House GOP calls for special prosecutor to probe Holder on perjury allegation
posted at 2:05 pm on October 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
House Republicans aren’t buying the “dog ate my security briefings” excuse from Eric Holder. In a letter to President Obama today, House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) requested a special prosecutor to investigate the Attorney General for perjury, explaining in detail how false Holder’s May 3rd testimony that he had only recently heard of Operation Fast and Furious appears to be:
The question is whether Holder committed perjury during a Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. At the time, Holder indicated he was not familiar with with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program known as Fast and Furious until about April 2011.
“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” Holder testified.
However, a newly discovered memo dated July 2010 shows Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder that straw buyers in the Fast and Furious operation “are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
Other documents also indicate that Holder began receiving weekly briefings on the program from the National Drug Intelligence Center “beginning, at the latest, on July 5, 2010,” Smith wrote.
“These updates mentioned, not only the name of the operation, but also specific details about guns being trafficked to Mexico,” Smith wrote in the letter to Obama.
“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel. I urge you to appoint a special counsel who will investigate these allegations as soon as possible,” Smith wrote.
Allahpundit wrote last night about the pushback at Justice, saying that Holder doesn’t read all of his briefings as a defense to perjury. If that’s true, we’d have to believe that the ATF deliberately sent thousands of guns over the border into the hands of drug cartels and gangs, and Holder was so disinterested in the project that he didn’t bother to pick up even one memo on the subject. Congress might have grounds to impeach him for incompetence on that score alone, if the White House refuses the call for a special prosecutor.
Speaking of incompetence … why is Holder even still part of this administration? He bungled the project to move terrorist trials to federal court rather than military commissions, having to endure the humiliation of the White House overruling him after bipartisan opposition erupted to trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan. Regardless of whether Holder committed perjury, the death of a Border Patrol agent and the exposure of the administration’s political machinations of F&F have created a huge PR problem for Obama and his administration. Holder should have gotten the boot months ago, perhaps even longer than that.
Now Obama has to decide whether to defy Congress and create a precedent for protecting appointees who willfully mislead Congress, or submit to a special prosecutor that could run wild on his administration. I’m going to guess that Obama will defy the House, but that may not last very long, especially with Darrell Issa probing Solyndra and other potential scandals