Holder’s contempt for House now affirmed – Washington Times

Holder’s contempt for House now affirmed – Washington Times.

Fast and Furious stonewall a result of Team Obama arrogance

By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman – The Washington Times

When the House of Representatives voted 255-67 to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress, Mr. Holder and his Justice Department, surprisingly, wasted no time proving that they have nothing but contempt for the lawmakers who undertook that historic measure.

Justice Department officials quickly announced that there would be no prosecution and that as far as they were concerned, no crime had been committed. Mr. Holder, his agency and by proxy, the Obama White House, thumbed its collective nose at Congress, and particularly at the family of a slain Border Patrol agent, who are still waiting for answers about his murder.

How ironic that an administration that rode into office talking about openness and accountability would slam the door of secrecy on the House investigation of Operation Fast and Furious and – at least, so far – not hold anyone accountable for that disastrous misadventure. By invoking executive privilege rather than release an estimated 1,300 subpoenaed documents to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder have claimed full ownership of a scandal for which previously, they had plausibly denied any direct responsibility.

Can it be anything but 100-proof arrogance that now has the attorney general – the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the nation – hiding behind the president’s executive shield and his own department’s indifference to place himself essentially above the law? The Justice Department has treated House Oversight Committee members like lepers, while not removing a single individual responsible for Fast and Furious from the government payroll. Justice took a quick glance at the House vote and blew it off. All these things taken in total reflect a contemptuous indifference toward an equal branch of government that has a job to do.

At the heart of this scandal is an inconvenient truth: Agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) embraced an investigative technique that was disastrous, and they knew it. Had this been a completely private enterprise that was uncovered, those responsible might have already gone before a grand jury, with possible indictments and convictions. Instead, the people most closely associated with Fast and Furious are still receiving paychecks.

Back in 2009, Mr. Holder and others in the Obama administration were sharply critical of “weak” gun laws that they blamed for contributing to Mexico’s mayhem. Gun dealers, gun shows and private citizens making perfectly legal transactions got the blame.

Revelations from the investigation – conducted primarily by online journalists, CBS and Fox News – have vindicated these traditional whipping boys. But gun owners deserve to know who approved this fiasco and then let them take the rap.

When Operation Fast and Furious began disintegrating following the December 2010 slaying of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the Arizona desert, it was revealed that law-abiding gun dealers had raised red flags. They had been told to complete transactions they believed to be linked to gun smuggling. ATF agents were allegedly told to “stand down” rather than interdict weapons.

When Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley began inquiries, the Justice Department lied to him in a letter that has since been retracted because of “inaccuracies.” When the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation, they were stonewalled. Now, after the House contempt vote, Mr. Holder and the Justice Department are telling Capitol Hill and the American people that we have no right to know what has been done in our name, using our tax money.

The people do have a right to know, especially from an administration touting itself as the “most transparent” in our history, and we need to know now, not after the November election.

Alan Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Dave Workman is communications director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Eric Holder’s Tangled Web of Deception – Lurita Doan – Townhall.com

Eric Holder’s Tangled Web of Deception – Lurita Doan – Townhall.com.

How disheartening to watch U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder maneuver, spin, duck, dodge and dissemble.  Perhaps Holder still clings to the notion that he is serving the country and protecting the President, but his actions have pushed him well beyond that high ground.  Even Democrat leaders in congress, long-time Holder allies who long ago stopped thinking for themselves and who now resemble crazed wildebeests lost in their blind stampede against Republicans, are having doubts.  

During three years at Justice, Attorney General Holder has told too many tales, ducked accountability too many times and has too-often clung to the tattered banner of racist assertions.  

Americans have watched this recent Team Obama drama unfold over the past two years as the Attorney General initially claimed no knowledge of the Fast & Furious operation, then admitted limited knowledge but no direct involvement, to his recent assertion of Executive Privilege, implying that not only is Holder involved, but that the President is also.  

Holder’s Fast & Furious story has changed so often, and usually after additional scrutiny is applied, that the Justice Department’s credibility and Holder’s has been shredded.  The credibility of the Justice Department to is further eroded by the latest round of comical maneuvering by the President to assert Executive Privilege  to protect deliberations between the Attorney General and the President regarding an operation about which they both claim they knew nothing.  That Holder and Obama expect Americans to believe such contradictory posturings boggle the mind.  

