An independent Justice Department watchdog is probing allegations that President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, B. Todd Jones, improperly retaliated against a whistle-blower while working in his current job as a federal prosecutor in Minnesota.
Carolyn N. Lerner, the head of the Office of Special Counsel, wrote in an April 12 letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that her office has launched an investigation into allegations that Jones retaliated against a subordinate while working as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, a position he has held since August 2009. Jones has worked simultaneously as the ATF’s acting director since August 2011.
[UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Come, I will conceal nothing from you: it’s been a rotten week (the whole family’s been down with colds, which is precisely as much fun as it sounds when your youngest is two and a half). Retail therapy would be nice: hit the tip jar to the side and I promise to spend it on wargame miniatures.]
This is going to be a very visual post, and, as usual, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney provides little if any actual semantic content, so I will simply summarize each video. First off, we have the standard obfuscation:
You know, Eric Holder… you better hope President Obama has you on his short list for pardons. Or that the President is even ready to put such a list together. But, hey, thanks for the material! The House is going to love having it.
PS: Actually, AG Holder, what makes people tired with Washington DC is seeing partisan officials ignore the deaths of hundreds of people that took place as a direct result of those officials’ partisan domestic policies. Even if the dead people are Mexicans.
The Obama administration – in the form of Attorney General Eric Holder – admitted today in Congressional testimony that Operation Fast & Furious program was ‘reckless,’ and will likely end up getting even more people killed.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-TX: Would you agree that this operation was reckless? It was a reckless operation on the part of the United States?
Attorney General Eric Holder: I mean, I think that the way that it was carried out I’d certainly say it was flawed, reckless, yeah I’d probably agree with that. I mean it was done inappropriately, and has had tragic consequences and is going – as I’ve said in my opening statement – it’s going to continue to have tragic consequences…
Rep. Poe: More people are going to die? Probably?
AG Holder: Unfortunately, I think that that’s probably true.
(Via Instapundit) For those needing background: “F&F” is Operation Fast & Furious, which is an Obama-era operation in which guns were actively allowed to cross over the border (without any attempt to track them) and illegally resold to Mexican narco-terrorists, without the permission (or even the awareness) of the Mexican government. “OWR” is Operation Wide Receiver, which was a Bush-era operation where rather less guns were allowed to cross over the border to be resold to Mexican narco-terrorists; in stark contrast, the government did atttempt to track the guns and did keep the Mexican government in the loop. Despite this, Democratic partisans have attempted to paint these two operations as identical.
This gambit has now been neatly scuppered, thanks to Senator John Cornyn’s (R, TX) getting Attorney General Holder on the record about this, once and for all.
You should be able to listen in via here: the program is Cam & Co., which starts at 9 PM EST and goes on until midnight. I should be on some time after 10 PM.
Meanwhile: Attorney General Eric Holder is very upset:
In his most forceful criticism of Republicans during his time as attorney general, Holder said that he had said little so far about the gun-smuggling probe because the Justice Department inspector general is investigating it but that he could not sit idly by while a Republican congressman suggested that law enforcement and government employees be considered accessories to murder.
Actually, ‘sitting idly by’ would be a bit of an improvement there, Mister Attorney General. For that matter, ‘sitting idly by’ is more or less the basic defense that Holder is trying to make in the first place: to wit, that the Attorney General had not lied when he falsely claimed that he was unaware of Operation Fast & Furious* before April of 2011 or so. Apparently, Holder had somehow missed the import of multiple memos from July 2010 that spelled out that the operation involved straw purchasers who were “responsible for the purchase of 1500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels;” it’s an interesting thing to see a Cabinet official attempt to make the argument that he’s too intellectually incurious to be guilty of perjury, but I guess that you have to play the hand that you’re dealt.
Fox News has the basic story, which goes as follows: an agent of the BATFE was ordered to go and buy six Draco semi-automatic pistols from gun shops. Those guns were then resold to “known illegal buyers:” i.e., people known to resell guns illegally. So far, this is not actually bad, because this would be how standard sting operations go… except that they didn’t arrest the buyers immediately. Which makes… sense, right, because Dracos are legal-to-own guns in the USA; so the BATFE would just have to keep a constant watch on the guns to make sure that they didn’t miss it when the bad guys tried to smuggle the guns out of the country – no, wait, it’s reported that ATF group supervisor David Voth ordered that there be no 24 hour surveillance. Well. Good thing that Agent John Dodson ignored that order and did a personal stakeout of the bad guys for six days, huh? Because he was there when they moved out with the guns! He was able to call in a request for an interdiction team!
UPDATE: Carol Greenberg of Conservative Outlooks – who was on the original call – reported that Issa did not quite call for a special prosecutor. This may be a nuance issue on Issa’s part: I was not able to participate in this particular call myself, so I couldn’t say authoritatively.
Yes, my brothers and sisters: it’s that magical time in an administration where the old tradition is observed of cursing Jimmy Carter’s bones and liver for signing the Independent Counsel Act. Because Darrell Issa called for a special prosecutor earlier this week:
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa on Tuesday called for a special prosecutor to investigate the growing “Fast and Furious” scandal, in which the Obama administration allowed guns to walk to Mexico, where they fell into the hands of drug lords and were found at the murder scene of at least one U.S. border agent.
Issa complained in a conference call that, “there is ongoing cover up of a pattern of wrongdoing that can’t be explained by any ordinary people (who tried) to do the right thing but made a mistake.”