In an apparent attempt to obviate the need to move forward with a Congressional contempt citation of the Attorney General of the United States, that AG, Eric Holder, last Thursday sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Congressman Darrell Issa (R, CA). In this letter, Holder offers to provide to the Committee many of the “Fast and Furious” documents subpoenaed and heretofore withheld by Holder, and Holder offered personally to brief Issa in the subject.
This is a good start, but there’s more to this story. Here’s an amazing paragraph from that letter [emphasis added].
The record in this matter reflects that until allegations about the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious were made public, Department leadership was unaware of those tactics. Indeed, as the documents we provided to the Committee relating to the drafting of the February 4 letter reflect, Department leaders were assured by the heads of Department components in the best position to know the true facts that the allegations being made were “categorically false.” However, over a period of months in 2011, as documents to be provided to the Committee were collected and reviewed, and as witness testimony before the Committee was evaluated, Department leadership learned more and began to assess the facts of this matter independently. The Department’s understanding of the facts underlying Fast and Furious became more developed, particularly as evidence came to light that was inconsistent with the initial denials provided to Department personnel. Over time, Department leadership came to recognize that Fast and Furious was fundamentally flawed, as I noted in my October 7, 2011 letter to you and other members of Congress….
This fast and Furious operation was conducted under the auspices of the DoJ. These data, concerning the misbehavior, were in the DoJ’s hands all along. “Department leadership” (read: Holder) didn’t know these data? How is he leading his Department if he can’t even get his own subordinates to talk to him? How is he leading his Department if, alternatively, he chooses to be ignorant of the data in his subordinates’ hands until outside agencies force him to look at them?
What level of competence produces this quality of performance?
Finally, keep in mind that the House Committee didn’t begin its own investigation until well after Agent Terry’s murder. Holder could have put this whole matter to rest—indeed he could have avoided all of this hoo-raw, all of this expenditure of taxpayer money—if only he’d listened to the Clue Bird when it presented him with the murder of a government agent, presented him with a murder victim with weapons his own Department was turning over to drug cartels near the body.
The complete Holder letter can be seen here.