Now, right on cue, the Democrat leadership wildebeests stampede to the next waterhole by crying GOP anti-Holder “racism”, when explaining congress’ motive in finding Eric Holder guilty of contempt of congress.    Haven’t Americans had enough of that old saw?  And doesn’t a 258 vote for with only 95 against disprove the “racism” claims?

Let’s look at some facts.

AG Holder has testified that he cannot provide the documents requested by Congress regarding Fast & Furious and the death of Border Agent, Brian Terry, because they are considered too “sensitive” to share with Congress.  

How ironic that the White House and DoJ see no commensurate sensitivity preventing them from revealing the identity of an informer who aided the United States, providing data that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.  Eric Holder, the Department of Justice and the White House, are awfully quick to release sensitive information that might imprison and ultimately kill a potential ally if the politics suggest a small bump in the polls might be gained.

Nor is that all.  We have seen details of secret operations leaked by the White House, methods and sources coughed up that our intelligence experts say will set back our nation’s ability for the next ten years.  And yet, Holder urges Americans to look away; nothing untoward is happening here he says, as he urges all Americans to join the unthinking, Democrat wildebeests and keep moving along.  

AG Holder also tells Americans that the House Oversight Committee’s inquiry into Fast & Furious is a waste of time, a waste of taxpayer money, and that there is more important work that the Department of Justice needs to be doing.

Right.  Consider this: assisting congress’ investigation into the Fast & Furious debacle, which led to the death of an American border agent and the placement of thousands of assault weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, is a waste of the government’s time?  However, spending three and a half year and almost $100 million taxpayer dollars building a twice-failed case against baseball legend, Roger Clemens, was a better use of DoJ time, energy and tax payer dollars?  Go figure.

The Department of Justice doesn’t have time to investigate and to prosecute with rigor social security disability fraud either, even though it costs our nation almost $200 billion dollars annually in wrongful payments.

Then there is the special case of Scott Bloch, former head of the Office of Special Counsel.   Americans may have forgotten Scott Bloch; the Department of Justice certainly hopes they have.  Bloch was the fellow that unscrupulous Democrat leaders in congress once depended upon to serve up juicy morsels of scandal and alleged misdeeds within the Bush Administration.  Democrats quoted him often, the New York Times and Washington Post rushed editorials.  Then, the FBI raided his office and discovered that he had lied to Congress and had constructed an elaborate disinformation campaign to falsely discredit others.

To cover his tracks, Bloch paid ‘Geeks on Call’ to erase government computers and asked his chums to post blog reports, masquerading as wounded warriors to try and settle scores and sway public opinion.   Bloch was, quite frankly, a real piece of work, who was finally caught after a long run and was forced to plead guilty to lying to Congress back in 2008.   For the past several years, Holder’s Justice Department has helped Bloch escape all responsibility for lying to Congress and falsifying government reports, accepting stall after stall, as Bloch attempts to avoid the mandatory jail term and fine associated with his misdeeds.  

Seemingly, under AG Holder, the Department of Justice is not so much interested in facts and justice, but rather is wholly consumed with political tradeoffs and calculations.  

Justice for those that help the political fortunes of Mr. Holder, and his allies, is far different from the justice others can expect.    

Of course, no description of just how Mr. Holder’s DoJ carefully selects investigations to coincide with the political benefits derived can be complete without a mention of the two Black Panthers swinging night sticks at potential voters at a voting precinct in Philadelphia in 2008.   

Holder’s Justice Department doesn’t have time to investigate that that kind of voter intimidation, but, instead, is now mobilizing huge resources and millions of taxpayer funds to prevent states such as Florida from updating voter lists by removing the people that have died, Mickey Mouse, and countless others that had been added to the voter rolls by fraudsters like ACORN.   

Perhaps Americans should admit that Justice, under Eric Holder’s leadership, is both arbitrary and dangerous, and is neither fair nor swift.  Democrat party leaders crying “racism” is demeaning and shameful and is nothing but a poor attempt to intimidate Congressman Darryl Issa and the House Oversight Committee into silence.

Americans should also understand that holding Holder in contempt of congress is important for what it represents.  First, the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch are supposed to work for the same goal—the good of the American people.  There should be truth between the two branches. So the contempt charge proves that our Founding Father’s system of checks and balances does work.

