Breuer becoming the Fast & Furious fall guy?

posted at 8:45 am on November 1, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Late yesterday, the Department of Justice finally released a large amount of documentation relating to Operation Fast & Furious, some of which contradicts earlier assertions that the DoJ knew nothing of “gunwalking” across the US-Mexico border. One memo in particular shows that Lanny Breuer, head of the DoJ’s criminal division and a well-connected lieutenant of Attorney General Eric Holder, not only knew of the practice in both OF&F and a Bush-era operation called Wide Receiver, he had warned that the practice could end up “embarrassing” the ATF, and yesterday issued a statement that he “regrets” not warning DoJ officials of the similarities between the two operations:

Documents just released this afternoon show the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, Lanny A. Breuer, learned about the tactic of ATF gunwalking as early as April of last year.

In a memo, Breuer’s deputy wrote him that, in a case called “Wide Receiver” started under the Bush Administration, “ATF let a bunch of guns walk” in an effort to catch the big fish of Mexican drug cartels and said the gunwalking case could be “embarrassing” to ATF.

Today, Breuer issued a statement saying he “regrets” that he didn’t alert others in Justice Department leadership, apparently including his boss Attorney General Eric Holder.

In a separate ATF case reported by CBS News earlier this year, called “Fast and Furious” and started under the Obama Administration, Breuer says he likewise regrets not alerting leaders about the similarities in the cases. That, said Breuer, was a mistake.

Congress reacted yesterday by pointing out just how far the DoJ has come since the House decided to probe the matter. Earlier this year, Justice sent a memo to investigators claiming that allegations of gunwalking were “false.” Now we have Breuer not only admitting that it occurred, but that he knew about it more than a year before Justice’s memo to Congress. That will have some in the House looking for blood when hearings resume on Fast & Furious.

But this does something else as well; it acts as a firewall for Eric Holder and the White House, at least for the moment. Breuer’s admission contains one key component — “regrets” for not having informed his superiors. Breuer appears ready to argue that the knowledge of gunwalking only went as high as his desk, and that Breuer never told Holder about the effort. That’s going to be difficult to believe, especially since we already know that the White House got extensively briefed on the matter directly from the Phoenix office.  Are we to believe that Breuer didn’t get asked about this from above, or that the White House wouldn’t have asked Holder about an operation conducted in his own fiefdom?  It seems unlikely that the buck stopped at Breuer’s desk, especially given the international implications of gunwalking across the border.

The number of Representatives calling for Holder’s resignation has now risen to 28 overnight.  I don’t think that Breuer’s attempt to become the fall guy in this fiasco will change that momentum.

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Responsibility starts at the top.

Good Lt on November 1, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Responsibility starts at the top.

Good Lt on November 1, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Only in Republican administrations.

Washington Nearsider on November 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM

I have no idea, but I do know that you guys come up with really cool names for your fake scandals.

crr6 on July 10, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Del Dolemonte on November 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Yeah, if this had happened immediately after this story “broke”, it might have worked. I don’t think congress will, or even should, believe anything these people tell them. Trust, but Verify.

Mord on November 1, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Holder knows too much, obama will not let him take the heat. He should have been drummed out when he let the black panthers off when they threatened voters.

Bambi on November 1, 2011 at 8:54 AM

holder will not even get a slap on the wrist by this president…
*sigh*

the house needs to continue to push on this despite the crickets chirping by this despicable lsm…

v

cmsinaz on November 1, 2011 at 8:55 AM

All Obama’s friends gots busses.

Toss Brer Breuer under Holder’s bus.

Dollars to donuts, they’ll figure out a way to make Holder look like a hero and put all the blame on Bush, just to top things off.

Obama? Not a scratch from this cat fight. He’s historic, ya know.

Remember back when the entire left and the Democrats demanded that Rumsfeld be put on trial and sent off to prison for what a bunch of poorly led Army Reserve MP’s once did in an obscure confinement facility in Iraq? Tried to tell us that Rumsfeld had to know all the details, all of it, and many suggested that Rumsfeld himself personally directed these reservists to carry out these war crimes.” There was simply no excuse for Rumsfeld not being indicted and convicted and led away to solitary for life.

