As Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to resign from his position, new information emerges regarding his possible involvement in the Operation Fast and Furious “gun-walking” scandal.
Two days before Holder announced his resignation, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Department of Justice must release details on documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ must submit the materials sought by the watchdog group Judicial Watch no later than October 22. With his ruled Bates denied a motion for more time from the DOJ, stating “at best, it means the Department has been slow to react to this Court’s previous Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now.” The judge also called the government’s request for more time “unconvincing”.
Judicial Watch has been involved in several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against the Obama administration. Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks information related to the failed “gun running” plot known as Operation Fast and Furious in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knowingly sold guns to Mexican drug cartels.
According to a report in the LA Times:
“letting guns walk” was a tactic whereby the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders.”
The program lead to arrests of smaller criminals, but to date no cartel leaders have been arrested. Instead Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry lost his life, along with hundreds of Mexican citizens on the border. These deaths can be traced directly to weapons sold under Fast and Furious.
As much as the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder would like for this to go away, it has not. In fact, ATF agents have continued to speak out against the program. The Obama administration has fought efforts to clear up the whole debacle. On June 20, 2012 President Obama used executive privilege to keep the documents from the public. Holder was found in contempt by the House of Representatives for his refusal to hand over documents related to the operation.These documents likely indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder knew more than he admitted while under oath.
According to heavily redacted emails, Holder was told about Fast and Furious in memos in July, October and November 2010. On March 10th, 2011 Holder testified before a Senate subcommittee that he had just learned about the Fast and Furious gun-walking allegations.
On May 3 2011, he was asked by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, when he first learned about Fast and Furious. “I’m not sure of the exact date,” Holder claimed. “But I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” After the emails proved Holder’s prior knowledge he became the first sitting Attorney General to be held in contempt.
Judge Bates is not the only District Judge to rule on the case.