(Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
House Republicans, eager to get to the bottom of the scandal that allowed over 2,000 firearms to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, are working on a letter addressed to the White House asking for the resignation for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is collecting signatures calling for Holder to resign in response to the failed Fast and Furious weapons trafficking investigation. The letter addressed to President Barack Obama pins Holder with the responsibility for the nearly 2,500 guns in the hands of international smugglers and a dead border patrol agent.
“The Attorney General is supposed to uphold federal laws and not intentionally break them. He should never attempt to cover-up an investigation intended to ensure a mistake of this scale never occurs again. It is time Attorney General Holder takes responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious and step down immediately,” the letter read.
The letter is Walsh’s second. The first letter was sent directly to Holder after leaked emails showed that the attorney general had been informed about the sting as early as last year.
The November letter seems to echo the wishes of slain agent Brian Terry’s family. They too believe Holder needs to accept responsibility for the guns and Terry’s murder.
“The fact of the matter is that the men who killed Brian Terry were armed with brand new military grade assault weapons and ammunition. The weapons were allowed to be purchased with the full approval of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona; both agencies falling under the control of the attorney general,” family members wrote in a recent statement to local station ABC15.
Operation Fast and Furious was a 2010 sting operation involving the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Drug Intelligence Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Phoenix police department. The mission was to bust weapons traffickers on the Southwest border. During the operation, federal agents were told to stand down from retrieving weapons purchased through straw buyers, and several weapons purchased in Arizona were allowed to cross the border into Mexico where they eventually became untraceable. The program was shut down in January when Terry was killed.
Republicans’ November letter charges Holder with improperly handling the aftermath of the failed operation.
Holder testified in a May that he had no advance knowledge of the operation. However, interdepartmental memos show that he had received several emails about the sting.
“Attorney General Holder is either trying to cover-up when he knew of this disastrous operation or is too incompetent to serve as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States,” the letter charged.
Last week, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer acknowledged that the Department of Justice’s claims that the ATF did not allow the guns to enter Mexico were untrue.
Additionally, Holder admitted that the effects of the lapsed Fast and Furious operation will be felt “for years to come.”
However, he maintains that Fast and Furious cannot be blamed for Terry’s murder.
“It pains me whenever there is the death of a law enforcement official, especially under the circumstances. It is not fair, however, to assume that the mistakes that happened in Fast and Furious directly led to the death of Agent Terry,” Holder said.
Two guns purchased in the ATF sting were found near his body. However, it is unknown if the guns were used in Terry's death.
In an interview with FOX News, Terry’s mother Josephine Terry said, “If they never would have let those guns walk, maybe Brian would have never been in that desert.”
Father Kent Terry called Holder and his colleagues “liars.” The Terrys plan on filing a lawsuit against the government, FOX News reported.
Republicans advised the president, “We call on you today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder accountable for Operation Fast and Furious – and urge you to ask for his immediate resignation.”
A dozen Republicans were present at a Tuesday press conference announcing the White House letter.
Walsh’s staff told The Christian Post that they hope to send out the letter as early as Thursday.