Well. Can we apply the same standards here?

coldwarrior on November 1, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Many politicians want Holders resignation.. We the people want Holder and all others involved in this scandal that has led to over 200 murders to face trial just as the rest of us regular people would. Enough of this above the law crap!

Keemo on November 1, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Time to fall on your sword, Lanny. There’s a good boy.

SKYFOX on November 1, 2011 at 8:55 AM

It never fails–the reference to Bush did it first–without mentioning that the prior program was done with the knowledge of the Mexican government, and the purchasers were actually tracked. Par for the Obama/Post course.

horatio on November 1, 2011 at 8:56 AM

coldwarrior on November 1, 2011 at 8:55 AM

i know its rhetorical..it’s just infuriating the 24.7 outrage that occurred and nary a peep now…

absolutely infuriating…

cmsinaz on November 1, 2011 at 8:57 AM

And Holder’s Chief of Staff gets a big A-OK for knowing about it and not informing his boss?

How about that guy in the WH who got transfered to Iraq that Bob Owens has found the Administration trying to hide?

I’m sorry but at this point seeing a lot of Breuer doesn’t put a firewall in front of Holder, but just intensifies the fire around him. He is the boss and Obama appointed him, and every activity he has taken to redact, stonewall, fudge, misplace documents, re-assign people involved with the case… all of that points not to a firewall but culpability, knowing about the activities and then trying to hide them. A firewall made of paper soaked in gasoline isn’t goint to help Holder… especially after appointing a solid block of Leftists to positions in DoJ…

ajacksonian on November 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Breuer’s just volunteered to be the appetizer. Holder’s the main course. “Bush started it” ain’t gonna fly.

OhioCoastie on November 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Breuer’s admission contains one key component — “regrets” for not having informed his superiors. Breuer appears ready to argue that the knowledge of gunwalking only went as high as his desk, and that Breuer never told Holder about the effort.

Utter BS. You have DoJ, Treasury, DHS and State cooperation, as well as WH officials and no one talked about it to any of the secretaries or Dear Liar? That doesn’t happen. Career bureaucrats are too risk adverse to do anything like this without marching orders from the highest level — and I’m talking about The Whine. Now, he may have given vague orders “do something about guns, just don’t talk to me about it” in order for plausible deniability, but the orders came from him.

rbj on November 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM

What about Operation Grenade Walker? What about giving guns to gangs in Indiana? F&F is the tip of the iceberg.

To say he knew about it does not answer the question, who authorized it? And whoever authorized it has hundreds of murders to answer for, including US law enforcement personnel. That’s the leverage that will push this as high as it needs to go.

The senate is going to hold a softball game hearings with Holder next week, that will probably give him cover to blow off congressional hearings since he can say he’s been there done that after the senate’s hearings.

To say that this is bigger than Watergate is the understatement of the young century.

Akzed on November 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Still not a word on this from MSLSD. They are just can’t find the time to squeeze it in between Herman Cain stories.

Naturally Curly on November 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Who approved the funding????

Wasn’t a third level GS employee, that’s for certain.

coldwarrior on November 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

American LE agents are dead, Holder shouldn’t be allowed to fade away, he needs to be hauled before a court to explain himself.

Bishop on November 1, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Not much will come of this scandal unless the big MSM comes after it like they did Ashcroft.

docflash on November 1, 2011 at 9:06 AM

The radicals in power at the DOJ have no sense of shame over what they have done. I expect no resignations over this – unless they can push out some Bush appointees.

faraway on November 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Success that paints Obama as the Savior of the world….the buck stops here.

Failures that expose Obama for the despicable traitorous Marxist that he is….the buck stops somewhere else.

csdeven on November 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Lanny A. Breuer will take the fall, disappear into one of those large liberal think tanks and never have to really work again. I’m starting to get how Washington “works”.

