what will the AG say to the House committee on Thursday? Is he going to cast all responsibility onto his lieutenants and subordinates? Is he going to stick to the hilarious line that he doesn’t read some or all of the memos prepared for him? Is he going to persist in blaming the Daily Caller for his travails???
Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.
As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.
Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”
By the way, don’t miss the picture in that last link. (It has also, delightfully, spent the last thirity six plus hours on the front page of Drudge.) Has Mr. Holder ever gotten that finger-pointingly-peeved with a bad guy? Or does he reserve such ire for members of the press doing their job?