Thursday, September 20, 2012

And the buck is passed...

The DOJ's internal review is complete, the report is out, and the fall guys for Operation Fast and Furious have been chosen. Right now, it appears fall-guy-in-chief will be former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein (he resigned yesterday), followed closely by former acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Holder’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson, and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer (who is in charge of the the DOJ's Criminal Division).

Conveniently, all but Breuer are no longer working for the DOJ. But Breuer's failures--according to the 471 page report, which took 19 months to complete--are limited to issues of notification: supposedly, he failed to pass on information about Fast and Furious to Holder and others. Moreover, Breuer knows where other bodies are buried. He'll likely survive all of this with little more than a stern reprimand.

Holder is, himself, claiming total vindication, saying the following in a statement released after the report:
I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now:

The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006;

The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and

The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it.
So to sum up, according to Holder, this was really the fault of the DOJ under Bush and the people in charge of the DOJ--like himself--didn't know what was going on. Right. Got it.

The problem with this--relative to the report--is that the people cited above for the screw-ups--Weinstein, Breuer, Grindler, and Wilkinson--were all appointed to their positions under the Obama Administration. They are Holder's people, each and every one of them.

Thus according to Holder, his people kept him in the dark--purposefully it would seem--on Fast and Furious. And Holder--along with the Administration and Congressional Democrats--thinks this vindicates Holder? In his statement, Holder continues this trumpeting:
It is unfortunate that some were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts about these operations – accusations that turned out to be without foundation and that have caused a great deal of unnecessary harm and confusion. I hope today’s report acts as a reminder of the dangers of adopting as fact unsubstantiated conclusions before an investigation of the circumstances is completed.
It seems to me that what we really have here is a 400+ page report detailing a Department of Justice without any leadership, with a largely clueless Attorney General completely out of the loop on what was going on under his watch. And that's if we take the report--an internal report done by the DOJ's own Inspector General--at face value. We have either a massive cover-up at Justice, or a total buffoon at the helm. Or both.

Cheers, all.

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