Fallon on November 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM

So when will Obama apologize to Mexico? It seems odd that he apologizes to every nation about something another President did, but not even an acknowledgment of the Mexican deaths.

jeffn21 on November 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I’m telling you, Holder is going nowhere short of impeachment. Obama needs this crook in place to manage the redistricting takeovers and allowing voter fraud next year.

michaelo on November 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I’d love to see Issa read a list of charges against Breuer and pause for a moment then offer Breuer immunity for the truth. It seems to me that done in the open as opposed to behind closed doors would make Breuer sweat like a pig. We’ll find out soon I suppose.

tim c on November 1, 2011 at 9:16 AM

“The buck never got here.”

listens2glenn on November 1, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I guess I am paranoid because I see W getting the blame.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Some one should keep a close eye on Breuer’s offshore accounts for any “unusual deposits”. If Breuer is taking the fall here, there’s money moving somewhere.

Rovin on November 1, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Lanny Breuer? Wasn’t he in the Clinton administration?

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Now, he may have given vague orders “do something about guns, just don’t talk to me about it” in order for plausible deniability, but the orders came from him.

rbj on November 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM

But you have to understand rbj, there was a clear and present danger.

Rovin on November 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Naturally Curly on November 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM

yepper

cain bashing=good
F&F/Solyndra=bad

cmsinaz on November 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM

But you have to understand rbj, there was a clear and present danger.

Rovin on November 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Exactly what I was thinking. Once again, life imitates art.

rbj on November 1, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Appoint a special Prosecutor….

Baxter Greene on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM

“Breuer’s admission contains one key component — “regrets” for not having informed his superiors. Breuer appears ready to argue that the knowledge of gunwalking only went as high as his desk, and that Breuer never told Holder about the effort.”

Without the actual statement Breuer released, it’s hard to tell whether that is the case. It could just be obfuscation. After all, he is a lawyer and without it you are inferring something Breuer may not be implying based only on CBS’ characterization of the statement.

What appears to be clear is that Obama’s DOJ is still trying to relate Wide Receiver to F&F by noting similarities while ignoring differences and that may well be part of an effort in forthcoming hearings to try to sidetrack the discussion of F&F.

In any event, I’d sure like the statement released to see if it can be parsed such that it doesn’t really state Breuer didn’t inform Holder.

Dusty on November 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Lanny Breuer? Wasn’t he in the Clinton administration?

[Cindy Munford on November 1, 2011 at 9:28 AM]

I don’t think so. He was hired by Clinton as special counsel wrt Clinton’s impeachment, though.

Dusty on November 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Lanny Breuer? Wasn’t he in the Clinton administration?

[Cindy Munford on November 1, 2011 at 9:28 AM]

I don’t think so. He was hired by Clinton as special counsel wrt Clinton’s impeachment, though.

Dusty on November 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM

I think that was Lanny Davis.

rbj on November 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM

So Breur

had warned that the practice could end up “embarrassing” the ATF,

I’m confused. Who exactly did he warn? And in any case, if he warned that it could be “embarrassing”, it doesn’t sound like he thought this was a nifty idea. So someone else would have given the go ahead, right?

lynncgb on November 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

My father keeps telling me that no one is going to pay the piper for this disaster, that the media will cover for Holder and Obama forever. I kept dismissing that as cynicism until today listening to NPR practically hyperventilating about Herman Cain’s “sexual harassment” problem. I actually said something rather distasteful to the car radio and switched to classical music to calm down.

But it got me thinking that we need to start some kind of written campaign with a form letter online that can be sent to not only the MSM offices, but also to large corporate advertisers, a letter that makes it plain that viewers have given up on the traditional media as it stands and that advertising dollars would be better spent on the new media with clear political viewpoints on both the right and the left. I have completely abandoned the MSM except for NPR in the car when I can tolerate it to some degree.

piglet on November 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

I agree. The distractions of the media only sticking to Herman Cain and the OWS garbage is ridiculous but working.
My favorite conservative blog has OWS and Herman Cain.
This fall guy’s statement is absolute BS.
Congress has got to know we are watching. Instead of repeating the lie often enough the strategy is “if we don’t report it, it didn’t happen”.

