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Finally, when two rifles sold to a smuggler in the course of Operation Fast and Furious ended up at the scene of Brian Terry’s murder in December 2010, the lid on the secret operation blew open. It was revealed to the public in January 2011 and suspended in early 2011.
1,430 guns remain on the streets.
When congressional committees in the House and Senate began inquiring in early 2011 into the Fast and Furious operation following the death of Brian Terry, the Justice Department’s first response was to deny in writing that it ever allowed any guns to “walk” across the Mexican border. That turned out to be false. The Justice Department later withdrew its letter.
On March 22, 2011, President Obama was asked about Operation Fast and Furious on Univision.
“Well, first of all, I did not authorize it,” Obama told Univision. “Eric Holder, the attorney general, did not authorize it. There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made. If that’s the case, then we’ll find– find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”
Univision has now reported the truly horrific impact of the Fast and Furious fiasco on innocent Mexican citizens who lost their lives by gunmen armed with Fast and Furious weapons. Dozens, if not more, including many innocent children, were murdered with weapons sold by our government through intermediaries to drug cartels without the means to carefully track and control the flow. Brian Terry is dead, and his family still is waiting for a truthful explanation of the role that Operation Fast and Furious may have played in his death.
Yet Holder continues to stonewall Congress in its investigation of what went wrong with the operation, refusing to turn over thousands of pages of documents. Holder is relying on spurious executive privilege grounds asserted by President Obama, who had promised Univision that he would make sure to “hold somebody accountable.”
Holder believes that a recently released report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, “exonerates” or “clears” him from being held accountable for what happened. While it is true the Inspector General report did indicate that Holder was not informed of Operation Fast and Furious until February 2011, that does not relieve Holder of responsibility both for the incredible mismanagement under his watch and the obstruction of the investigations that followed.
“We found, as we outlined in the report, we struggle to understand how an operation of this size, of this importance, that impacted another country like it did, could not have been briefed up to the attorney general of the United States,” Horowitz said. “It should have been, in our view. It was that kind of a case.”
This is especially true in light of Holder’s personal promise in his 2009 speech at the Mexico/United States Arms Trafficking Conference to put “the resources in place to increase our attack on arms trafficking into Mexico.” Instead, on his watch, the Justice Department’s ATF greatly increased the arms trafficking into Mexico with deadly consequences.
Just as is the case with its dissembling about the Benghazi terrorist attack, the Obama administration is in full cover-up mode. Attorney General Eric Holder should be held accountable at minimum for running an incredibly mismanaged department in which he was not kept informed about an operation with far-reaching impacts on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. In addition, Holder continues to obstruct the legitimate oversight activities of Congress.
It is long past the time that Attorney General Holder resign or be asked to leave.
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