Relax, Jim Treacher tells us. Everyone knows that the Obama administration has been scandal-free, except, y’know … for the scandals. Hot on the heels of the Washington Post bombshell on Solyndra, the Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle discovers that the Department of Justice apparently withheld information requested by Senator Charles Grassley on a Bush-era operation involving gun tracking in order to drop it in selected media leaks to make the Operation Fast and Furious investigation look partisan in nature:
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department sought to manipulate reporters’ coverage of Operation Fast and Furious during the days preceding a November 1 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, new emails obtained by The Daily Caller indicate.
Emails between senior Justice Department officials and investigators in the office of Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley show that congressional staffers leading the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious requested information about Operation Wide Receiver — a Bush administration program – and other similar cases, more than a full month before the DOJ leaked information to selected media outlets on October 31.
Grassley had asked Holder for information specific to Wide Receiver, although the excerpts Boyle uses don’t show Grassley using the operation name. The request itself asked for information on earlier operations in the Bush administration that had resulted in lost guns, specifically due to failure of intended interdiction by Mexican authorities. That underscored the glaring differences between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious, differences that Senator John Cornyn forced Holder to acknowledge in testimony last week — that the Bush administration had conducted its operation with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Mexican government and that the Bush administration actually tracked the weapons, unlike the ATF in F&F.
Despite having asked for this data weeks earlier, the DoJ withheld it from Grassley until October 31st — but not before leaking it to friendly media in a manner that obscured those key differences:
Instead, the Justice Department held the information and related documents until the night before Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Those documents showed Breuer was at least partially responsible for Fast and Furious. Breuer subsequently issued a statement apologizing for not stopping the ATF agents leading Fast and Furious from implementing the same failed tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver — information he confirmed he had in April 2010.
The DOJ selectively picked which news outlets received the leaked documents, and which documents were released.
Scandal-free, my foot. If this administration had nothing to hide, it wouldn’t be so desperate to manipulate the media and dodge Congressional oversight. It’s long past time for Eric Holder to resign. It might be time for the Senate to block all Obama nominees until he fires Holder.