Report: GOP investigation finds five top ATF officials responsible for Fast & Furious

Fearless prediction: Whatever happens on election day, we’re going to have ourselves a new Attorney General next year. Obama wouldn’t dump him before for fear of looking weak by caving to GOP pressure, but if he wins in November, he’ll have a perfect excuse. Just normal administration turnover; all presidents do it. No need to read anything into it just because this particular turnover involved a guy who oversaw guns being walked to Mexican drug lords.

Note well: This is only the first of three reports to come.

Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials — from the special agent-in-charge of the Phoenix field office to the top man in the bureau’s Washington headquarters — are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.”

The investigators, in a final report likely to be released later this week, also unearthed new evidence that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix initially sought to hide from the Mexican government the crucial information that two Fast and Furious firearms were recovered after the brother of a Mexican state attorney general was killed there

Two more final reports, they said, will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the Department of Justice and an “unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.”

Follow the link for more, including the names of the five DOJ/ATF officials who are most culpable. Holder isn’t one of them but, per the excerpt, he’s set for a starring role in one of the next two reports to come about DOJ obstruction. The point of this leak, I assume, is to give Obama one last chance to drop his executive privilege claim over the DOJ documents that Issa wants to see. (The LAT quotes the report as saying it’s based on “the best information available as of now.”) If he does that, then the report will be held back while GOP investigators go through the new evidence. If he doesn’t do it, then the GOP can argue that there must be nothing in those e-mails that exculpates any of the five guys they’ve named. Your move, champ.