Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar told The Daily Caller that Attorney General Eric Holder’s race-card play to attack his critics is “absolutely horrendous.” But Gosar said he thinks race may have played a role in the Department of Justice’s execution of Operation Fast and Furious — but in a different way from how Holder is framing it.
“He [Holder] brought up the race card, and while I think it’s absolutely horrendous that he would bring up the race card, in Fast and Furious, we were in fact impugning the Mexican people,” Gosar said in a phone interview. “About 300 people have lost their lives.”
“When the attorney general brings up the race card, he’d better be very, very careful — particularly for the Hispanics and what’s happened to them,” Gosar adds. “He’s been very insensitive, not only to the [U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian] Terry family in making an apology and making it very public, but where’s the apology to the Mexican government and the families of the victims in Mexico?”
In a front page Sunday New York Times story this weekend, Holder said an unspecified faction of his critics — which he called the “more extreme segment” — is driven to criticize both him and President Barack Obama because of the color of their skin.
“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder said, according to the Times. “Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”
Gosar said documents and testimony have proven that Holder’s inner circle, which includes DOJ Criminal Division head Assistant Attorney General Breuer and Holder’s current chief of staff, former Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, was well aware of the major pieces of this puzzle.
Breuer, he said, knew the details of what happened during the Bush administration’s Operation Wide Receiver. In that program, a more limited number of guns were allowed to “walk” into Mexico, but in coordination with the Mexican government.
There are documents, complete with Grindler’s own handwriting, proving he knew the details of Operation Fast and Furious as early as Spring 2010.
But Gosar said the DOJ higher-ups’ intimate knowledge of what would happen with these Fast and Furious weapons after they were allowed to walk into Mexico didn’t stop Holder’s Justice Department from plowing forward with the operation.
“Even with cooperation from the Mexican government [during Operation Wide Receiver] and with surveillance and with tracking, we lost over half of the 200 guns that were walked,” Gosar said. “What were they expecting to happen [in Operation Fast and Furious]?”
“So, were they racially profiling or not by allowing this to happen to the Mexican people?,” Gosar asks. “They knew the guns would end up in drug cartels’ hands and criminals’ hands. They were going to be used to kill people. So, were they racially motivated? That’s what I want to ask the attorney general.”
Gosar, like many of his colleagues, is convinced Holder either knew of Fast and Furious or should have known about it, given the facts that have come out thus far.
“What I’ve said over and over again is ‘you’re responsible for the actions of the people below you’ and particularly, it’s hard to believe that your chief of staff [Grindler] knew this intricately and your Assistant Attorney General [Breuer] too,” Gosar explains. “The White House National Security office knew about it. And, you didn’t know about this? No one sent you text messages or emails or you don’t talk to anybody? You’ve never talked to [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano or [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton about it?’ People look at that and go ‘horse crap. The hell you don’t.’”
Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.
At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown. Allegations have surfaced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was also killed with Fast and Furious weapons.
Sixty-two congressmen, two senators, two sitting governors and every major Republican presidential candidate have demanded Holder’s ouster over the resulting scandal. And 85 congressmen have signed a House resolution of “no confidence” in Holder as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. Between the two lists, which don’t perfectly overlap, 97 members of the House have “no confidence” in Holder, believe he should resign or both.
The latest cosponsors the no-confidence resolution include Republican Reps. Joe Heck of Nevada, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Don Manzullo of Illinois and Richard Nugent of Florida.
No Democrats have signed on, or called for Holder’s resignation. Likeother members of Congress and some political analysts, Gosar expects this scandal to turn into President Barack Obama’s Watergate, or worse.
“This isn’t a political agenda item,” Gosar said. “This is about our Second Amendment rights and this is about what’s right and wrong. You’ve got Mexican people dying. Where is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in calling for accountability? Why aren’t they calling for Justice? That’s the whole point here. This defies all logic. And, you know what? I hope it doesn’t get too late for them to help push for accountability because there’s good people on both sides, Republicans and Democrats.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been largely absent in fighting for justice for the at least 300 dead Mexican citizens who were killed because of Fast and Furious. When TheDC confronted the CHC’s chairman, outgoing Texas Democratic Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, he said he doesn’t think Holder should resign and that Holder isn’t personally responsible for every operation his DOJ carried out.
“You can never expect that the person at the very top, who may have some knowledge of the operation, is going to be there for the day-to-day operations and the intricacies and the carrying out of the specific aspects of it,” Gonzalez said.
Two other CHC members, New York Democratic Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jose Enrique Serrano, were entirely unaware of the scandal when TheDC asked them about it earlier this month.
Gosar said Velazquez and Serrano should be fighting for accountability for the more than 300 dead Mexican nationals.
“There is no reason, absolutely no reason, that if you haven’t read your periodicals that come up every morning and you don’t see your headlines coming through from leadership, you got your head in the sand and you don’t want to know about it,” Gosar said. “That’s what’s really sad because do you really represent the Hispanics in this country and the Hispanics across the globe? You better know something about it and you better be asking for accountability.”
The Republican National Committee has threatened to make the gun-walking scandal a major 2012 election theme, and the National Rifle Association — upon which some Democrats depend for re-election campaign endorsements — is running television ads calling for Holder’s resignation.