Second, in voting 258 – 95, Congress seems to be saying that under Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, the law is not being applied fairly or equally, and that the decisions, at the highest level, of what Department of Justice and Team Obama considers “transparent” and time-worthy is capricious, vindictive and politically motivated.  Congress seems to be saying that Americans deserve better—and we do.

EDITORIAL: Holder: The case for contempt – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Holder: The case for contempt – Washington Times.

Attorney general must sleep in bed he made

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on a contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. This unprecedented action has been made necessary by the Obama administration’s consistent refusal to reveal the whole truth about the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation and the cover-up that followed.

The contempt citation is over Mr. Holder’s failure to comply with an Oct. 12 subpoena from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for documents necessary for Congress to fulfill its investigative function. The records in question do not deal with the Fast and Furious operation per se but with the Obama administration’s response to the investigation, the alleged retaliation and punishment of whistleblowers, and – most importantly – potential evidence of an organized and conscious effort to deceive investigators and lie to Congress.

Throughout the inquest, Mr. Holder has exhibited a pattern of at best, misstatement, and at worst, outright deception. On Feb. 4, 2011, he provided a letter to Congress that denied Fast and Furious allowed illegally bought weapons to cross into Mexico. This claim was later retracted in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. On May 3, 2011, Mr. Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know who approved Fast and Furious and that he had no knowledge of the operation before the investigations began. In October, however, it was documented that Mr. Holder had been sent briefings on Fast and Furious in July 2010. He again had to correct the record. Meanwhile, Justice Department employees who had been involved in Fast and Furious were subjected to what appeared to be retaliatory personnel actions for whistle-blowing activities.

The documents the committee has subpoenaed relate to Mr. Holder’s contradictory assertions and the internal communications that led to him changing his account of his personal knowledge of Fast and Furious. The fact that these are deliberative documents is the basis for the White House claim of executive privilege, which arrived shortly before the committee voted to recommend the contempt citation last week. But deliberations cannot be privileged when they are at the center of the case. If any such privilege ever existed, it was nullified when Mr. Holder began radically changing his story. This made the documents fair game because they represent the only available means to validate Mr. Holder’s version of events.

The executive-privilege defense is contradictory. On the same day Mr. Holder offered the committee a “fair compilation” of the subpoenaed documents in exchange for calling off the contempt vote, he appealed to the White House to extend executive privilege to avoid “significant, damaging consequences” should the documents be released. This calls into question how fair the compilation would have been in the first place and reinforces congressional concerns about the nature of the information in the withheld documents.

The privilege claim also widens the circle of the inquiry by implying that President Obama or his immediate staff was involved in the Fast and Furious operation, the cover-up, or both. Mr. Obama said on March 23, 2011, that neither he nor Mr. Holder authorized the gun-running operation. The documents in question and others being sought by the committee have a direct bearing on that statement. The stonewalling raises the question whether Mr. Holder has not been trying to protect himself but acting on White House orders to shield Mr. Obama.

This crisis is completely the result of Mr. Holder’s actions – his statements, his reversals and his refusal to produce documents that could potentially vindicate him. The vote is unprecedented, but so is the Obama administration’s degree of contempt for the people’s house.

The Washington Times

Democrats to Defect, Vote for Holder Contempt – Newsmax.com

Democrats to Defect, Vote for Holder Contempt – Newsmax.com.

A rapidly growing number of Democrats are lining up to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on Thursday for withholding documents in the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, a botched sting operation that let guns slip into the hands of drug cartels.

At least five Democrats so far have said they plan to vote to hold Holder in contempt, according to Fox News, and as many as 11 appear ready to break ranks. They include Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga, Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.

“The only way to get to the bottom of what happened is for the Department of Justice to turn over the remaining documents,” said Barrow. “We can work together to ensure this tragedy never happens again.”

Federal agents allowed 2,500 firearms to be illegally purchased on the Southwest border. Two of the guns were recovered when U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010.

“The Terry family, the public and Congress deserve answers,” said Matheson, a six-term Democrat from Utah. “Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable. It is a vote I will support.”

The votes are expected hours after the Supreme Court will capture the nation’s attention with its ruling on the legality of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Even without that diversion, the contempt issue throws both parties temporarily off-track in their efforts to focus on the economy in an election year.

