Attorney General Eric Holder’s chief of staff has resigned in a flurry of controversy over Operation Fast and Furious — a move one top Republican lawmaker says was long overdue, Politico reports
Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler — who’ll leave his Justice Department post on Wednesday — oversaw the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives which spearheaded an operation allowing Mexican drug cartels access to hundreds of illegally purchased weapons.
“Gary Grindler was appropriately faulted . . . for keeping information about a connection between the murder of a Border Patrol Agent and a mishandled department operation away from the Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security,’’ said Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“His departure from the Justice Department is warranted and long overdue. Other figures in Operation Fast and Furious are currently being evaluated for their conduct in the reckless effort that needlessly placed lives in danger. I expect more departures and discipline to come.”
Operation Fast and Furious was a five-year sting operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives allowed licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to illegal buyers in an effort to track them to the leaders of Mexican drug cartels.
One Mexican official claimed some of the guns were found to have been involved in dozens of crimes, including homicides.
Holder, in accepting Grindler’s resignation, put a dramatically different spin on his service, shying away from the Operation Fast and Furious debacle.
“Gary has played a central role in our work to protect the American people and I will always be grateful for his dedication to the Department, his service to our Nation, and his sound advice and personal friendship,” Holder said in a statement.
He praised Grindler’s work on the $4 billion settlement the government reached with BP after the devastating Gulf oil spill in 2010.
One Justice Department official told Fox News that Grindler’s departure was part of the normal turnover between administrations.
But the writing was on the wall for Grindler’s future after Justice Department’s inspector general recommended disciplinary action against him and 13 others.
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