How bad is this situation for the White House? Even CBS News has been forced to show an interest in the story!
The question asked by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) was trimmed from the CBS News report: "When did you first know about the program officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?" Simple question. No ambiguity. Same goes for Holder's response: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."
The CBS News clip above lets Holder slide with an incredibly weak line about not understanding the question, but I doubt the average citizen will be so willing to drop the issue. With Republicans on the attack, Holder sent a letter to members of Congress on Friday:
"I have no recollection of knowing about the operation, called 'Fast and Furious,' or of hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it," Holder said in a letter to key Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
He added that before early this year, "I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation, and it is my understanding that the former United States Attorney for the district of Arizona and the former acting director and deputy director of ATF have told Congress that they, themselves, were unaware of the tactics employed."Because this is Barack Obama's Attorney General we're talking about, Holder's letter was also required to meet a minimum threshold for Stuff Blamed On Dubya.
The attorney general noted the flawed tactics employed in Fast and Furious "were actually employed in an investigation conducted during the prior administration."In review, Obama's Attorney General hadn't heard about Fast and Furious until this spring... even though he received several memos mentioning the program dating back to early 2010. So maybe he heard about the operation, but it was probably a different one - which he made no attempt to clarify in his testimony because... ? Holder definitely doesn't remember knowing anything, and what he did know but almost certainly forgot is really Bush's fault anyway.
How many mulligan-years are we supposed to give the Obama administration, and at what point do Bush policies that Obama continues become "Obama policies?" Is it unfair to expect that the Attorney General read the briefings deemed important enough to cross his desk?
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Cross-posted at that hero.