Eric Holder’s former chief of staff, Kevin Ohlson, would like to be confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces — but some senators — chief among them John McCain — want to know what he knew about Operation Fast and Furious before they’ll grant him their stamp of approval.
Not surprisingly, Ohlson claims he knew nothing, even though he worked with Holder from January 2009 to January 2011 and received routine courtesy copies of weekly reports that referred to Fast and Furious by name.
McCain last week sent a letter to Ohlson pointing out the obvious — that, as Holder’s chief of staff, Ohlson was in a position not only to be informed about the calamitous gunwalking program, but also to know what information did or did not reach Holder himself.
Ohlson responded to McCain’s letter yesterday with predictable excuses for his purported ignorance of the details of the program that effectively caused the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry:
But in his response, Ohlson wrote he had “been informed that routine courtesy copies of weekly reports were forwarded to me that referred to the operation by name, but that did not provide any operational details and did not refer to gun walking or anything similar.”
But Ohlson said nothing on the cover sheets of the reports indicated they contained important or sensitive materials and he didn’t review them.
Ohlson clearly takes after his boss, who has openly admitted to not reading important memos about the operation. It’s a troubling trend, as it either indicates that these DOJ officials did know about F&F and implicitly endorsed it OR that busy work has so overcome government officials that they have no time to explore significant operations.
The Senate is right to take Ohlson’s upcoming confirmation hearing — slated for Thursday — seriously: What of Ohlson’s incompetence at DOJ suggests he’d be a thorough and conscientious judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services? It’s bad enough that, when Ohlson moved out of the position of Holder’s chief of staff, he moved into the position of head of the DOJ’s professional misconduct review unit.