Yet another major right-wing outrage goes pffffft, as was predicted here almost a year ago.
An internal Justice Department investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal singles out 14 different officials for criticism and possible disciplinary action. But a report out Wednesday found no evidence that the department’s top leaders knew about the gun-walking aspect of the operation when it was underway.
… the investigators found Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t know about the controversial operation until after the scandal emerged in the wake of the discovery of two weapons linked to the operation at the scene of the shooting death of a Border Patrol agent in December 2010.
The investigative report (available here) was harshly critical of the operation itself, as it should have been, noting that “the investigations were seriously flawed in several respects, most significantly in their failure to adequately consider the risk to public safety in the United States and Mexico.” None of that was a surprise; the operation has been widely acknowledged as botched.
However, the report exonerated Holder, finding that “we determined that Attorney General Holder did not learn about Operation Fast and Furious until late January or early February 2011 and was not aware of allegations of “gun walking” in the investigation until February…..
We found that Attorney General Holder had no involvement in drafting or reviewing the February 4 letter that he decided to withdraw in December 2011 after concluding that it contained inaccuracies. …. we determined that Holder had no part in the fact-gathering, editing, or approval process that led to the Department’s issuance of an inaccurate response on February 4.”
Holder’s response is a study in understatement:
“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.”
Holder may hope for such a thing, but even he knows that hope is in vain.
– Jay Bookman