Fur Flies in Hearing on ATF's "Fast and Furious" Campaign
The two parties exchange vicious volleys as AG Eric Holder defends and denies.
Attorney General Eric Holder took the hot seat yesterday for an extraordinary sixth time in the House's probe into Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF gun-trafficking boondoggle that resulted in few arrests but lost 2,000 weapons and led to the death of a Border Patrol agent in a shootout. The agent's parents filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against the government earlier this week. Thus the scene was set.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee ratched up their rhetoric, repeating charges of a cover-up by the nation's top justice cop and demanding his resignation. They called the botched ops a sinister plot by the Obama administration to actually spark gun violence in order to justify a firearms crackdown.
But Democrats blasted back, once again arguing that the failed strategy, which Holder opened in late 2009 and shut in early 2011, had originally been executed on a smaller scale by the Bush administration without GOP complaints and that the yearlong investigation had lost all point except for election-year partisan politics. They called it a "witch-hunt" and compared the Republicans to the Queen of Hearts who declared guilt first and then went looking for facts.
Holder, too, played his role, repeating denials that he authorized Fast and Furious or its cover-up.