Napolitano Denies Knowledge of Fast and Furious
The list of top government officials unaware of a 2009 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gun-walking program just keeps growing. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, appearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, became the latest high-level official to go on the record denying any knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious before the 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. She joins Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama who have also stated they knew nothing prior to a few weeks before May 3, 2011 (Holder) and March, 2011 (Obama.)
During the hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) confronted Ms. Napolitano on her decision not to call Holder up after she heard about agent Terry's demise. "For you to have two dead agents and to have never had a conversation with Eric Holder about Fast and Furious and about this is totally unacceptable."
The Secretary shot back that she had not communicated with Holder about the operation because it was led by the ATF, which is under the Justice Department (DOJ), and because it is being investigated by the DOJ's inspector general.
I know Mr. Chaffetz has his opinion on this matter, as the tone of his question reveals, but I simply would suggest that no one takes the death of agents more seriously than I...One of the reasons that we have not directly dealt with the attorney general on this is that he very quickly and appropriately put this matter in the hands of the inspector general.
Then Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Napolitano point blank, "Did you ever approve or sanction investigations that allowed gunwalking?" After pausing the secretary answered, "No, not to my knowledge."
Gowdy then asked whether she would have sanctioned a gun-walking program if she had known. Napolitano called the Fast and Furious scandal "troublesome from a law enforcement perspective."
Every prosecutor makes different decisions, and I don't believe I was ever presented with that decision.
Obviously, I don't want to let guns with the kind of firepower that we now know we're involved [with] get out of your control.
"And I don't believe?" "Not to my knowledge?" "Troublesome?" Federal agents and hundreds of Mexican civilians died, over a thousand weapons are still unaccounted for, and the heads of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department and White House officials have either denied knowledge of what ABC's Jake Tapper named "the big scandal" or remained silent.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) whose own Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is leading the investigation into Fast and Furious sat in on the House Judiciary meeting. In a later interview with Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Issa said Napolitano "was testy but most importantly she didn't have answers to important questions."
Government officials who condoned supplying high-powered weapons to drug cartels under Fast and Furious better start coughing up some answers; they have to know it's only a matter of time before this bloody fiasco hits the mainstream.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report