The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Photo: AP Photo: AP  

Another retraction: Holder withdraws claim that Bush’s attorney general knew about gunwalking

In the wake of President Barack Obama asserting executive privilege to withhold Operation Fast and Furious documents from Congress, the Department of Justice has withdrawn a second statement made to Congress because it was inaccurate.

During last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder had alleged that former Attorney General Michael Mukasey knew of gunwalking during the George W. Bush administration.

“An attorney general who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them — nothing,” Holder told Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn during that hearing. “Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.”

After the hearing, Grassley wrote to Holder asking him to provide evidence to back up his blaming Mukasey.

Instead of being able to facilitate evidence, though, according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office, Holder and the DOJ have now retracted that statement.

“This is the second time in nearly seven months that the Department has gotten its facts wrong about gunwalking,” Grassley said. “Attorney General Holder accused Attorney General Mukasey, without producing any evidence, of having been briefed on gunwalking in Wide Receiver. The case Attorney General Mukasey was briefed on, Hernandez, is fundamentally different from both Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious since it involved cooperation with the Mexican government. Attorney General Holder’s retraction should have included an apology to the former Attorney General.”

In his original request for evidence that supported the statements, Grassley said if Holder could not back the claim, he owed Mukasey an apology. Holder did not include an apology in the retraction. It’s unclear if the attorney general will apologize to Mukasey for the now-retracted statement. Holder spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler wouldn’t answer when The Daily Caller asked her.

“In his eagerness to blame the previous administration, Attorney General Holder got his facts wrong,” Grassley added. “And his tactic didn’t bring us any closer to understanding how a bad policy evolved and continued. Bad policy is bad policy, regardless of how many administrations carried it out. Ironically, the only document produced yesterday by the Department appears to show that senior officials in the Attorney General’s own Department were strategizing about how to keep gunwalking in both Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious under wraps.”

The first time Holder’s DOJ withdrew a statement to congress because of its inaccuracy was when now-former Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Sen. Grassley on Feb. 4, 2011, telling him that the DOJ and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives never allowed guns to walk. It wasn’t until several months later that Holder withdrew that false statement.

Follow Matthew on Twitter