DOJ Officials Resign after Fast and Furious Report

Eric Holder / WC
• September 20, 2012 12:53 pm


A report on the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s gun-walking scandal has resulted in two resignations and 12 employee referrals for discipline, according to Politico.

The DOJ’s inspector general issued a report that fingered 14 individuals for inappropriate handling of Operation Fast and Furious. Two of them, former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein, resigned Wednesday.

Politico wrote, citing the report:

"Our review of Operation Fast and Furious and related matters revealed a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment, and management failures that permeated ATF headquarters and the Phoenix Field Division, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona," Inspector General Michael Horowitz writes in the report. "Individuals ranging from line agents and prosecutors in Phoenix and Tucson to senior ATF officials in Washington, D.C. … bore a share of responsibility for ATF’s knowing failure … to interdict firearms illegally destined for Mexico, and for doing so without adequately taking into account the danger to public safety that flowed from this risky strategy."

Attorney General Eric Holder viewed the report as clearing him from any associated guilt with the scandal, as "The investigators found Holder didn’t know about the operation or its controversial tactics until after the scandal emerged," Politico wrote.

Holder chastised those who "were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts."

The report, according to Politico, "essentially clears Attorney General Eric Holder … of any wrongdoing or errors in judgment."

Republicans vehemently disagree with this analysis.

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona—where boarder patrol agent Brian Terry was killed, setting off the scandal—said, "It’s obvious it’s one of those things where either way, the attorney general can be blamed for what happened. Either he didn’t know and should have, or he did and he hasn’t ‘fessed up to Congress."

Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who spearheaded an investigation into the scandal, did not back down from his criticism of the Attorney General.

He said on Fox News, "Attorney General Holder didn’t ask the questions, didn’t read the memos … Eric Holder didn’t do his job."

Weinstein, who served in the DOJ for 15 years, decried the Inspector General’s accusations in his resignation letter, declaring the accusation that he did not report the gun walking in Fast and Furious "demonstrably false." He bemoaned the "dynamic of internal investigations of this nature" that result in singling out "someone … for blame."

Holder’s reluctance to release documents related to the scandal resulted in Congress holding him in contempt in June.