Sheila Jackson Lee: This F&F debacle started under Bush

This is getting tiresome. The Right Scoop grabbed this clip of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on C-SPAN reprimanding Republicans’ investigation into deadly gunwalking scandal Fast & Furious by — yet again — chalking it up to one of President Obama’s ‘inherited’ problems.

“This Fast and Furious debacle started under the Bush administration, and it is been evidenced by various reports that it started with the ATL office in Arizona unbeknownst to leadership in Washington D.C., at least leadership that came in under the Obama administration in this instance, Eric Holder. … We have to be adults in this process, particularly when we’re trying to get to the bottom of the, of the issue of Fast and Furious. … And so I defend the general, one, on the service that he has given to this country, over decades of public service in the federal law enforcement, and the work that he is doing in the area of civil rights, in the area of federal crimes, in the area of mortgage relief, settlements that he’s brought about because of that, and the help that he has given in patent law and inventions in terms of protection, and trust. …”

On several occasions during the multiple hearings at which he’s testified, Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly (and smugly) tried to assuage his investigators by insisting that Operation Wide Receiver, which was implemented under the Bush administration, was the template for Operation Fast and Furious. Firstly, as Rep. Dennis Ross noted during this morning’s Oversight Committee meeting, comparing F&F and Wide Receiver is a “red herring” the DOJ is using to try and redirect blame back on the Bush administration — the tactics used in the two operations were fundamentally different. Secondly, the DOJ just retracted Holder’s statement last week that his Bush-administration predecessor had been briefed on the operation. Here’s the memo from Sen. Chuck Grassley:

Re: Second retraction of Fast and Furious Assertions

Da: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Justice Department has retracted a second statement made to the Senate Judiciary Committee. During a hearing last week, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that his predecessor, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had been briefed about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver. Now, the Department is retracting that statement and claiming Holder “inadvertently” made that claim to the Committee. The Department’s letter failed to apologize to former Attorney General Mukasey for the false accusation. This is the second major retraction the Justice Department has made in the last seven months. In December 2011, the Department retracted its claim that the ATF had not allowed illegally purchased guns to be trafficked to Mexico. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s letter and the Department’s response can be viewed here-1.

Grassley made the following comment on these developments.

“This is the second time in nearly seven months that the Department has gotten its facts wrong about gunwalking. Attorney General Holder accused Attorney General Mukasey, without producing any evidence, of having been briefed on gunwalking in Wide Receiver. The case Attorney General Mukasey was briefed on, Hernandez, is fundamentally different from both Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious since it involved cooperation with the Mexican government. Attorney General Holder’s retraction should have included an apology to the former Attorney General.

As Rep. Trey Gowdy vociferously pointed out during the Oversight meeting this morning, it doesn’t matter what party this operation came from or what other administrations have done in the past — none of that does anything to mitigate the fact that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is dead, killed with guns that the U.S. government allowed to freely walk across the border to Mexican drug cartels. Righteousness demands that we figure out how and why this happen, regardless of whether or not AG Eric Holder has a good record on “civil rights” and “patent law.”

Heh. I think it’s safe to say that he voted “yes” on holding Eric Holder in contempt.

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