Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DOJ Inspector General Report on Fast and Furious: Holder Incompetent but Innocent of wrongdoing

After reading the Executive Summary of the Inspector General's Report on Operation Fast and Furious, I'm struck by one thing. The biggest indictment of Attorney General Eric Holder may just be that he still has a job as Attorney General after these findings, not because the conclusions call for his removal but because Holder shouldn't be able to look himself in the mirror before going to work. Any real leader would literally step aside in utter disgrace or, at best, fall on the sword for his subordinates. If Holder does neither, he shouldn't have the trust of any subordinates.

Yes, Holder was found innocent of wrongdoing but the degree to which others close to him were found culpable makes him look like anything other than a leader.

As it was during the hearings and investigation, a huge stickling point for Holder is that now infamous February 4, 2011 letter in which the DOJ assured Senator Chuck Grassley that no gun-walking was taking place. DOJ didn't rescind that letter until December of 2011. It's clear, apparently even to IG Horowitz, that while the letter itself should not have been written, there is no way it should have taken ten months to rescind it.

From the Executive Summary via AZ Central:
The OIG concluded, as did the Department, that its February 4, 2011, response letter to Senator Grassley contained inaccuracies, particularly its assertion that ATF "makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico."

However, the OIG also found that, by March or April 2011, senior Department officials knew or should have known that ATF had not made "every effort to interdict weapons that [had] been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico," either in Operation Fast and Furious or other firearms trafficking investigations and therefore the February 4 letter contained inaccuracies.
Ok, so the IG says "senior Department officials" should have known the February 4th letter was bogus within one to two months of it being signed (not ten months afterward). Once you're talking about "senior Department officials", you're talking about Holder's inner circle. We're left to conclude that members of Holder's inner circle are culpable when it comes to not identifying the February 4th letter for what it was.

As such, shouldn't Holder by culpable as well? In fact, he should step aside before those identified by IG Horowitz do; it would be the most honorable thing to do.

Then again, the only thing Holder and honor have in common is that they both start with the letter "h".

As for the IG's analysis of how the February 4th letter got written...
The OIG found that a poorly executed information gathering and drafting process, as well as questionable judgments by Department officials, contributed to the Department's inclusion of inaccurate information in its February 4 response letter to Senator Grassley.

In preparing this letter, Department officials relied on information provided by senior component officials that was not accurate, primarily from U.S. Attorney Burke, ATF Acting Director Melson, and ATF Deputy Director Hoover. These officials failed to exercise appropriate oversight of the investigation, and to some extent were themselves receiving incorrect or incomplete information from their subordinates about it.
Once again, Holder's direct subordinates are guilty of "questionable judgments" and relying on information that was "not accurate". Horowitz then says theses "officials (Holder's immediate subordinates) failed to exercise appropriate oversight".

This next excerpt indicates a lack of leadership on the part of Holder, not by name, but based on what his immediate subordinates (plural) viewed as a correct course of action:
The OIG further concluded that the Department officials who had a role in drafting the February 4 letter should have done more to inform themselves about the allegations in Sen. Grassley's letter and should not have relied solely on the assurances of senior officials at ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office that the allegations were false.
Again, Holder's direct subordinates are fingered by Horowitz as being incompetent. Yet, Holder was whistling in blissful and ignorant solitude somewhere while his underlings - whom he hired - were making all of these bone-headed decisions?!

Perhaps most damning was an admission by Horowitz that the DOJ should have corrected the assertions in its February 4, 2011 letter in its May 2, 2011 letter in response to Grassley:
The OIG further concluded that, by the date of its May 2 response letter, senior Department officials responsible for drafting the letter also knew or should have known that ATF had not made "every effort to interdict weapons purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico," either in Operation Fast and Furious or other firearms trafficking investigations, and that the Department's February 4 letter contained inaccuracies and could no longer be defended in its entirety.
Rep. Darrell Issa's team has been very quick in sending out emails in response to this report. Here is an excerpt from a mass email I received from Frederick R. Hill, Director of Communications for the Oversight Committee:
IG Report’s Findings on why Attorney General Holder was not aware of Crucial Information about Operation Fast and Furious and Other Gunwalking (p. 453):

“We concluded that the Attorney General’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and the leadership of the Criminal Division failed to alert the Attorney General to significant information about or flaws in those investigations.”
Shouldn't Attorney General Holder be held accountable for the incompetence of multiple direct reports?

If Holder remains on as Attorney General, it will actually (and paradoxically) be the biggest indictment of him, based on the incompetence of the people who he is directly responsible for.

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