Holder on Fast & Furious: Justice didn't OK 'use of flawed strategy, tactics'
Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department "did not attempt to cover up information" about Fast and Furious.
September 19th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

Holder on Fast & Furious: Justice didn't OK 'use of flawed strategy, tactics'

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday released the following statement regarding Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious:

“I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now:

- The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006;

- The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and

- The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it.

“Beginning in 2011 - shortly after public concerns were first raised about Operation Fast and Furious - I referred this matter to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Throughout the next several months, I instituted significant policy reforms, stronger internal controls and made key personnel changes to prevent the flaws that plagued this investigation, as well as the earlier investigation, Operation Wide Receiver, from recurring. I’m pleased that the OIG report appropriately recognizes these reforms.

“Based upon the information in the OIG report and other related information, I am also announcing additional personnel changes today.

“First, Kenneth Melson, the former Acting Director at ATF, has retired from the Department, effective immediately. Ken has served the Department in several important roles for over 30 years, including as a United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and more recently as an advisor on forensic science issues. I want to thank him for his dedication and service to the Department over the last three decades.

“Second, those individuals within ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona, whom the OIG report found to have been responsible for designing, implementing or supervising Operation Fast and Furious, have been referred to the appropriate entities for review and consideration of potential personnel actions. Consistent with the requirements of the Privacy Act, the Department is prohibited from revealing any additional information about these referrals at this time.

“Finally, I have accepted the resignation of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, a longtime career prosecutor who most recently served in the Criminal Division where he led our violent and organized crime, computer crimes and intellectual property enforcement efforts. Jason has dedicated much of his career to fighting violent crime and has led highly successful efforts around the country in this effort. The American people are safer because of his work. His commitment to the Department has been unwavering, and I deeply appreciate his 15 years of distinguished service here at Main Justice as well as in Baltimore and New York.

“It is unfortunate that some were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts about these operations - accusations that turned out to be without foundation and that have caused a great deal of unnecessary harm and confusion. I hope today’s report acts as a reminder of the dangers of adopting as fact unsubstantiated conclusions before an investigation of the circumstances is completed.

“I want to assure the American people that I, and my colleagues at the Department, will continue to focus on our mission of protecting their rights and their security, and doing so in a manner that is consistent with the high standards of the Department of Justice. This includes continuing to seek justice on behalf of Agent Brian Terry and his loved ones.

“The FBI and the United States Attorney from the Southern District of California have been working for many months with Mexican authorities to identify and apprehend the fugitives involved in the murder of Agent Terry, who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving his country. We now have two men in custody and we will continue to aggressively pursue the remaining fugitives to ensure justice for Agent Terry, his family and his fellow law enforcement agents who put their lives on the line each day to keep this country safe.”


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soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Miss Kitty

    Oh, Deputy Eric Holden...my hero...!

    September 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ed

    Are you kidding me? "After thoroughly investigating myself, I determine that I did nothing wrong..." I'll wait to see a neutral detached investigation by a credible party. Holder is Obama's secret police and Department of Justice is an oxymoron.

    September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      It was a SEPARATE office that investigated F&F, not Holder's - do you really know that little about our government? Or is it you just didn't read the article and jumped to conclusions rather than finding out the facts?

      That would be fairly ironic, actually.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • wolfpackbob

      You nailed it, Ed.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Most Americans view this whole affair as smelly and rightly so. Dept of Justice needs to come clean and cleanse itself.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jay jay

    And it took him how long to conclude "it's not my fault"?

    September 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joe

    Holder and Obama are the ones that need to be fired. A federal agent died because of their stupidity, and it5 happened with their knowledge or Obama would not have claimed executive privelege. We the people should hold them accountable with our votes.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Yes, and of course they are saddened by and deeply regret the deaths. Meaningless.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rod C. Venger

    When a US Navy bridge officer on board ship misbehaves in such a manner as to discredit the ship or the US Navy, besides them, it's the captain of the ship that takes the brunt of the blame. It's generally felt that his lack of leadership and oversight was the root cause of whatever his subordinates were up to.

    That same principle applies here. Fast and Furious did not happen in a vacuum and would not happened at all if the cultures of DOJ, BATFE and DHS in general were such that all concerned felt like such a thing would not be tolerated. The mere fact that they did feel it was tolerable, that BATFE and DOJ Attorneys General in Phoenix saw nothing amiss with the program, is prima fascie evidence of the failed leadership at BATFE, DOJ and perhaps the Oval Office as well.

