Written by: Jack Dennis, San Antonio Headlines Examiner
Texas Senator John Cornyn tore into U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today before the Senate Judiciary Committee about “Fast and Furious,” the “gun-walking” operation that lead to the death of a border patrol agent.
As President Barrack Obama’s attorney general, Holder denied he could “be expected to know” the details of deadly program and would not apologize for U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death.
Holder acknowledged that no one has been held accountable over the fatal scheme.
“I have ultimate responsibility for that which happens in the Department, but I cannot be expected to know the details for every operation that is ongoing in the Justice Department on a day-to-day basis,” Holder testified. “I did not know about Fast and Furious as is indicated in the chart that you have up there until I guess, well, until it became public.”
Sen. Cornyn, a former attorney general for the state of Texas countered, “You cannot be expected to have known about the operation known as Fast and Furious despite the fact that we know you received an NDIC memo on July the 5th, 2010.”
“You received another memo on Fast and Furious on November 1st, 2010, and you say you cannot be expected to have known about it, because of the size of your agency?” Cornyn continued.
When Cornyn asked if the attorney general had apologized to the family of agent Brian Terry, Holder replied, “I have not apologized to them but I certainly regret what happened…”
“Have you even talked to them?” Cornyn asked.
“I have not,” answered Holder.
“Would you like to apologize today for this program that went so wrong, that took the life of a United States law enforcement agent?” the Texas senator inquired.
“I certainly regret what happened to Agent Brian Terry,” Holder said. “It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry.”
“I want to be clear: any instance of so-called ‘gun walking’ is unacceptable,” Holder expanded. “Regrettably, this tactic was used as part of Fast and Furious, which was launched to combat gun trafficking and violence on our Southwest Border. This operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.”
“Can you name me one person who’s been held accountable for this Fast and Furious Operation,” Cornyn then asked. “Just one in the Department of Justice?”
“Well we have made a number of changes with regard to personnel both in the Phoenix U.S. Attorney’s Office, also at the ATF Headquarters here,” Holder offered. “I will certainly await the report that comes out of the Inspector General. And I will assure you and the American people that people will be held accountable for any mistakes that were made in connection with Fast and Furious.”
Previously Cornyn said Holder’s earlier statements on the scandalous operation are “beginning to look more and more like a cover-up.”
Cornyn said he thought Holder was “just hoping to brush this under the rug.”
Holder was caught through documents showing he was informed about the ATF’s operation months before he testified to have first learned about it in Congress.
“As happens so often in Washington, it’s not the original offense that’s so bad, as it is the cover-up,” noted Cornyn.
ATF agents sold firearms to known Mexican drug cartels only later to lose track of some of the weapons. One gun is alleged to have contributed to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Holder has been under substantial criticism from Texas leaders, including Rep. John Culberson who indicated the Obama Administration and Holder’s Justice Department failed to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission Investigation regarding the 2008 Black Panther intimidation of voters outside a polling place in Philadelphia.
In that incident the Black Panthers were recorded wearing military style uniforms and using intimidation tactics, including being inside the prohibited legal boundaries near a voting site and approaching voters with a large club.