DOJ F&F probe: “Pattern of serious failures,” 14 employees up for… sanctions

posted at 4:41 pm on September 19, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice has released a long-awaited 400 page report on their investigative findings concerning deadly gunwalking operation Fast & Furious, in which thousands of untraceable firearms were actively allowed to make their way into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. Try to contain your surprise if you can, but it seems that this internal probe of the DOJ, by the DOJ, while condemning the irresponsibility of certain players in the sternest terms, found “no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious, or learned about the tactics employed by ATF in the investigation.” But, of course, some heads had to roll, via the WSJ:

A Justice Department watchdog recommended that 14 employees be reviewed for possible sanctions in light of a “pattern of serious failures” at the department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives…

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released the more than 400-page report Wednesday, the most extensive review of the actions by federal officials in Arizona and Washington that led to the scandal.

Among his findings, he said that Attorney General Eric Holder wasn’t aware of the tactics being used in the operation until early 2011…

Mr. Horowitz faulted officials for “failure to adequately consider the risk to the public safety in the United States and Mexico.”

At least one DOJ official has already resigned, via Fox News:

Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, is resigning in the wake of the Justice Department inspector general report on Fast and Furious. The report essentially concludes that he is the most senior department official who was in a position to stop Fast and Furious.

Here’s my question, though: If the above is really the long and short of it and Attorney General Eric Holder had no knowledge of Fast and Furious before the investigation got going… then still, why President Obama’s invocation of executive privilege on all those subpoenaed Fast & Furious-related documents? It’s not like this is a matter of national-security sensitivity. If it wasn’t to shield Holder personally, then it still seems that it was at Holder’s request in order to buy him some time to shield his shoddy management of his department, and merely helped to add authority to his uncooperative stonewalling of Congress’s attempt to get to the bottom of the obvious wrongdoing that went down here somewhere. Grossly inappropriate use of executive authority, to say the least? I find myself puzzled.

Here’s the hard-hitting response from House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who spearheaded the Congressional investigation, via Katie Pavlich:

“The Inspector General’s report confirms findings by Congress’ investigation of a near total disregard for public safety in Operation Fast and Furious.  Contrary to the denials of the Attorney General and his political defenders in Congress, the investigation found that information in wiretap applications approved by senior Justice Department officials in Washington did contain red flags showing reckless tactics and faults Attorney General Eric Holder’s inner circle for their conduct.

“Former Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer who heads the Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, and Holder’s own Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson are all singled out for criticism in the report.  It’s time for President Obama to step in and provide accountability for officials at both the Department of Justice and ATF who failed to do their jobs.  Attorney General Holder has clearly known about these unacceptable failures yet has failed to take appropriate action for over a year and a half.”  Schmaler should be fired and Congress should investigate the cozy friendship between the Department of Justice and Media Matters immediately.


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