There’s little question that Republicans will get the votes they need, not only from their own majority but from Democrats aligned with the National Rifle Association — which has said it’s keeping score.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the longest serving House member and normally an NRA supporter, said Wednesday he would not back the contempt resolutions but instead wants the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to conduct a more thorough investigation.

The criminal contempt resolution would send the matter to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who is under Holder. The civil contempt resolution would allow the House to go to court in an effort to force Holder to turn over documents the Oversight committee wants. In past cases, courts have been reluctant to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government.

The House is unlikely to get the documents anytime soon, because President Barack Obama has invoked a broad form of executive privilege, which protects from disclosure internal documents in executive branch agencies.

In nearly three hours of arguments before the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, Republicans and Democrats squared off with oft-repeated arguments that have turned a major constitutional issue into a political food fight.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and chairman of the Oversight panel, told the Rules Committee that the documents sought were essential to learn who in the administration produced a February, 2011 letter denying that Operation Fast and Furious allowed guns to “walk” from Arizona to Mexico. The Justice Department has already given Issa’s committee 7,600 pages on the operation itself. The documents now sought covered a period after the operation was shut down.

Referring to Justice Department officials, he asked, “When did they know we were lied to and what did they do about it?” It took 10 months before the administration acknowledged the false information. Issa said he had no evidence that Holder knew of the gun-walking tactics.

The ranking Democrat on Issa’s committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, countered, “Why are we rushing” toward the first-ever vote to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt? He said he was certain that the dispute could be worked out.

“It has all the trappings of a witch hunt,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York, the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee. She also said, “I don’t think there’s any way we’re doing justice to Brian Terry with what we’re doing today.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that the public would view the vote as “political theater” and “gamesmanship.”

Carney said the Justice Department and the White House on Tuesday had shown House Republicans a representative sample of the documents they were seeking. He said the administration’s offer would have provided “unprecedented access” to internal communications about how it responded to congressional inquiries into the Fast and Furious program.

Ironically, the documents at the heart of the current argument are not directly related to the workings of Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to “walk” from Arizona to Mexico in hopes they could be tracked. The department has given Issa 7,600 documents on the operation.

Rather, Issa wants internal communications from February 2011, when the administration denied knowledge of gun-walking, to the end of that year, when officials acknowledged the denial was erroneous. Those documents covered a period after Fast and Furious had been shut down.

In Fast and Furious, agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Arizona abandoned the agency’s usual practice of intercepting all weapons they believed to be illicitly purchased. Instead, the goal of gun-walking was to track such weapons to high-level arms traffickers who long had eluded prosecution and to dismantle their networks.

Gun-walking long has been barred by Justice Department policy, but federal agents in Arizona experimented with it in at least two investigations during the George W. Bush administration before Fast and Furious. The agents in Arizona lost track of several hundred weapons in the operation.

Team Obama’s Brother Sharpton Moment – Michelle Malkin – Townhall.com

Team Obama’s Brother Sharpton Moment – Michelle Malkin -Townhall.com.

Attorney General Eric Holder‘s people have no shame. After months of stonewalling, misinformation and petulant disregard for the victims of the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal, President Obama’s Justice Department is hiding behind the most despicable race-card demagogues on the planet. “Post-racial” America never looked so bitter, clingy and cowardly.

At a Tuesday press conference in Washington, D.C., human shield Al Sharpton condemned the upcoming House vote on a contempt motion against Holder as “reckless” and “morally reprehensible.” Yes, the infamous hate-crimes hoaxer, cop-basher and riot incitement specialist is now the self-appointed sheriff of Capitol Hill morality. A Huffington Post report hyping Sharpton’s protection racket decried the contempt citation as an “assault on minority rights.” In typical race-baiting style, Sharpton told the leftwing website: “I’m not saying that this is because Holder is black, and I’m not calling (Republicans) racists. I’m saying what they’re doing has a racial effect.”

Of course Sharpton’s accusing Republicans of racism — and by extension, he’s smearing every American demanding truth and justice in Obama’s bloodiest scandal. That includes the family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose December 2011 death came at the hands of a Mexican thug wielding a Fast and Furious weapon. What about the Mexican government officials left in the dark about the deadly operation? And the hundreds of families of Mexican victims of Fast and Furious-enabled bloodshed? Yes, yes, they are all racists and minority vote suppression advocates, too.

