A Justice Department inspector general report Sept. 19 cleared Attorney General Eric Holder of any involvement in weapons scandal that had placed him under a contempt of Congress cloud for three months.
Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s 471-page report said Holder was not guilty of any wrongdoing in a Justice Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation dubbed “Fast and Furious” that resulted in a fire fight in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot to death.
The bungled Operation Fast and Furious was began by the ATF on Oct.31, 2009, with the intention of linking upper echelon Mexican government officials with drug cartels by allowing gun sales to proceed without intervention.
The report gave no comfort to Kent and Josephine Terry, the parents of slain ATF agent Brian Terry. They continue to call for the resignations of several Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and further investigation into the death of their son and any efforts to cover up the truth.
“The most critical and actionable information for law enforcement officers on the ground in the southwest border area was that ATF was allowing hundreds of high powered assault weapons to flow to Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations,” said Terry’s parents in a statement released Sept.25.
“This information was not passed on to other law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol…if Brian and his team had known this information, they would have been on a far more defensive posture and would have taken appropriate proactive measures to protect themselves…”
Guns from the ATF operation were found at the scene of the murder, and according to the IG report, officials in the ATF, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Attorney General’s office were all aware of this the day of the murder.
However, according to the Terry’s, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis Burke lied about the operations when he visited the grieving family on behalf of the Justice Department.
According to the statement, “Mr. Burke traveled to Michigan to brief the family on the murder investigation and specifically told the family that the weapons found at the murder scene were not related to Operation Fast and Furious.”
“He then claimed that the weapons were brought in Texas.”
A total of 14 DOJ authorities were found liable in the IG report.
Holder remains tight-lipped, saying he had no knowledge of the operation, even though Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein was said to be aware of the details as early as December 2009.
President Obama is standing by the executive privilege he invoked when facing pressure from Congress members wanting more disclosure about the plot.