This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I’m the top Republican, convened a biannual oversight hearing
with Attorney General Eric Holder. While any topic could come up, I focused my verbal questions to the Attorney General on Operation Fast and Furious, the disastrous program that allowed guns to fall into the hands of straw purchasers and often be found in the possession of Mexican drug cartels. I’ve been conducting an investigation into this strategy since January.
I’ll be following up with the Attorney General in writing with questions on a number of other subjects. I’d also like answers to questions about the policy to end transportation checks for illegal immigrants on the northern border, the department’s conference budget, the broken system of reviewing FBI whistleblower cases, and the department’s attempt to use the tragic failure in Fast and Furious as a pretext to call for new, stricter gun laws.
It struck me during the hearing that Attorney General Holder didn’t seem to be alarmed that nobody notified him that the guns found at federal Agent Brian Terry’s murder scene were from Fast and Furious. It seems to me that the Justice Department staff has done a real disservice, to both the Attorney General and the American people, by failing to notify him first, of the gunwalking strategy, and second, of the guns found at the Terry murder scene.
And, while he said that he regretted the fact that the department provided false information
to Congress, it’s unclear what he will be doing to hold accountable those in the department who knew it was false. It’s unconscionable that a federal agency would let such a misleading letter stand for more than nine months. The head of the Criminal Division knew it was false
, his deputy knew it was false, the whistleblowers knew it was false, the documents suggested it was false, and I discovered it was false—but, if Congress had relied on the department’s official talking points, we still wouldn’t know the truth today.
In the end, there can’t be any excuses. The Attorney General needs to start holding people accountable. The American people, and especially the families of the slain federal agents, deserve better of our Justice Department.
November 11, 2011