Sharpton forged ahead, comparing the effort to hold Holder accountable for his serial delays and deception to racial profiling. The race-hustling reverend invoked driving-while-black imagery in lambasting the Republican oversight staffers who have “stopped and frisked” Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, “without probable cause” to be “made an example of.”

While he regurgitated DOJ talking points about Holder’s “unprecedented” level of cooperation, Sharpton neglected to mention that the agency has delivered less than 8 percent of the 80,000 documents sought by congressional investigators. He forgot to acknowledge that of the 70 DOJ officials involved in Fast and Furious, 48 have been blocked by DOJ from testifying. He failed to detail the withdrawn Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress falsely denying the existence of Fast and Furious, Holder’s flip-flops over what he knew and when, and Holder’s blame-shifting assertion, withdrawn last week, that falsely accused former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey of being briefed on a separate gunwalking operation.

Lest we forget, the White House’s racial guardian and MSNBC host is the same bigoted clown who manufactured the Tawana Brawley fake hate crime and tried to frame police officers, railed against “Chinamen,” “Greek homos” and “n****rs,” inveighed against Jewish “diamond merchants,” and stoked black mobs at white-owned Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem, which was burned to the ground in 1995 after protesters broke in and gunned down four employees.

Team Obama can no more dissociate itself from Sharpton’s bloody legacy than Sharpton can dissociate himself from his own poisonous tongue. In return for his blind and tireless defense over the past year and a half, Holder has publicly embraced Sharpton and endorsed his toxic racial smokescreen. In April, Holder lavished praise on Sharpton “for your partnership, your friendship and your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless and to shine a light on the problems we must solve and the promises we must fulfill.” Obama himself addressed Sharpton’s spring convention, as did several other Cabinet secretaries. White House visitor logs show more than a dozen entries for “Al Sharpton” or “Alfred Sharpton” over the past three years.

President Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment: a public attempt in 1992 to distance Democrats from radical racial demagoguery. The current White House has turned that centrist maneuver on its head, and American voters of good will shouldn’t forget it. Obama’s Brother Sharpton moment, a calculated deflection from the Fast and Furious scandal, is an unrepentant bear hug of racial extremism. Shame, shame, shame.

Issa: Obama’s privilege claim in ‘Fast and Furious’ suggests complicity – Washington Times

English: Badge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobac...

Issa: Obama’s privilege claim in ‘Fast and Furious’ suggests complicity – Washington Times.

By Jerry Seper and Sean Lengell – The Washington Times

The chairman of a House committee that recommended a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in the Fast and Furious scandal said Tuesday that President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege means the White House is either covering up its role in the botched operation or is obstructing a congressional probe.

“To date, the White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the [Justice] Department with respect to the congressional investigation,” Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, said in a toughly-worded seven-page letter to Mr. Obama.

“The surprising assertion of executive privilege raised the question of whether that is still the case,” he said.

Mr. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also challenged the validity of the privilege claim, saying courts have “consistently held” that executive privilege applies only to documents and communications that involve the president’s decision-making process.

Accordingly, he said, the assertion can only mean that Mr. Obama “or your most senior advisers” were involved in managing the Fast and Furious operation “and the fallout from it,” or the president was acting “solely for the purpose of further obstruction a congressional investigation.”

The committee voted 23-17 last week along party lines to recommend to the full House that Mr. Holder be held in contempt of Congress – an unprecedented move against a sitting attorney general – for refusing to cooperate fully with the probe. The executive privilege assertion came only shortly before the committee was scheduled to vote.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz dismissed the letter, saying Mr. Issa’s analysis of executive privilege had “as much merit as his absurd contention that Operation Fast and Furious was created in order to promote gun control.” He said the privilege claim was consistent with executive branch precedent over three decades.

He said the courts have routinely “affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved.”

The full House is expected to vote on the contempt resolution on Thursday. Mr. Obama has denied any knowledge of Fast and Furious, and has stood solidly behind his attorney general.

House Speaker John A. Boehner said on Tuesday that in legal decisions on the scope of executive privilege during the Bush and Clinton administrations, judges consistently ruled that the privilege did not extend to Cabinet-level officials or their staffs.

But Mr. Schultz countered that the courts have routinely affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved.

