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Fast and Furious showdown: Holder/Obama defend bloody culture of contempt; Update: Fortress Holder, Stonewall City; vid clips added, Dems advise, “Don’t answer”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 2, 2012 09:16 AM


(Click for full-size; Source: GOP Oversight)

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Forget Klownald Trump. This is your story of the day. Attorney General Eric Holder is on Capitol Hill day, facing another round of questions from relentless GOP watchdogs led by House Oversight and Govenrment Reform chair Darrell Issa.

You can watch the proceedings live on CSPAN online here.

The grilling comes as Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s family files suit against the lying ATF:

The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry charged Wednesday that the top federal prosecutor in Phoenix lied to them about the guns found at the crime scene in an attempt to hide the weapons’ connection to the ATF’s failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.

Terry was killed in December 2010, allegedly by Mexican bandits carrying at least two AK-47 semiautomatic rifles that had been purchased in Arizona as part of Fast and Furious. The operation was intended to catch drug lords using illegal weapons, but the ATF immediately lost track of 1,700 firearms.

The Terry family alleged that then-U.S. Atty. Dennis K. Burke told them last March that the two weapons came from a store in Texas and were not part of Fast and Furious.

The family made their allegations in a “notice of claim” stating that they intend to sue the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Justice Department for $25 million. They called the gun-tracking operation “abominable, reckless, nonsensical.”

Burke has resigned and has declined to discuss Fast and Furious. But the family’s claim notice strongly suggests that the federal government initially sought to keep Fast and Furious under wraps and hoped it would not be linked to the slaying.

House GOP leaders repeat what whistleblowers have been telling us from the start: Top White House/DOJ knew. They knew:

Top Department of Justice officials had extensive knowledge of and involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, claims a new report released Thursday, hours before Attorney General Eric Holder’s scheduled testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The report released by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, top lawmakers investigating the botched gunrunning operation, claims Justice Department officials in Washington and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the coordination in the early stages of the operation.
Related Interactive

Report released by Issa and Grassley on Fast and Furious

Republican lawmakers Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) released a new report suggesting top Department of Justice officials had extensive knowledge of and involvement in Operation Fast and Furious.

Justice headquarters “had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged,” the memo reads.

Rep. Issa’s preview statement in the advance of the hearing is here:

ate last year, after months of investigation, the Justice Department finally acknowledged the allegations were true. Fast and Furious was both reckless and flawed.

The Justice Department, however, has been less than forthcoming in cooperating with the efforts of Congressional investigators to determine exactly what happened and who was responsible:

• The Justice Department has delivered fewer than 8% of the 80,000 documents we know it has identified as being related to this flawed operation.

• It has refused to allow investigators access to numerous witnesses who participated in the operation – one witness, after being served with a subpoena, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to protection against self-incrimination rather than answer questions.

• Justice Department now asserts that many documents pertaining to internal discussions and decision making about its response to Operation Fast and Furious are off-limits to investigators.

The American people deserve better from our nation’s top law enforcement agency. Thursday’s hearing will feature the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Holder, who will be asked to explain his decision to withhold this factual evidence from investigators. What he is concerned this information would reveal? Why is the Department trying to keep its internal discussions about Operation Fast and Furious from after February 4, 2011 secret? Why did it take nearly nine months for the Justice Department to acknowledge its earlier denials were false? Why did senior Justice Department officials who knew about and received briefings on the operation fail to stop it? Should Americans have confidence in their chief law enforcement agency even though these same officials remain in their posts?

There is now broad bipartisan agreement that the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has exposed a serious and deadly failure of government. We know that the life of a brave Border Patrol agent has been lost along with countless Mexican citizens who have been victimized by guns from Operation Fast and Furious. Attorney General Holder has acknowledged that the danger created by Fast and Furious will continue for years.

This hearing is not about controversial struggles between gun control advocates and supporters of the Second Amendment. It is about the unifying, and what should be bipartisan, expectation that the Justice Department be held to a high standard and that those who failed to meet this standard should be held accountable. I look forward to Attorney General Holder’s testimony.

After Issa threatened contempt charges against the Department of Justice Obstructionists, DOJ responded with…more obstruction:

The Justice Department response Wednesday rejected Issa’s February 9, 2012, deadline to produce all demanded documents. Cole called the deadline “impossible” to meet because of the broad scope of the request.

He did not directly refer to the threat of a contempt charge by Issa.

…The hearing Thursday will not be the end of the battle over Operation Fast and Furious. The Justice Department’s inspector general continues to work on a detailed account of the origins of the operation, and who was involved. The report is not expected to be complete for at least a couple more months.

Holder has promised when it is completed, he is prepared to make individuals accountable. But Holder says he has no plan to seek resignations or administer discipline until that report is complete.

The corruption keeps piling up. Matthew Boyle has a hard-hitting investigative piece in the Daily Caller exposing yet another DOJ scandal involving alleged bribery of top officials involved in a financial fraud probe:

A U.S. Justice Department source has told The Daily Caller that at least two DOJ prosecutors accepted cash bribes from allegedly corrupt finance executives who were indicted under court seal within the past 13 months, but never arrested or prosecuted.

The sitting governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, his attorney general and an unspecified number of Virgin Islands legislators also accepted bribes, the source said, adding that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is aware prosecutors and elected officials were bribed and otherwise compromised, but has not held anyone accountable.

The bribed officials, an attorney with knowledge of the investigation told TheDC, remain on the taxpayers’ payroll at the Justice Department without any accountability. The DOJ source said Holder does not want to admit public officials accepted bribes while under his leadership.

That source said that until the summer of 2011, the two compromised prosecutors were part of a team of more than 25 federal prosecutors pursuing a financial crime ring, and at least five other prosecutors tasked to the case were also compromised by the criminal suspects they were investigating, without being bribed.

Washington knew what it was getting when it confirmed corruptocrat Eric Holder. Innocent people have paid with their lives. Ignoring this man and his boss’s utter, systematic contempt for the rule of law has yielded deadly consequences.

America, let’s not make that mistake again.

***

Update:Go to my Twitter account for live-tweeting of the hearing.

Most jaw-dropping moment so far: Indignant Holder demanding he get “credit” for his work at DOJ.

Running joke: Every time gun-control Democrats call for more “tools.” There are plenty enough of them in charge in Washington.

Side note: Donald Trump stepping on this important hearing tells you everything you need to know about his purported interest in advancing conservative/GOP interests. Circus, circus.

Video clips:

GOP Rep. Issa’s opening statement:

GOP Rep. Patrick Henry underscores that there’s been no accountability for 13 months:

GOP Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle confronts Holder with Terry family’s plea for action. At the five-minute mark, you can’t hear it, but Democrats advised Holder: “Don’t answer:”

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