Politics
Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo: AP) Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo: AP)  

Paul Ryan: Eric Holder must go over Fast and Furious

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

As the congressional investigation has progressed, the Department of Justice’s internal Office of Inspector General has conducted its own investigation. Despite claims from Holder that a recently released report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz “exonerates” or “clears” him from responsibility for Fast and Furious, Horowitz testified before Congress that his report does not clear Holder.

Horowitz told the House oversight committee that his team found that almost everyone inside Holder’s inner circle knew about the nefarious aspects of Fast and Furious and that Holder should have known about it, even if his investigation found no evidence that he did.

“We found, as we outlined in the report, we struggle to understand how an operation of this size, of this importance, that impacted another country like it did, could not have been briefed up to the attorney general of the United States,” Horowitz said. “It should have been, in our view. It was that kind of a case.”

Top Obama DOJ officials who have not been held accountable for their roles in Fast and Furious, according to Congress and the inspector general, include Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who runs DOJ’s criminal division, and Holder Chief of Staff Gary Grindler. Grindler was promoted from deputy attorney general to his current position about two weeks after Terry was murdered. Grindler was informed of the murder’s connection to Fast and Furious the night Terry was shot to death.

Though the Obama administration provided more information about Fast and Furious to Horowitz for his investigation than to Congress, the White House obstructed his investigation as well.

Former White House National Security Council staffer Kevin O’Reilly — who was intimately involved in Fast and Furious planning with Phoenix ATF officials, according to emails obtained throughout the congressional investigation — has since been reassigned by the Department of State to a detail in Iraq. Obama administration officials have refused to make O’Reilly available to congressional investigators, or to Horowitz’s internal DOJ investigation.

In their report, Horowitz’s team also wrote that “[t]he White House did not produce to us any internal White House communications.”

Horowitz said the Department of Homeland Security also impeded his investigation, citing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent “who was assigned to Operation Fast and Furious on a full time basis [but] declined our request for a voluntary interview.”

That ICE agent, he added, requested immunity from prosecution and declined to be interviewed unless it was granted.

“There was an agent from the Department of Homeland Security that was assigned to the operation,” Horowitz said during a congressional hearing on Sept. 20.

“As part of our effort to be thorough and interview all people who might have relevant information, we reached out. He, again, is outside the Department of Justice, so he declined our voluntary request to be interviewed by us.

“We sought through the Department of Homeland Security to speak to him, and we understood that, absent being compelled — and given immunity — that he would not speak voluntarily. That request was declined, is my understanding.”

Horowitz and congressional investigators plan to continue their respective investigations.

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