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  • Fast and Furious: Where Was the Leadership at the Department of Justice?

    On Monday, Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R–IA) released Part II of their promised three-part report titled Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation.

    As described in a Heritage Legal Memorandum, Part I focused on the involvement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran the operation from its Phoenix bureau. It contained a compelling narrative regarding this botched law enforcement operation, especially the lack of serious supervision of some terrible on-the-ground decisions that had deadly consequences, including the fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

    Part II concludes that several high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) officials failed to ask rudimentary questions or react to the numerous red flags that should have been evident to anyone who was paying attention that Operation Fast and Furious had come off the rails and needed to be shut down immediately.

    The officials singled out for criticism include Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer (who heads the Criminal Division), acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler (now chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Holder), Deputy Chief of Staff to the Attorney General Robert “Monty” Wilkinson, Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed Siskel, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein (who recently resigned).

    As detailed in DOJ’s inspector general’s report and by Univision, approximately 2,000 high-powered weapons were purchased by straw purchasers (individuals who pretend to purchase firearms for themselves but are instead purchasing them illegally for someone else) destined for Mexico, where they ended up in the hands of the drug cartels who used them, predictably enough, to devastating effect to commit murder and mayhem.

    Despite the plethora of warning signs, it seems that nobody considered it his job to supervise or interfere with a “local” operation, even though the federal agents in charge of this investigation had shown poor judgment with respect to an earlier operation in which a large number of guns “walked” into Mexico.

    On July 4, 2011, acting ATF director Ken Melson, a career prosecutor who was being muzzled by senior DOJ officials, took the extraordinary step of meeting in secret with congressional investigators. On that occasion, he told them:

    My view is that the whole matter of the Department’s response in this case was a disaster. That as a result, it came to fruition that the committee staff had to be more aggressive and assertive in attempting to get information from the Department, and as a result, there was more adverse publicity towards ATF than was warranted if we had cooperated from the very beginning. And a lot of what they did was damage control after a while. Their position on things changed weekly and it was hard for us to catch up on it, but it was very clear that they were running the show.

    The DOJ would have been, and still would be, better served by being completely forthcoming about what happened. The family of Brian Terry as well as the families of those who lost their lives in Mexico (not to mention the victims yet to come) at the hands of thugs using Fast and Furious weapons deserve nothing less.

    As of this date, however, President Obama continues to assert his broad claim of executive privilege over many of the documents that Congress has subpoenaed from DOJ. Indeed, the DOJ is asserting weak legal arguments in court in an attempt to keep those documents from seeing the light of day.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Fast and Furious: Where Was the Leadership at the Department of Justice?

    1. Bobbie says:

      Does anyone consider the endless opportunities this administration is given to be truthful but hides by abuse of executive privilege? Pleads the 5th? Why isn't executive privilege omitted altogether regarding policies that result in tragedy in government control? We have a right to know who's running this country when this avoidable occurrence has killed lives that effected America, Mexico and families where truth is demanded, anything less unacceptable and reprimand assured. Another impeachable offense! The man and his team is not the reflection of strong, honorable American leadership of the past. More corrupting then the worst!

    2. Erik Osbun says:

      Fast and Furious is yet another example of the Obama administration breaking the law. They should be removed from office and prosecuted.

    3. Larry says:

      A few statements and then a couple of questions:
      S1. The government of Mexico was not notified before F&F was put into operation
      S2. A couple thousand guns placed into the hands of drug cartels
      S3. Two dead American federal agents
      S4. Hundreds of dead Mexican citizens
      Q1. What administration was responsible for implementing F&F?
      Q2. Who are you going to vote for on next Tuesday?

    4. Bobbie says:

      and isn't it funny the commander in chief and all his followers show such concern when disasters occur within natures' control yet they lie, mislead, distort and confuse matters within their control that results in abhorrent deaths the commander in chief and his fellow chiefs, answers with deceit? Now Benghazi? There's a definite lack or zero honor, integrity, dignity, respect, discipline prominent in democratic leadership that no people deserve to be led by! They're shameful and cruel to humanity and especially to their unwillingness to do their job responsibly and respectfully but oppose their expected duty to intentionally put people in harms way! "when it's a disaster no man can control, we will leave no man behind. But we'll leave anyone behind we choose when it's in our control?" That's real special, isn't it? And he wants to control our health? Arrests please. They have to face their crime and pay their debt to society in many ways!! NO EXCEPTIONS in these matters controlled by government paid by obligating the people! CORRECTIONS!!!!

    5. Jack Berry says:

      Fast & furious and the atack on the second amendment is what this was about .

    6. Lynn Lankford says:

      Unconscionable and Disgusting, first Fast and Furious, now Benghazi, they all need to be Fired!!!! and Prosecuted but the Liberal Media doesn’t care. Vote out then Prosecute

    7. penelope misner says:

      Between Fast and Furious and the Benghazi cover-up Obama and his entire administration should be brought up on charges of treason.

    8. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      If Obama wins next week (gulp), he will assert EP as long as politically possible and then grant pardons.

      If he loses next week, he will just grant pardons on 01/20/13.

      The only way to see some justice done here is to vote them out next week. That would be good enough for me.

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