ORconservative on November 1, 2011 at 10:07 AM

I think that was Lanny Davis.

[rbj on November 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM]

Both were. What are the odds of two Lanny’s doing that?

Dusty on November 1, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Why is Newt the only candidate that is taking these issues on? Why aren’t Republican leaders from every State demanding investigations and forcing these issues to the forefront?

I have often wondered if the establishment isn’t the entire political network, thus people like Herman and Sarah get attacked from both sides. If my party is truly different from the Democrat Party; if my party truly is for the original documents as written, then why don’t they get out in front of these issues and make the news… We all know these issues will not get covered by the establishment controlled media. These politicians must make the news rather than whine about the establishment media not reporting such scandals.

Keemo on November 1, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Who cares about gun smuggling by our government? I’ve just received unsubstantiated rumors from unreliable, unnamed sources about Herman Cain forgetting to separate his recyclables once back in 1993!!!

Bruce MacMahon on November 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM

LOL! This is the guy who represent Sandy Burgler for stealing from the National Archives. I’m still having a hard time believing that they don’t scan every last document in that place.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Evidently Breuer has a pardon written by Holder and signed by Obama in his back pocket.

GarandFan on November 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Some one should keep a close eye on Breuer’s offshore accounts for any “unusual deposits”. If Breuer is taking the fall here, there’s money moving somewhere.

Rovin on November 1, 2011 at 9:21 AM

They promised to give him Texas.

petefrt on November 1, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Breuer is apparently lining up to try to take the fall. I wonder what Holder offered him to get him to do it?

No matter. Holder is both corrupt and incompetent, and he is trying to build a firewall on the wrong side of the fire. Too much evidence already goes beyond Breuer to Holder and to the White House. Holder continues to back away, inch by inch, from the original “no guns were allowed to walk” lie, and each retreat creates more contradictions and raises more questions.

What is in the documents under subpoena that Holder still refuses to produce? How many documents has DOJ simply lied about, and won’t admit even exist? That proposed rule that would permit DOJ to deny documents and other evidence even exists didn’t come from nowhere. Holder has reasons for coveting the power to lie legally.

If Obama and Holder could have cut this off lower down they would have done so already and put it behind them before the election campaign heats up. The truth is obviously so devastating they simply can’t give it up. The stonewalling and slow-walking is moving the inevitable revelations closer and closer to the election. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and with any luck this thing will break wide open at the worst possible time for Obama and his corrupt and criminal minions.

The mainstream media can try to suppress this news, but they don’t have the power to close down a story of this monstrous magnitude forever.

novaculus on November 1, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Hillary said it best, “We have to suspend our dis-belief”. Or some such thing.

Herb on November 1, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Breuer better stay clear of Fort Marcy Park. sarc/

jnelchef on November 1, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Someone ought to inform Mr.Breuer than sooner or later he will face a lengthy Federal prison term stemming from this. He might change his mind about being the fall guy.

Mason on November 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Perhaps Mr. Breuer was told that part of his job is making Mr. Holder look good.

TimBuk3 on November 1, 2011 at 1:11 PM

This transparency thing is thuh bomb, huh?

hillbillyjim on November 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

In watching Issa’a interviews with Greta and others, I get the impression that he has a great deal of documentation that Holder and his crew don’t know he has. Snippets here and elswhere seem to point toward that as well.

He appears to be giving DOJ and its subsidiary agencies and officials opportunities to state their positions before exposing their deceitful statements with said documents. This way, even if the charges themselves cannot be made to stick due to politics, there’s always the perjury/obstruction coverup charges.

Keep your powder dry and your fingers crossed…

LooseCannon on November 1, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Anyone who has worked in a large organization knows full well that some low level guy if he even dreamed up a ‘plan’ like F&F, it would have to be discussed at multiple meetings before it was ever approved and implemented. Does Bruer know he just implicated himself in hundreds of murders? If anyone is going to fall on their swords for the regime, they should be aware that there will be no pardons given out for murder.

Kissmygrits on November 1, 2011 at 4:07 PM