Eric Holder’s position as attorney general is getting more tenuous as pressure grows on him to resign over the gunrunning scandal that saw weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug lords.
The actions of his Department of Justice are the subject of a congressional obstruction of justice investigation into the scheme, said Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“It is very clear that people were being discouraged from speaking to us,” Issa told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
And he said that much of the documentation provided by the DoJ has been useless. “If it wasn't already available on the internet, it generally is an all-black page of redaction to where it is of no value.”
Issa said that Holder should have known about the schemes, Operation Fast and Furious and Project Gunrunner, which saw thousands of weapons end up in the hands of violent Mexican drug lords.
“It is almost impossible to believe that everyone, including CBS News and many newspapers and Fox, had reported on Fast and Furious, yet Eric Holder still didn't know anything about it.”
He added, “If Eric Holder knew any significant time before he said he knew — just a couple weeks before he testified before the Judiciary Committee — then he's in very serious trouble.
“But I think he's in serious trouble in a different way, he should have known about this, not just this past February, but a year earlier.
That view was echoed by a serving agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview.
“Eric Holder did not have any means or interest in containing this and he needs to be held accountable,” said agent Jay Dobyns, who warned, “There are more crimes coming. These guns that were released don’t have an end life. AK-47s and assault weapons are built to stand the test of time.
Dobyns, who shot to fame when he infiltrated the Hell’s Angels for the ATF said the DoJ has been involved in “a huge cover-up” over the Fast and Furious scandal.
Under the schemes, “straw buyers” were allowed to buy about 2,000 weapons, even though agents knew they would end up in the hands of Mexican cartel leaders. The plan was to track the guns so they would lead to the drug kingpins. But the plan went disastrously wrong and most of the guns disappeared. Weapons involved in the scheme have been linked to numerous murders in Mexico and the killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who died in December.
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Dobyns said, “They don’t want this case and the details of it and the flawed strategy being exposed to the public I hold Eric Holder accountable for that because he is the attorney general, he is the leader of the Department of Justice, he oversees the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“He either knew about it and didn’t do anything to stop it or he didn’t know about it and then ‘why are you asleep at the wheel when something like this is taking place?’ “
Just last week, Jesus Rejon Aguilar, an alleged founder of one of the most violent cartels, the Zetas gang, admitted to Mexican authorities, “All the weapons are bought in the United States,” adding, “Even the American government was selling the weapons.”
Aguilar was arrested on July 3. Among his alleged crimes is the murder of U.S. immigration officer Jaime Zapata, who was killed in February while on special assignment near San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. “Whatever you want, you can get,” Aguilar said in a videotaped interrogation with Mexican authorities.
Dobyns said ATF acting Director Kenneth Melson, who has told Congressional investigators that the DoJ tried to stop him giving evidence, also has to bear his share of the blame.
“Acting director or not, this is his baby,” said Dobyns, who wrote the New York Times bestseller “No Angel” about his Hell’s Angels investigation. “This took place on his watch.
“A U.S. Border Patrol agent called Brian Terry was murdered with guns that passed through an ATF operation. ICE agent Jaime Zapata was murdered with guns that allegedly came through this case. Hundreds of Mexican civilians, police officers, police chiefs have been murdered. A Mexican police helicopter was shot down with a gun that came through our control,” he pointed out.
Dobyns said Melson’s comment that he “felt sick to his stomach” when he learned the full extent of the schemes was “insulting.”
“It should be a little bit worse than that. It should be worse than a little bit of a sickening, nauseating feeling for him,” he said. “That is not good enough.”
Dobyns said ATF has a culture where mistakes are covered up rather than investigated. “It’s institutional arrogance,” he said. “The people that run the agency believe they are above the law, they believe they can do whatever they want.”
And he said current agents have no faith in the current leadership, which makes it even more imperative that Holder, Melson, and others at the top should be forced out if they won’t resign. “There are leaders that are committed to the mission, that know how to get the mission done. Unfortunately, those guys get buried.
“New blood with a sense of purpose and knowledge of what takes place on the street needs to be put in place.” When that happens, he said the enthusiasm of officers will return. “They want to go do their job, they just want to do it the right way.”
Last week, Issa and his Senate counterpart, Charles Grassley of Iowa, warned Holder not to fire Melson, as he had come forward with information that seemed to implicate the DoJ in a cover-up over the twin gunrunning schemes.
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