A new wave of pressure is mounting on disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder to resign after an in-depth investigation by Univision, a Spanish-language media broadcaster, uncovered evidence that guns handed to drug cartels by the Obama administration under operation Fast and Furious were used to massacre Mexican youths in addition to U.S. federal agents. Despite already having been held in contempt of Congress for the ongoing cover-up, however, Holder has steadfastly refused to step down.
The special investigation by Univision of the deadly scandal concluded that more than 100 weapons provided to criminals by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) were used in Mexico to commit brutal crimes so far. Among those murdered with Fast and Furious guns: “16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juárez in January of 2010,” according to Univision. Most of those victims were teenagers.
Other Fast and Furious massacres documented by Univision claimed even more innocent lives — many of them just high school students. Hundreds of other Mexican deaths including the murder of a state prosecutor’s brother have also been linked to the ATF weapons, according to official estimates in Mexico. There will undoubtedly be more as the fallout continues.
The two “drug lords” being targeted in the federal scheme, meanwhile, already worked for the FBI, official e-mails obtained by Congress show. Other official documents exposed top administration officials conspiring to exploit the Fast and Furious bloodbath to push for more restrictions on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. In all, thousands of firearms were handed to violent cartels under the Obama administration’s program.
Two of those guns turned up at the crime scene where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered in late 2010 — the incident that finally prompted brave ATF whistleblowers to come forward. Another Fast and Furious weapon was recovered after it was reportedly used to murder U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata and to shoot his partner.
“Furthermore, some of these guns — none of which were reported by congressional investigators — were put in the hands of drug traffickers in Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Colombia,” Univision reported, confirming previous reports by activists. “A person familiar with the recent congressional hearings called Univision’s findings ‘the holy grail’ that Congress had been searching for.”
The television network’s anchor Jorge Ramos also recently asked President Obama why Holder had not yet been fired over the scandal. Obama responded by falsely blaming the George W. Bush administration, which was also using “gun-walking” but had nothing to do with the Fast and Furious scandal.
In the wake of the special investigation, however, activists and lawmakers are renewing their push to have Holder resign or be fired — and eventually, if warranted, prosecuted. The Attorney General was already held in criminal contempt on a bipartisan vote, but he is currently abusing his position as Justice Department boss to shield himself from prosecution. Activists are trying to have him disbarred, too.
More than 130 members of Congress have already called on Holder to step down, with GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan adding his voice to the growing chorus this week. Republican candidate Mitt Romney said last year that Holder should resign or be fired, too. “It’s unacceptable for him to continue in that position now given the fact that he has misled Congress and entirely botched the investigation of the Fast and Furious program,” Romney explained.
After Univision’s investigation, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) sprang into action as well, saying Holder provided “false and misleading information” to Congress and that many innocent lives were lost due to the administration’s “illegal actions.” By this morning, over 100,000 people had joined the effort to have Holder resign — and the numbers were growing quickly.
“After a year of stonewalling and claiming that the White House was not involved, they claimed Executive Privilege. This means either they have not been telling the truth about White House involvement or it’s another Obama power grab. Enough is enough,” the ACLJ said. “The nation deserves a chief law enforcement officer who is dedicated to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution — not playing politics. It's time to make a change. It's time for the Attorney General to resign.”
Separately, a recent report by the Justice Department Inspector General — dubbed a “whitewash” and a “joke” by critics — also added to the growing outcry, pointing the finger at top officials in the DOJ and the ATF. Fourteen of them were recommended to be considered for disciplinary measures. While much of the establishment press falsely claimed the investigation had “cleared” Holder, however, the reality is far different.
“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,” DOJ Inspector General Horowitz said in recent congressional testimony. “It should have been, in our view. It was that kind of a case.”
Essentially, then, Holder’s defense is that he had no idea his top officials were trafficking thousands of high-powered weapons to murderous Mexican drug cartels. According to critics, even if that were true — highly unlikely, say experts who have followed the case closely — it means the nation’s chief law enforcement officer does not even know what is going on within his own department.
“The Congressman's position is that the housekeeping that needs to be done to restore confidence in the DOJ should start immediately with Obama asking for Holder's resignation,” a spokesperson for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) told The Hill after the investigation was released. “This report shows that the best defense Attorney General has was that he was asleep at the wheel, not reading his briefing materials and not calling for accountability within his department. Everyone involved should have their positions and roles reevaluated but it all starts at the top with Holder being the first to go.”
Even more serious, according to analysts, is the fact that the White House and more than a few senior officials — including top figures at the DOJ and a representative from the Department of Homeland Security — refused to cooperate with the investigation. Activists say that until the Obama administration comes clean and all documents are released, the true perpetrators of Fast and Furious will probably not be held accountable.
“The White House did not produce to us any internal White House communications, noting that ‘the White House is beyond the purview of the Inspector General’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Department of Justice programs and personnel,’” the DOJ report states. Among the Fast and Furious characters who declined to be interviewed was a member of Obama’s National Security Staff, Kevin O’Reilly, who has since been transferred to Iraq.
Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council (LEOAC) chief Andy Ramirez called the official report “a joke,” pointing out that the Inspector General does not represent an independent and neutral entity. The law enforcement expert who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions said that, according to his sources, Holder, Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and even the White House were intimately involved in the scandal — or at the very least aware of it.
“The IG works for the U.S. Attorney General,” Ramirez told The New American, calling for a GAO investigation and an independent special prosecutor to determine the facts. “There have been so many years of willful lies in official statements, testimony, and legal actions they have almost zero credibility. In fact, the cover-ups by, at minimum, the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are so well known and noted by insiders that this report is a joke.”
With the outrage and the number of body bags continuing to grow, even Democrats are getting weary of being tainted with the stench of the administration’s Fast and Furious scandal. Calls for criminal prosecutions of everyone involved are getting louder, too. Whether justice will ever be served, though, remains unclear.
Photo of Attorney General Eric Holder: AP Images