Frustrated with U.S. Attorneys who disagreed with a decision to force a fellow U.S. Attorney to resign in the aftermath of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder advised in an email that his critics “can kiss my ass.”
Holder sent the email Aug. 30, 2011 in response to a Department of Justice deputy who relayed the news that around 25 U.S. Attorneys throughout the country were “upset” with how the forced resignation was handled.
The exchange is included in nearly 65,000 pages of emails related to Fast and Furious that DOJ was forced to turn over this week to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Wall Street Journal published the newest release on Friday.
The documents have been at the center of a multi-year battle between DOJ and Oversight chairman Darrell Issa. Though Holder has claimed to have had no knowledge of the failed operation until well after it was started, he has refused to turn over documents requested by Issa.
Congress voted in June 2012 to hold Holder in contempt for refusing to release the records. President Obama stepped in at the 11th hour and invoked executive privilege to block their release.
“Why wouldn’t we get the benefit of the doubt,” Holder wrote to the deputy, fuming at being second-guessed. “Assume we’re doing things for the right reasons and in the right way.”
“I’m counting to 10,” Holder wrote, using the parlance of a scolding parent.
Besides the U.S. attorney’s resignation, a top official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was reassigned in the aftermath of Fast and Furious.
In the operation, ATF intended to track approximately 2,000 guns sold at Arizona gun shops to see if they would end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. But the plan went awry when two of the firearms were found at the scene of the Dec. 2010 fatal shooting of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry.