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A Genuine Scandal

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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.   

5 Comments

Bill, can you speculate as to what the criminal conduct could be?

From suing states to commandeering county corrections (Maricopa), the DOJ itself is "Fast & Furious," or fast and loose.

It may be Administration wide, e.g.
_._._._"During this morning's congressional hearing on the Occupy D.C. protest, NO WITNESS, including National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, DISPUTED that some demonstrators had been breaking the law by sleeping in McPherson Square.

Where opinions split was over whether the National Park Service had acted appropriately and within the scope of the law by not arresting anyone to date for violating the no-camping rule. " (1-24-12) http://legaltimes.typepad.com

As for possible criminal charges, let's start with perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence.....

Although I am loathe to speculate about cases in which I don't know the details, my experience tells me that mjs has probably nailed it.

My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that the Criminal Chief is either falling on his sword (his career is certainly over after this) to protect someone higher up, and/or he lied to an investigator.

P.S. The reason I don't know the details is, of course, the same reason none of us know them, to wit, that you can't get a straight answer out of DOJ. The whole thing is just mind-boggling.

Does any of this really surprise? Marc Rich--all you need to know about Holder.

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