    Holder was not exonerated by any means. The report states that he was not aware of any "flaws" with the program until February 2010. That is not the same as not knowing the program existed, and if he knew it existed, he had to have known why it existed.

    Holder should not congratulate himself on the fact that his own subordinates seemingly acquited him of wrongdoing. The conflict of interest in his office investigating his office are obvious.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      The program was started under the previous administration, in 2006. It would be nice if he could know everything, but he ISN'T a captain of a ship - he's head of a much larger organization which has people in thousands of different locations as opposed to all being on the same ship.

      Holder should have known what operations were going on, but there is no way he could know when individuals screwed up on a single operation, then kept the screw ups hidden. Even a ship captain can't know that sort of thing.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • wolfpackbob

      Holder is a liar. That is why he was the first AJ cited for contempt. Wonderful stellar appointee.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mccainin4

      Fire the CEO and CFO! Whoops, can't chant that. It's sacrilegious.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    As F&F was implemented in 2006, and key strategy was withheld from the current andministration, will Congress repeal its Contempt charge?
    Yeah, right.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Congress voted for contempt because the NRA told them to, not because they really thought there was any merit to the contempt charge. Since the NRA is still upset about F&F, why would Congress change their minds?

      Besides, no republican would be willing to publicly exonerate a member of Obama's administration for pretty much any reason... and it's an election year to boot so they would look foolish if they did so.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rod C. Venger

    While I'm thinking about it, all of those directly connected with the gun walking in Fast and furious should, under US Law, be held liable for felony murder charges in the death of Agent Terry. The agents, prosecutors and managers involved were directly responsible for the felonious actions that arose from allowing those guns to walk, in violation of numerous federal statutes, none of which a badge and a gun provide legal cover for. No sworn officer can legally commit a felony even under the cover of authority and supposedly authorized by his or her superiors. These people swear to uphold the law...not to break it in order to enforce it. By all accounts, there should be numerous indictments coming down the pike.

    Fat chance.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Peck

      agree 1000%. I don't see how anyone can say it was not illegal to assist in the unlawful purchase and transport of arms. We need a special prosecutor – Holder needs to be ousted and the jerks down the line should be jailed.

      September 19, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Willie12345

    CNN is flying cover for Holder and Obama's minions. The fish rots from the head first........

    September 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Is it true that whenever an investigation turns up something different from what you'd like, you automatically assume it is propaganda? I ask because that's what it sounds like - that you don't actually care about investigation or facts. It sounds like you made up your mind about this based on rumor and web blogs, and you have no desire to learn the truth if it is different from your preconceived notions.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      As this started in 2006, that would be WHO's head?
      Oh, forget it.

      September 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john miller

    read the story at fox news

    September 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      Yeah, we all know how dependable Fox is with their truthfull, unbiased opinion. " News you can depend on", my butt.

      September 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wolfpackbob

    "The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; ..." That sounds a lot like "That depends on what your definition of 'is' is." How about a simple, "I'm sorry. We screwed up." Holder has been circling the wagons since he put his nameplate on his office door. "Wagons ho", Eric!

    September 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bobby

    "I am innocent because I am incompetent" – Holder.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Trollbuster

    2006, set in motion under the Republican Bush administration.

    September 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sue

    I'm truly shocked and disgusted by the republican comments on this. I can only assume these republicans are disappointed that the Inspector General didn't find some nefarious actions by Eric Holder and his people.Too bad, so sad! It must be very disappointing that Romney may have to eat some more crow. Pretty steady diet he has going right now. You people need to get a grip on reality. Have a nice night now.

    September 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. James

    Complete whitewash and another reason November can't come soon enough. This stinks

    September 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay jay

      pelosi is a complete air head hamsta. Everyone knows it.

      September 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay jay

      In 2016 nearly 6 million people will be taxed an average of 1200 dollars for not having health insurance. So much for not raising taxes and creating all these jobs. What a flippin failure...

      September 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      @Jay- I could say the same of Boehner. Why hasn't Boehner put the Jobs bill from Obama up for review that has sat on his desk for 1 year?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      @Jay Jay why can I type your name again? The wealthy have not created any jobs have they. The jobs have been created by the small businesses. Time for the small businesses to get the breaks and the wealthy to stop getting all the loopholes?

      September 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hamsta

      @ Obama's mama maybe the "jobs" bill is just sitting on bohner's desk because he knows that it is a complete waste of taxpayer money. His " shovel ready jobs" don't exist, his " summer of recovery never happened, he has absolutely nothing to show for the 6 trillion dollars that he wasted. I can trust my drug addict neighbor for a neighbor with money better than I can trust Obama.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
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