Here’s the standard mainstream media spin on the inspector general’s report on Fast and Furious.
The 472-page report by the department’s inspector general concluded that Attorney General Eric Holder was not informed of the program’s controversial tactics run by the department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until after it had been shut down in late 2010.
For months, House Republicans had called on Holder to step down and voted to hold him in contempt of Congress, suggesting that he allowed the flawed gun operation known as “Fast and Furious” to continue. The 19-month review “found no evidence” that Holder was alerted before late January or early February 2011.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been leading a separate congressional review of the operation, has scheduled a hearing Thursday to question Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz about his findings.
As Jim Geraghty notes, the conclusion of the report required a level of gymnastics that Nancy Kerrigan couldn’t have managed on her best day.
The initial headlines shouted that the IG report had exonerated Holder. That’s one interpretation. But the portrait the report paints of Holder’s management is deeply disturbing. Time and again, information and warnings about the operation’s enormous risks flow from Arizona to Washington … and suddenly, mysteriously, stop just short of Holder.
…The report states:
“We found it troubling that a case of this magnitude and that affected Mexico so significantly was not directly briefed to the Attorney General. We would usually expect such information to come to the Attorney General through the Office of the Deputy Attorney General …
… In fact, information about the program went all the way to Holder’s office – but somehow, the memos, emails and other communications never reached the man himself.
…”[Holder] should have been informed by no later than December 17, 2010, that two firearms recovered at the Terry murder scene were linked to an ATF firearms trafficking investigation … We found that although [Holder's then deputy-chief-of-staff Monty] Wilkinson forwarded to Holder during the afternoon of December 15 three emails from the US Attorney’s Office providing further details about the shooting and law enforcement efforts to find and arrest the suspects, he did not notify the Attorney General of the revelation that two weapons found at the murder scene were linked to a suspect in an ATF firearms trafficking investigation.”
A suspicious mind could look at this strange pattern of underling, after deputy, after staffer not mentioning critical information, and information getting all the way to Holder’s office but not being seen by the AG himself, and conclude Holder’s staffers were keeping him in the dark. Would that be to preserve his “plausible deniability”? Another conclusion might be that someone just wasn’t honest with the inspector general.
So, Holder normally would have been briefed on a program like Fast and Furious. The law required him to be told, but he wasn’t. Emails and memos were sent to Holder’s office to tell him about Fast and Furious weren’t received. That’s one possibility. An EXTRAORDINARILY UNLIKELY one.
A much more likely, alternate scenario is that people are lying to cover for Holder and one of Bo’s employees isn’t interested in embarrassing his boss by pushing to prove that the Attorney General committed perjury in a case where Obama asserted executive privilege.