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Eric Holder Held in Contempt on ATF Involvement in Gunwalking

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The House has found Attorney General Eric Holder guilty of contempt of Congress by a vote of  255-67 for refusing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. Thus, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia may now have the legal obligation to put his boss, Eric Holder before a grand jury. We are in murky legal waters, as this is the first time the full House has found an Attorney General in contempt.

Indeed, almost everything about the gunwalking scandal is murky. Katherine Eban has a bombshell report at Fortune claiming that ATF did not intentionally let guns fall into the hands of the drug cartels and that the guns were not bought illegally. To my knowledge no one has said the guns were bought illegally. But the guns did cross the border illegally, it would appear. How and why this was allowed to happen is the real question and Eban doesn’t answer that:

“Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.”

Ok then, who were these prosecutors and why didn’t they want to enforce gun smuggling laws? Eban remains silent on this crucial issue. She also claims that ATF wasn’t involved in gunwalking, but then says that John Dobson, the whistleblower in the case, had been involved in gunwalking. Sorry, but you can’t claim ATF is a victim of unfounded right wing hysteria over gunwalking then in the next breath admit they were involved it.

Eban provides valuable information by explaining that Dobson had a major grudge against his boss John Voth and that convoluted and vicious internal politics played a major role in Fast and Furious becoming a national issue. Right wing bloggers and media jumped on the issue and then the left jumped in to defend the Administration. But her article mentions murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry just twice. Smuggled guns were found next to his dead body in Arizona. Surely his death should have received more than glancing mention in Eban’s report. Indeed, Brian Terry’s family is concerned that our usual hyper partisanship is confusing the issue and hampering investigations into who killed him.