It took Holder almost a full year to apologize to Terry’s mother, father and family for his murder in Peck Canyon. Both Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Barack Obama had already made formal apologies to the family in one way or another.
Napolitano reportedly came to Terry’s funeral with a letter from Obama in hand, and the president reportedly made an additional follow-up phone call. But Holder resisted apologizing until public pressure and a scathing line of questioning from Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing essentially forced his hand.
Holder finally sent a letter to Terry’s family during the second week of November 2011 — about eleven months after Terry was murdered. DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, dubbed Holder’s “spin mistress” by former DOJ civil rights attorney J. Christian Adams, was likely the Justice official who leaked that letter to Politico before Terry’s mother had a chance to read it.
The resulting scandal has led 57 congressmen, two senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors to call for Holder’s resignation. All of them are Republicans. Even some Democrats have criticized the administration for the program, but none has called for Holder to step aside.
The Terry family’s lifelong congressman, Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, is one of them.
While Dingell has been vocal about pushing for answers about Operation Fast and Furious, he has not called for Holder to resign and doesn’t believe Holder is responsible.
Before Holder’s most recent congressional appearance, Dingell told The Daily Caller he wanted to see what the attorney general had to say during his testimony.
“As I mentioned in my previous statement, Operation Fast and Furious was grossly irresponsible,” Dingell said in a Wednesday evening statement to TheDC.
“Over the years, I have been a harsh critic of ATF. It is clear in my mind that ‘gun-walking’ tactics are illogical and should never have been used. I was outraged the day I learned about this behavior, and I am still outraged to this day. Furthermore, the fact that a constituent of mine, Agent Brian Terry, was killed in the line of duty because of this gross negligence on behalf of ATF makes this situation even more serious. Someone lost his life defending our nation because of the irresponsible decisions of a few.”
During the Dec. 8 hearing, Holder avoided answering questions about whether he withheld emails and documents about the gun-walking program from congressional investigators — possibly including emails to and from him. Holder also refused to agree to voluntarily testify before the House oversight committee.
Now that the hearing is over, Dingell says he’s waiting for reports from the Justice Department’s inspector general — an investigation that has been compromised for months — and from various congressional committees.
“Congressional committees and the inspector general are currently conducting investigations into this matter,” Dingell said. “I have every reason to believe the IG and my Congressional colleagues are being thorough in their investigations, and I am confident they will do a good job. I am greatly looking forward to reviewing these reports, and if further evidence of wrongdoing by any parties is found then those parties certainly should be held accountable.”