House Judiciary chairman: DOJ resignation over gun scandal only ‘a step in the right direction’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith said the Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation into Operation Fast and Furious — and the resignation of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein — is “a step in the right direction” but hardly a full resolution to the gunwalking scandal.

“The Inspector General’s report confirms what we’ve known all along — that the Justice Department failed to properly oversee a program that allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico, endangering public safety and ultimately contributing to the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry,” Smith said in a statement Wednesday.

“The report found that senior officials at DOJ and ATF should have asked questions about Operation Fast and Furious to determine details of the program before signing off on wiretap applications. Administration officials were so careless that even when reports confirmed the risks of Operation Fast and Furious, no one did anything to stop the program.”

“The Inspector General found that the Justice Department not only failed to properly oversee the program, but also repeatedly made false and misleading statements to Congress about the existence of the gun-walking,” Smith added. “It is clear that the individuals responsible for overseeing this program were not up to the task then and do not deserve to remain in their positions now.”

Smith said Weinstein’s resignation is a “step in the right direction toward taking responsibility for the negligence that led to Agent Terry’s death” but that Attorney General Eric Holder also needs to be held accountable. “But the Attorney General also must take responsibility for his lack of leadership that contributed to the Fast and Furious fiasco,” Smith said.

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