Attorney General Eric Holder testified to a Senate Committee November 8, 2011 about accomplishments of the Department of Justice as well as about “Operation Fast and Furious” in which the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms) allegedly allowed 2,000 or more firearms to be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels, and have turned up at bloody crime scenes across Mexico since. One was allegedly used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry in Rico, AZ in a shootout with Mexican drug runners. Holder previously testified that he had no earlier knowledge of the operation, but documents have surfaced that show otherwise.
Holder began his November 8, 2011, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee by listing many significant achievements of the DOJ:
On other fronts, the Department has made extraordinary progress in protecting civil rights, combating financial fraud, safeguarding our environment, and advancing our fight against violent crime. We have filed a record number of criminal civil rights cases.
I am proud of these – and our many other – achievements….., I’d like to take a moment to address the public safety crisis of guns flowing across our border into Mexico – and the local law enforcement operation known as “Fast and Furious” that has brought renewed public attention to this shared national security threat.
Holder characterizes his response to the mission this way:
To ensure that it will not (happen again), after learning about the allegations raised by ATF agents involved with Fast and Furious, I took action. I asked the Department’s Inspector General to investigate the matter, and I ordered that a directive be sent to the Department’s law enforcement agents and prosecutors stating that such tactics violate Department policy and will not be tolerated.
Some of the overheated rhetoric might lead you to believe that this local, Arizona-based operation was somehow the cause of the epidemic of gun violence in Mexico. In fact, Fast and Furious was a flawed response to, not the cause of, the flow of illegal guns from the United States into Mexico.
As someone who has seen the consequences of gun violence firsthand – and who has promised far too many grieving families that I would do everything in my power not only to seek justice on behalf of their loved ones, but also to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies – I am determined to ensure that our shared concerns about Operation Fast and Furious lead to more than headline-grabbing Washington “gotcha” games and cynical political point scoring.
But is it really “gotcha games” to expect public officials to be fully informed of their own operations, to tell the truth about it, and to respond with truthful information?
Do the many accomplishments by the Department of Justice, or any public entity or official, override the absolute requirement to be truthful in their testimony? No--particularly in matters of the Department of Justice, who essentially are charged with policing our nation, absolute honesty should be demanded.
There is talk of perjury charges against Holder and a call for President Obama to fire Holder if he doesn’t resign. David Baumann of Main Justice reports, “Paul Gosar (R-AZ) went so far as to suggest that administration officials be charged as accessories to Terry’s death.”
Grace Wyler of Business Insider wrote this in an October 6, 2011 article regarding exposure of memos:
New documents, released this week, indicate that Holder may have lied to Congress about how much and when he knew about the sting, known as Operation Fast and Furious, in which U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents allowed more than 2,000 firearms to "walk" across the U.S. border to Mexico and into the hands of Mexico’s brutal drug cartels.
As many as 1,700 of those weapons have since been lost, and more than 100 have been found at bloody crime scenes on both sides of the border, including at the murder site of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona last December. The sting is now the subject of a Congressional investigation to find out who was responsible for or knew about the operation.
In May 2011, Holder testified before Congress that he "probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." But new evidence reveals that Holder was informed that guns were being "walked" into Mexico at least nine months earlier.
The memos, sent by the National Drug Intelligence Center and Asst. AG Lanny Breuer, indicate that high-level DOJ officials, including Holder, were fully aware that guns were being "walked" into Mexico.
The memo leaves no doubt that senior DOJ officials knew.
The GOP is now turning up the heat on Holder, who it appears may have actually perjured himself. House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa, the Republican leading the investigation, is now demanding Holder "come forward and at least admit" he knew about Fast and Furious.
"He implied he knew nothing when in fact he at least knew something,” Issa said on Fox News yesterday. "“We certainly would like to believe that he was disingenuous but not lying. The fact is, the people who are making those statements on his behalf are lying on his behalf, period.”
