Today, we were treated to the astonishing sight of the Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney's Office invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to give any substantive testimony concerning his or DOJ's role in Operation Fast and Furious. The story is here.
I scarcely know where to begin. On a personal level, having spent much of my career as a division chief in (a different) U.S. Attorney's Office, I am mortified and appalled. A refusal by a federal officer in that position to cooperate with Congress, much less to do so on grounds of possible self-incrimination, is just staggering.
My other initial thought is that, although the Criminal Chief occupies a powerful position, the notion that he is at the root of Fast and Furious is absurd. This simply must stretch farther up the chain. The US Attorney has already resigned, but it doesn't stop there either. Having been both a career attorney and a political appointee in the Justice Department, I can tell you that this goes way up the chain.
The Attorney General has already admitted to misleading Congress, albeit, he says, inadvertently. We will just have to see where this leads. One thing is for sure, though: The defense bar will have a field day with this, not to mention a bunch of new clients.