Maybe they think they got away with it. Former President Barack Obama is now living as a private citizen in Washington, D.C., and traveling to give paid speeches telling anyone who will listen how he was so much better than the current administration. And he is doing this even though he hid behind executive privilege after his administration was caught purposely allowing guns to be run to Mexico.
His former attorney general, Eric Holder—a man held in contempt of Congress for clearly obstructing a congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious—is now getting paid a staggering $25,000 a month to serve as outside counsel to advise the state of California on how to legally derail the Trump administration.
Maybe the state of California thinks he got away with it, too.“[Holder] will be our lead litigator, and he will have a legal team of expert lawyers on the issues of climate change, women and civil rights, the environment, immigration, voting rights—to name just a few,” Senate leader Kevin de León told the LA Times, which added that “[s]uch a task typically falls to the state attorney general.”
Maybe the state of California thinks he got away with it, too.
Maybe that’s why they hired him. Congress, however, is still working to tell the behind-the-scenes story of what happened during and after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) got caught telling gun store owners near the U.S.-Mexico border to sell known gun runners all the guns they wanted. ATF then looked the other way when the guns turned up at crime scenes in Mexico. This asinine secret ATF operation only came to light after two of the rifles the ATF purposely allowed to go into the arsenals of Mexican drug cartels were found at a murder scene where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry had been gunned down in service of country.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, along with their staffs and committees, put together a 262-page tell-all report to set the record straight.
This report is the third in a series of joint staff reports. The first, released on July 31, 2012, described the role the ATF had in Operation Fast and Furious. The second, released on Oct. 29, 2012, described the DOJ's role in approving the operation and failing to halt its tactics. This new report, just released last week, describes the DOJ’s obstruction of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious during the period from Feb. 4, 2011, through the date of the House Oversight Committee subpoena, Oct. 11, 2011. A subsequent report will later address the continued congressional investigation.
This new congressional report details how Holder’s DOJ tried to hide the facts from the loved ones of Agent Terry and actually considered the Terry family to be a “nuisance.”If the Obama administration, and particularly Eric Holder, got away almost unscathed—thanks to a national media that mostly looked the other way—then, at least, these detailed reports won’t let them get away with it in the history books.
This new congressional report details how Holder’s DOJ tried to hide the facts from the loved ones of Agent Terry and actually considered the Terry family to be a “nuisance.”
The report reveals emails that show that Obama administration officials deliberately limited the amount of information they shared with the Terry family. In one example, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse Figueroa had emailed others in the DOJ to say, “We are making a mistake by attempting to reason with the stepmother and the brother. Lisa and I have been dealing with them since the start of this case. ... Stepmom is irrational and I firmly believe she and the brother enjoy being in the limelight. Whatever they are told will not change their irrationality and will just cause them to contact the news. If they learned about our hope for a wire I have no doubt that would have been on news also. We should deal only with the intelligent side of the family. …”
Can you imagine being a member of a bereaved family who had recently lost a son and brother to an armed criminal gang from another country, only to be treated this way when you ask your own country’s officials for answers?
When presenting this report, Sen. Grassley testified that DOJ and ATF officials obstructed his investigation. Also, one of those ATF agents who became a whistleblower, John Dodson, testified that when he stood up to say, “'What we are doing is wrong’ … [it] instantly took my standing from being that of an agent of the government to an enemy of the state. ATF and DOJ officials implemented an all-out campaign to silence and discredit me. ... Suffice to say, the last six to seven years at ATF have not been the best for me or my career.”
As a result, the so-called “internal investigation” into who approved and ran Operation Fast and Furious was, according to this congressional report, “largely a sham,” and it “prioritized politics and spin over public safety.”As whistleblowers like Dodson were testifying, emails in the report show that Holder was aggressively trying to obstruct the congressional investigation. On April 15, 2011, then-Attorney General Holder wrote to his senior advisers: “Issa and his idiot cronies never gave a damn about this when all that was happening was that thousands of Mexicans were being killed with guns from our country. All they want to do—in reality—is cripple ATF and suck up to the gun lobby. Politics at its worst—maybe the media will get it.” Later in 2011, Holder expressed his disdain for Rep. Issa when he emailed his senior advisers in response to a news article citing Issa: “Why don’t we just answer this a-----e by stating the facts and go on offense. ...”
As a result, the so-called “internal investigation” into who approved and ran Operation Fast and Furious was, according to this congressional report, “largely a sham,” and it “prioritized politics and spin over public safety.”
At one point, the report documents Holder’s order to reply to coverage from The Washington Post, which was hardly running a Watergate-style investigation. Holder said, “Hit back HARD.”
Reading this report is infuriating. And it must be even harder for Mexico’s officials, as many more people have been murdered in Mexico with these guns that the ATF told gun-store owners to sell to known gun runners.
Also, it is obvious as you digest this report that there was never a real effort to track down the more than 1,400 guns that went unaccounted for. There was also little punishment for the officials who approved and oversaw this operation that armed criminal gangs.
No, it is clear that after approving and running this mad operation, all Obama’s DOJ was concerned with was hiding the truth—much of which is still hidden.Frank Miniter is the author of Kill Big Brother, a novel that shows how to keep government from infringing on our liberties. Miniter is also the author of the The New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood, This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.