I’m not sure why I missed this at the time – the letter’s dated June 20th – but it’s official: “the NRA will consider this vote in [their] candidate evaluations.” That doesn’t guarantee a contempt charge passing the House, but only because a contempt charge was already guaranteed. For all the loose and charged rhetoric going around, if Speaker Boehner wasn’t going to let Oversight Chair Issa go forward with this it wouldn’t have gone forward, and Boehner wouldn’t have let this gone forward if the votes weren’t there in the first place. What this does guarantee is that a lot of the House Democrats who bitterly cling to their high NRA scores like so many floatation devices are now going to have to choose what’s more important; the President, or their own careers. Jim Matheson of Utah is merely the first to break under the strain (via Hot Air). Seeing who else similarly back-stabs the President tomorrow should be entertaining. Continue reading Reminder: the NRA will score Holder contempt vote.
…only, it’s not really one. It’s a press conference about Project Gunrunner, which was/is our general program for stopping illegal weapons traffic to Mexico. If you watch the video, you’ll see that they’re talking about tracing the guns (Operation Fast & Furious did not), coordinating with the Mexican authorities (Operation Fast & Furious did not), and generally maintaining government oversight over the entire operation (if you believe the administration, Operation Fast & Furious did not). Not really the same thing, in other words. Continue reading The non-smoking gun Operation Fast & Furious video.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa has circulated a lengthy pair of documents making the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his “refusal” to cooperate in an investigation of the ill-fated Fast and Furious operation.
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Thursday sent to every member of his committee a 64-page draft contempt order against Holder, as well as a 17-page memo outlining the history of the scandal.
If you don’t have time to read it, let me summarize: Eric Holder’s Justice Department’s attempts to utterly stonewall Congress’s investigation of Operation Fast & Furious has been done in a fashion that would, if done by any organization not aligned with the Obama administration, result in a series of raids and subpoenas by the Justice Department. The entire structure is rotten, from the top down, and Congress is rapidly approaching the point where criminal contempt citations of top officials (including the Attorney General) will be issued. Historically, that’s the point where the executive branch throws in its cards and goes along with the legislative branch.
But let me add this: I am not actually confident that Attorney General Holder and President Obama realize that they’re over a barrel, here. I know that a lot of people have been impatiently waiting for this story to hit the front page, stinks and all, but good scandals take time to ferment. If Congress is going to issue contempt citations because the Justice Department won’t give up documents, and if the administration lets them go through with it, there is absolutely no way that the media won’t go on a full-court press about the Attorney General being held in contempt by Congress. And before anybody thinks that this will be a net positive for the administration, let me remind you of something: people died because of administration incompetence, and the administration then tried to cover it up. That makes this particular scandal quite a bit different than just about every other Washingtonian scandal of the last forty years.
And here’s the transcript, just to reinforce the point:
Congressman: Do you believe the program was a mistake?
Holder: I think it was a good, it was a bad attempt at trying to deal with a very pernicious problem where guns are flowing from the United States to Mexico. It was, in its execution, in its conception, it was fundamentally flawed. But, I understand what they were trying to do, but it just did it extremely, extremely poorly.
Congressman: If you had a chance to do it over again, would continue the program or would you have eliminated it before they proceeded?
Holder: I certainly would have modified the program. I mean, allowing guns to walk is a procedure that doesn’t work, it’s bad law enforcement. I think that is the heart of the problem with regard to Fast and Furious. On the other hand, coming up with ways to stop the flow of guns from the United States to Mexico, we need to be aggressive, we need to be creative, and we need to help our Mexican counterparts to the extent that we can.
There’s been a lot of commentary, obviously, about the information found in the latest Department of Justice Friday afternoon email dump with regards to the administration’s catastrophic Operation Fast & Furious. For those who need a reminder, OF&F was a program by which political appointees in the Obama administration ignored federal rules and basic common sense in order to facilitate the illegal resale of firearms to Mexican narco-terrorist groups. This was not done so much without proper safeguards as it was done with essentially no safeguards at all; and the program only stopped when OF&F guns appeared at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry’s. Since then, the Justice Department in general – and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular – have been spinning this very much as their careers depended on it, going to far as to claim that they were unaware of the very problem until about the same time that it entered the public consciousness.
These emails contradict that narrative: as of yet, however, they do not convict the Attorney General of being anything except a slack-jawed mouth-breather who was and is so intellectually incurious that he apparently spends his entire work day locked in his office, rocking back and forth on his chair, and humming tunelessly. Or, to break the monotony, occasionally drool.
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.
To give a quick background: Operation Fast & Furious, of course, was an incredibly botched government program where federal law enforcement agencies handed over firearms willy-nilly to Mexican narco-terrorists and then lost track of the weapons… no, really, that’s what they did, and the next person who comes up with a legitimate and/or sane reason for them doing that will be the first. As you might imagine, Congressional watchdogs – Republican ones; the Democrats are largely hiding from this one – are a bit perturbed about this, not least because it turns out that the Justice Department gave out patently false information when asked about it the first time. Which is to say, DoJ denied that it handed over firearms willy-nilly to Mexican narco-terrorists and then lost track of the weapons.
(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.