Holder still hasn’t talked ‘Fast and Furious’ with Clinton, Napolitano, Obama

Matthew Boyle | Investigative Reporter

During his testimony about Operation Fast and Furious before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said that he still hasn’t discussed the deadly scandal with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano or President Barack Obama.

Holder’s admission that he hasn’t taken the initiative to discuss how the government should handle this scandal came during an exchange he had with Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

“I had an opportunity in the Judiciary Committee to ask you questions on Dec. 8, 2011,” Chaffetz said when questioning Holder on Thursday. “I had asked you if you had spoken to President Obama, Secretary Clinton or Secretary Napolitano. You said that you had not spoken to either of those three about Fast and Furious. Is that still true today?”

Holder responded that he has not discussed the scandal with Clinton or Napolitano. As for Obama, Holder said he hasn’t had any substantive discussions about the scandal. “I’ve had passing conversations with the president just about the facts of my testifying in connection of Fast and Furious,” Holder said.

It has been more than one year since weapons Holder’s Department of Justice provided to the Mexican drug cartels were used to murder Border Patrol agent Brian Terry

Holder went on to say that he thinks the reason people in the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and other parts of government haven’t talked to him about Fast and Furious is the high level of publicity that hearings such as Thursday’s have received. (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)

“When people know that I’m going to be the subject of these kinds of hearings — six times and all that — nobody necessarily wants to get involved in these kinds of things, or get dragged into it, and then have some interaction or conversation that I had with them be made more than it is,” Holder said. “I understand when people don’t necessarily want to talk to me about Fast and Furious, knowing that at lower levels —”

Chaffetz interjected at that point, asking, “So you know that they’re witholding information from you.”

Holder: No, they’re not.

Chaffetz: You just said that they’re not going to provide you the information because they don’t want to drag you into it.

Holder: I said they didn’t want to have conversations with me.

Chaffetz: Isn’t that withholding information? If you can’t tell the boss what’s really going on, you’re going to be oblivious to what’s going on.

Holder: We’re talking about cabinet-level people. And I’m saying that the people who work under them, either DHS, State, other executive branch agencies, are certainly providing information to the Justice Department so that we have access to what ever information necessary.

With Holder admitting he hasn’t spoken to Clinton or Napolitano about the scandal that killed 300 Mexican citizens in addition to Terry, and possibly killed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata, he may find himself in more trouble. It’s a line of questioning Chaffetz has taken with Holder almost every chance he has gotten, and Holder essentially admitted that he did not follow up on what Chaffetz had asked him to do in December.

In addition, the foreign policy element of Fast and Furious continues to be one that is largely ignored. But, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa told The Daily Caller before last week’s hearing that he thinks Holder should apologize to Mexico just like how he eventually apologized to Terry’s mother.

Holder apologized to Terry’s mother after Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn asked him why he hadn’t. But, before Terry’s mother had a chance to read Holder’s apology, he leaked the letter to Politico.

“Justice has blood on their hands,” Issa, who has led the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, said during an exclusive interview with TheDC, referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The attorney general, as the head of Justice, has to explain that to the families of survivors,” Issa continued. “Yes, he should find a way to make it very clear to our neighbors to the south — at least to the government and at least publicly —that there needs to be deep regret for what happened and there needs to be reassurances that it never happens again.”

Thus far, 103 members of the House have either demanded Holder’s ouster or signed a resolution of “no confidence” in him, or both. They’re joined by three U.S. senators, two sitting governors and all the major Republican presidential candidates.

House Speaker John Boehner, however, remains silent on whether he backs the 103 House members — and others — formally expressing dissatisfaction with Holder. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel has dodged and refused to answer questions on the matter for months.

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