Fast and Furious was a gunrunning operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) aimed at identifying drug-smuggling bosses in Mexico who were buying weapons from Phoenix gun shops. More than 2,000 weapons were sold and “walked” into Mexico, but the ATF lost track of them.

The operation, which began in September 2009, was shut down only after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was killed during a December 2010 gunfight with Mexican bandits near the Mexican border, south of Tucson, Ariz. Two weapons found at the site were traced to the Fast and Furious operation.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Mr. Issa’s push to hold Mr. Holder in contempt “has gone too far.” Still, Mr. Cummings said it wasn’t too late for the dispute to be worked out, and implored Mr. Boehner to intervene and to talk to the attorney general directly.

“We have a duty to do what we can to accommodate the executive branch,” he said. “And of course, they have a duty to accommodate us.”

While no Democrats backed the contempt citation in the committee vote, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, told reporters Tuesday that some in his party may vote yes on the House floor, especially after the National Rifle Association said it would record how members voted for its annual legislative scorecard.

MCCUBBIN: Eric Holder spits on Brian Terry’s grave – Washington Times

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

Seal of the United States Department of Justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MCCUBBIN: Eric Holder spits on Brian Terry’s grave – Washington Times.

Honor obligates attorney general to resign

By George E. McCubbin III

As president of the National Border Patrol Council, I represent more than 17,000 rank-and-file Border Patrol agents. I personally have been an agent for more than 25 years, during which time I have seen my fair share of politics related to the service. We have dealt with overzealous prosecutors and anti-immigration organizations, but never have we had to deal with an attorney general who has complete disregard for one of our own.

Eric H. Holder Jr. is called “America’s top cop” as the attorney general of the United States. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings with Mr. Holder as a witness in order to properly investigate the disaster known as Operation Fast and Furious. Direct questions have been aimed at the attorney general to determine who is at fault and to hold those parties accountable for their involvement in the operation. To date, Mr. Holder has danced around the questions, releasing only a small fraction of the documents that have been requested by Congress. He has not answered all of the questions that the committee has asked him. We are one-and-a-half years into this investigation and are no closer to getting the answers than when we started. It is downright unacceptable. This is why the National Border Patrol Council is calling for the resignation of Mr. Holder. Credibility, honesty, integrity and honor are trademarks that every law enforcement officer brings to work every day. Yet, as America’s top cop, Mr. Holder has failed on every count.

Operation Fast and Furious cost the life of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and was a complete catastrophe. It demonstrated the incompetence of several agency managers. To think that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would allow Mexican citizens to purchase weapons and then take them back to Mexico in order to use them for committing further crimes against their people and the citizens of the United States is unbelievable. But that is exactly what they did, and they accomplished this with the blessing of Mr. Holder.

When this investigation started, we hoped the legal system would reveal answers to questions that so many people had asked: How did this happen? Who allowed it? Who made the decision to continue with this operation? Who knew about this and did not report the facts to the proper authorities? We know Mr. Holder has the answers. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants these answers. The Terry family deserves the answers. Mr. Holder knows the answers, but refuses to provide them. If the attorney general has any respect left for the position he currently holds, then he should do four honorable things:

Apologize to the Terry family.

Deliver all relevant documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Provide thorough and honest answers to all of the questions that he has not answered to date.

Resign immediately.

George E. McCubbin III is President of the National Border Patrol Council.

EDITORIAL: Holder’s contempt and Obama’s privilege – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Holder’s contempt and Obama’s privilege – Washington Times.

Fast and Furious fight heads to the House floor

President Obama’s attempt to invoke executive privilege to forestall contempt-of-Congress proceedings against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. failed. Instead, the claim elevates the dispute between the administration and Capitol Hill to a new and troubling level. The operative question now is, what did the president know and when did he know it?

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted Wednesday to recommend a contempt charge against Mr. Holder. Since October, the Justice Department has refused to respond to a subpoena seeking 1,300 pages of documents related to the botched Fast and Furious Mexican gunrunning operation. Negotiations between the Justice Department and committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, broke down, and the contempt recommendation followed.

Mr. Obama’s last-minute move to extend the umbrella of executive privilege raises the question of whether the president or his staff had extensive prior knowledge of the operation, because this privilege can only be invoked when the chief executive’s office is involved. “Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding Fast and Furious were confined to the Department of Justice,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed.”

Mr. Holder claims the documents in question are internal and deliberative and thus are records that traditionally are removed from congressional oversight. The committee is investigating the role Mr. Holder played in these very deliberations and how much he knew about the operation. He swore under oath that his involvement was limited and came late in the game, but he is withholding evidence that could either support or undercut his testimony. White House intervention gives the appearance that Mr. Holder’s stonewalling was not to protect himself from a perjury charge, but to conceal hitherto unknown Oval Office involvement in Fast and Furious. This also may explain why Mr. Holder said that what should have been a routine investigation could lead to a “constitutional crisis.”

Mr. Obama has an affinity for exerting unilateral power, so the attempt to extend executive privilege ought not to come as a surprise. Former President Bill Clinton made no such effort when his attorney general, Janet Reno, faced a contempt charge from the same committee in 1998. That dispute was resolved eventually without any broad claims of authority even though Mr. Clinton did exercise the privilege on 14 other occasions.

The danger in the administration’s strategy is that congressional investigators may already have obtained documents by other means. Earlier this month, Mr. Issa revealed that an anonymous whistleblower had provided wiretap applications related to Fast and Furious that had been under a federal court seal. Those papers by themselves probably have no bearing on Mr. Holder’s case or on the matter of White House participation, but it is possible that Mr. Issa may yet obtain other material directly contradicting Mr. Holder’s sworn testimony or revealing White House involvement. It remains to be seen whether this investigation will produce a smoking gun.

The Washington Times

Morning Bell: President Obama’s Fast and Furious Scandal Grows – Heritage.org

Morning Bell: President Obama’s Fast and Furious Scandal Grows – Heritage.org.

Rory Cooper

On the night of December 15, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by an untraceable assault weapon that was deliberately handed to Mexican drug lords by U.S. officials via Operation Fast and Furious. Ever since, the Terry family and Americans across the nation have asked how this could have happened.

And ever since, Attorney General Eric Holder has stonewalled Congress in its attempts to find these answers. Yesterday, President Obama joined this stonewalling effort, asserting executive privilege over many of the documents about the operation that Congress had subpoenaed but still had not received.

Executive privilege is legitimate when properly invoked. But even then, the Supreme Court has maintained that it is not absolute. The Department of Justice (DOJ) must provide a compelling rationale for each assertion. Shielding wrongdoing has never been a qualifying rationale.

Heritage legal expert and former Department of Justice counsel Todd Gaziano explains:

First, the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon (1974) held that executive privilege cannot be invoked at all if the purpose is to shield wrongdoing. The courts held that [President] Nixon’s purported invocation of executive privilege was illegitimate, in part, for that reason. There is reason to suspect that this might be the case in the Fast and Furious cover-up and stonewalling effort. Congress needs to get to the bottom of that question to prevent an illegal invocation of executive privilege and further abuses of power. That will require an index of the withheld documents and an explanation of why each of them is covered by executive privilege—and more.

It is now up to Congress to ascertain the specific reasoning for executive privilege with every withheld document. Even in the unlikely case it is determined that this was a proper invocation of executive privilege, the administration is still not off the hook to inform Congress of what they know.

Gaziano explains further:

[T]he President is required when invoking executive privilege to try to accommodate the other branches’ legitimate information needs in some other way. For example, it does not harm executive power for the President to selectively waive executive privilege in most instances, even if it hurts him politically by exposing a terrible policy failure or wrongdoing among his staff. The history of executive–congressional relations is filled with accommodations and waivers of privilege. In contrast to voluntary waivers of privilege, Watergate demonstrates that wrongful invocations of privilege can seriously damage the office of the presidency when Congress and the courts impose new constraints on the President’s discretion or power (some rightful and some not).

President Obama now owns the Fast and Furious scandal. It is entirely up to him whether he wants to live up to the transparency promises he made four years ago, or further develop a shroud of secrecy that would make President Richard Nixon blush. If the stonewalling continues, and the privilege is not waived, it will be up to the American people and the media to demand the reasoning for the cover-up.

It is also time for the media to begin responsibly covering this scandal. For more than 16 months, only a handful of reporters have appropriately researched the facts and sought answers. Most members of the national media would not even acknowledge the existence of the scandal. Reportedly, NBC Nightly News ran its first story on the scandal just this past Tuesday.