There are indications the Obama administration may be cracking under the pressure — CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson said yesterday that White House spokesman Eric Schultz "screamed and cussed" at her over a story she published on Fast and Furious.
But the White House has been steadfast in its defense of Holder, who is a close confidante of Obama.
It matters what you know, when you found out, and whether you investigate properly and tell the truth. Because, as Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) stated, “The lack of candor and honesty from our nation’s chief law enforcement officials in this matter is deeply disturbing.” He and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) are investigating the operation, and Holder’s statements and testimony regarding his knowledge of the operation. There is documentation that Holder received multiple memos about the operation prior to July, 2010, but then testified to the committee in April, 2011 that he did not know.
When public officials, especially in the area of law enforcement, are willing to say they did not know about issues they have been informed of, it is not acceptable. In the case of Eric Holder, often company to Charlotte’s Police Chief Rodney Monroe, he is definitely under fire for doing so. Holder has been to Charlotte for induction ceremonies of new police recruits to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, and his name is often invoked around Charlotte. Chief Monroe spent over 20 years in Washington, DC and the topic of his connections there is a popular topic with him and with Charlotte’s politicians. There is grant money and other money to Charlotte tied to Holder.
Currently, Chief Monroe, CMPD attorneys, City of Charlotte attorneys, City Manager Curt Walton, City Council, and of course Mayor Foxx have a long list of issues presented to them with questionable operations at the CMPD. Most continue to go uncorrected and even unaddressed, no matter what information is presented to them. They will not answer for the 50 brand new police cars reported unaccounted for by Deputy Chief Graue, even when she made a direct report to Charlotte City Council and the Mayor at a City Council meeting. Their only known response was to give the CMPD another $5 Million to buy more cars, of questionable utility at that.
The CMPD has absolutely refused to release even basic information about the Great Balls of Fire “non-profit” corporation which receives public money and is listed as the corporation to receive funds for the CMPD Blue Hornets baseball team. The few details given out are part of an ever-changing story that first stated everything was funded by the officers who were playing ball. That turned out to be false, even according to Public Affairs Captain Brian Cunningham, who stated that some “money for uniforms” came from the General Fund.
Deputy Chief Graham, who is the listed agent for Great Balls of Fire, has refused to provide and information. So has Major Paul Zinkann, listed on the Blue Hornets website as Board Member and the person to contact for information. All refuse to provide even a Board of Directors’ roster or a Board Annual Report. None will give information about who paid for some expensive trips to other states, who sponsors are, or who is receiving funds from the group. Not one penny has been accounted for, despite questions about hundreds of thousands of dollars shown as property depreciation on tax returns for DC Graham’s organization.
Rodney Monroe’s CMPD, with knowledge by his boss City Manager Curt Walton, as well as City Council and Mayor Foxx, continues to deflect questions about Crime Statistics that make no sense.
There are very strange items which have been spent under what is known as Asset Forfeiture funds—from a guitar to “Team Charlotte” expenditures. Rodney Monroe’s Office of the Chief continues to refuse explanation of these items, as well as what projects are covered by the catch all “special projects” of Chief Monroe. Asset Forfeiture funds MUST be approved in advance, dedicated only to a particular kind of law enforcement expenses, and are not allowed to be used for regular budget items, according to Federal Law. Officials in Charlotte will not explain why there seem to be violations and a lack of accounting, at best.
During Monroe’s tenure, he has claimed huge drops in Crime according to what he reports to the FBI as Type I crimes, but has also removed all traceable data from the Charmeck.org web site. He has also refused to answer for the various crime numbers that are completely mismatched, even among his own publications.
All seem to be using the full weight of attorneys for the City of Charlotte to delay--maybe impede--access to public information which would fully bring all these issues to light.
This didn’t work out well for officials at Penn State University, who are now charged with crimes for their alleged cover-up efforts. There are now calls for charges against Attorney General Eric Holder for perjury.
How much information is documented to officials in Charlotte’s City Hall?