David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner reminds us that today marks an important milestone: the Justice Department’s Inspector General has now been “investigating” the Operation Fast and Furious scandal for longer than the Warren Commission needed to produce its report on the JFK assassination. The OIG report will doubtless be fascinating once it’s released. The cynical among us will be looking for that report sometime after November 2012.
Nobody knows exactly when Attorney General Eric Holder requested the investigation, because as he would later testify, he didn’t put the request into writing:
HOLDER: I’ll — I’ll answer that. I was, in fact, the person who requested, ordered the inspector general to begin this investigation.
I don’t think I did that in any written form. I think that was transmitted from me either through my chief-of-staff, through the deputy attorney general, to the I.G. There might be a writing that exists in that regard, but I don’t think that I signed off on anything actually…
… The inspector general’s office had looked at this whole question of — of gun trafficking before and it seemed logical to ask them to expand their inquiry and look into Fast and Furious.
As I said, (inaudible) any writing from me, but I can check, but I don’t think there’s any writing from me that exists with regard to…
Yes, when your department is responsible for an operation that killed over 200 people, and could be construed as an act of war against Mexico, it’s entirely appropriate to ask one of your flunkies – chief of staff, deputy A.G., whoever – to tell the Inspector General she should think about taking a little peek into the matter, should they happen to bump into her while roaming the paperwork-free halls of the Justice Department.
I can imagine a lot of you are rolling your eyes at this. Stop that immediately. For one thing, it will give you a splitting headache. Also, we already knew written communication was a problem at the Holder Justice Department. Have you ever seen the documents Congress occasionally pries from Holder’s white-knuckled grip? They’re very difficult to read, because they’re covered with these annoying black magic-marker lines. I can’t blame Justice officials for avoiding written memos when they’re just a couple of words sprinkled among those God-awful black lines. Who wants to stare at that junk all day?
Holder claims he has “a good relationship with the Inspector General,” which might be one reason Senator Charles Grassley of the Judiciary Committee expressed a lack of confidence in the OIG investigation. Also, the current Acting Inspector General, Cynthia Schnedar, used to work for Holder in the mid-90s, and worked on at least 14 cases with him, co-filing several legal briefs.
The OIG has already handed over evidence from the Fast and Furious investigation to the office of the U.S. Attorney in Phoneix, which is one of the subjects of the investigation. Specifically, it was the “sit your ass down, Charles Grassley” tapes of conversations between an ATF agent and the gun store owner who sold the weapons carried by U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s killers. It’s not hard to understand why Senator Grassley isn’t sitting back and waiting for this report.
Holder nevertheless brings the 303-day-long, no-end-in-sight OIG investigation up every time he’s grilled on Fast and Furious, citing it as the reason he won’t answer certain questions. Codrea asks, “Does anyone really believe the report they eventually get around to producing will answer all our questions? Or any of the really important ones?”
I, for one, have every confidence that a massive report will be excreted sometime after the next presidential election, and we’ll find plenty of useful information scattered between the black magic marker lines.