The Corner

Washington, Furioso

Let’s cut right to the chase:

So now the Fast and Furious affair has reached Stage 2 of the classic Washington scandal: House Republicans have called for a special counsel to investigate Attorney General Eric Holder himself for possible perjury.

Justice Department documents indicate that Holder knew of the operation way back in July 2010 — far earlier than the “in the last few weeks” that he told congressional investigators under oath last May.

Memos from Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and others to Holder clearly show the scope, if not the nature, of the disastrous project: “This investigation, initiated in September 2009 . . . involves . . . straw purchasers [who] are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug cartels.”

As Robert notes below, there’s no smoking gun in the — heavily redacted — memos, but they certainly indicate that Holder’s protestations of ignorance before a congressional committee, under oath, need to be, shall we say, clarified, revised, and extended. 

The heavily redacted memos don’t explicitly implicate ATF and other federal agencies in an illegal scheme, as ATF whistleblowers have alleged. But if there’s a coverup going on, why would they?

And coverup there seems to be. On top of stonewalling Rep. Darrell Issa’s House investigation of the mess, Justice has floated a series of contradictory excuses:

* There was no such program.

* Even if there were, Holder never knew about it.

* Even if he should have known about it, he might not have read Breuer’s memos.

* Even if he read Breuer’s memos, he misunderstood the simple question: “When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?”

The story up to now has almost everything except sex, although it did just get a dollop of the “blame Bush” meme:

With the recent exposure of another apparent “gunwalking” operation, Wide Receiver, that may date back to the Bush administration, some are already pushing a “Bush-did-it-too” meme. If true, it shows the rot at Justice goes deeper than we thought — but it has nothing to do with whether Holder may have committed perjury.

If Holder is so innocent, why, sources inside Justice say, are folks there engaging in a panicked orgy of finger-pointing and blame-shifting?

Naturally, most of the media is AWOL. Since the arrival of Obama, the abdication by the press of its historic duties has been stupefying. But no one should be surprised: most of the top MSM reporters came of age in the sixties, torn between working for social justice as lawyers or as journalists. For them, Obama represents the culmination of everything they have fought for and believed in since they were in their twenties. Don’t expect them to turn on him — or even subject him to the kind of scrutiny they used to routinely give all politicians — ever.

Their egos are too big to let him fail.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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