The national media must now follow the lead of their colleagues CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson or Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and investigate the specific facts and details of the operation and administration involvement. Attkisson, as you may remember, was screamed and cussed at by White House spokesman Eric Schultz in October for asking questions about Operation Fast and Furious.

Answers must be demanded. When was the first time President Obama was briefed on this operation? Given his previous conflicting testimony, when in fact did Attorney General Eric Holder become involved? What exactly did he know and when did he know it?

Despite the fact that Mexico was left in the dark by the Obama administration, this was still an international operation. If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must approve the Keystone pipeline, wouldn’t she also be consulted on this cross-border operation?

Liberals will try and pretend this operation that began in mid-2009 is connected to former President George W. Bush’s administration. The media should challenge this false assertion. Operation Wide Receiver in 2006 did not remotely resemble Fast and Furious, as National Review’s Andrew McCarthy has ably examined. Mexico helped coordinate it, and there was traceable controlled delivery. Even Holder admitted in testimony that you cannot “equate the two.”

We will also hear that this is “election-year politics.” The problem with that refrain is that this investigation has been ongoing since early 2011, well before campaign season started. It has been Attorney General Holder’s evasiveness that has dragged this process closer to Election Day.

If it were not for conservative media outlets, bloggers, a few dogged reporters and the steadfastness of House Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), this troubling scandal would have been buried long ago.

A brave American border agent is dead. At least 200 Mexicans have been slaughtered with these weapons. Drug violence on the border remains unabated. Now, President Obama is attempting to conceal the facts of what happened. This is an opportunity for Congress and the media to demand sunlight.

Border Patrol group calls for Holder’s resignation – Washington Times

Border Patrol group calls for Holder’s resignation – Washington Times.

By Jerry Seper – The Washington Times

The National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 17,000 of the agency’s nonsupervisory agents, called Monday for the resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for his role in the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation that resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Council President George E. McCubbin III, a 25-year Border Patrol veteran, described Mr. Holder’s actions in the case as “a slap in the face to all Border Patrol agents who serve this country,” adding that the attorney general showed “an utter failure of leadership at the highest levels of government.”

Two semi-automatic AK-47 assault weapons found at the scene of the Dec. 15, 2010, killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry were traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to “straw buyers” who bought the weapons as part of the Fast and Furious investigation.

The agent died during a gunfight with heavily-armed Mexican bandits along the U.S.-Mexico border south of Tucson, Ariz.

More than 2,000 weapons purchased during the ATF-led Fast and Furious operation were “walked” to drug smugglers in Mexico. More than 600 of them still are missing.

Mr. McCubbin said Border Patrol agents are indoctrinated from day one of their training that “integrity is their most important trait and that without it, they have little use to the agency.” He said agents who lie or show a lack of candor are disciplined quickly.

“The standard that applies to these agents should at a minimum be applied to those who lead them,” Mr. McCubbin said. “If Eric Holder were a Border Patrol agent and not the attorney general, he would have long ago been found unsuitable for government employment and terminated.”

“The heroism that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry demonstrated on that cold night in the desert of Arizona was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Border Patrol and will never be forgotten by those who patrol this nation’s borders,” he said.

“We cannot allow our agents to be sacrificed for no gain and not hold accountable those who approved the ill-conceived Operation Fast and Furious,” he said.

Mr. McCubbin said the “political shenanigans” surrounding Fast and Furious and the “passing the blame” must stop.

He noted that a Border Patrol agent cannot accidentally step foot in Mexico without a myriad of U.S. and Mexican government agencies being made aware, so there would have been no possible way that Fast and Furious was conducted without the knowledge and tacit approval of the Justice Department and the Obama administration.

“It is time for Attorney General Holder to show the least shred of responsibility and leadership and resign his post,” Mr. McCubbin said. “Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry deserves nothing less.”

Last week, Mr. Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee he had “no intention” of resigning, adding that he heard the White House press officer say the president has “absolute confidence in me.”

His defiance came after Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and a senior committee member, called on him to quit, saying Mr. Holder had failed “the basic standards of political independence and accountability” in determining who knew about or approved the “walking” of guns into Mexico.

“Americans deserve an attorney general who will be honest with them,” Mr. Cornyn said.

“You have violated the public trust, in my view,” he said. “It is more with sorrow than regret and anger that I would say that you leave me no alternative than to join those who call upon you to resign your office.”