By Jim Kouri
During a congressional hearing on Thursday, House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) slammed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder for their “failure to perform [their] lawful duties” over the botched Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.
On Wednesday, Secretary Napolitano claimed she had not discussed specifics of the covert gun smuggling operation with Holder.
“It’s hard to believe that Napolitano was not briefed on the link between Operation Fast and Furious and the killings of two of her subordinates with guns from that ATF operation. She must have known that Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a Fast and Furious handgun. If not then she’s incompetent,” said former police detective and intelligence officer Mike Snopes.
“However, I wonder if in his zeal to protect the job of an incompetent attorney general, Obama is actually throwing Napolitano under-the-bus, which is this president’s M.O. There have been numerous calls for the resignation or firing of both Holder and Napolitano,” said Snopes.
Issa and fellow Republicans in Congress have criticized the two officials for not communicating effectively, or being honest about their involvement in the operation.
“In the case of the top law enforcement officer, Eric Holder and the top official for our security at our borders and throughout the nation, Janet Napolitano — they have to talk, they have to talk daily, weekly; they have to communicate” Issa said on Thursday.
The Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program oversaw the sale of thousands of firearms to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels. Two of the firearms were later found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Another gun was allegedly used in Mexico to ambush an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, Jaime Zapata, while he was traveling from Mexico City to Monterrey.
Issa also questioned whether top administration officials are trying to deflect responsibility for Fast and Furious.
“Basically [the inspector general] said, ‘go find people to blame at a low level,’ and she [Napolitano] is in the process of doing that,” he alleged.
But despite their dissatisfaction with Napolitano, some observers are wondering why she is being targeted for investigation. “I’m surprised that the Homeland Security Secretary is being grilled by congress since the ATF is part of the Justice Department and it’s Holder’s subordinates who were involved. I’d hate to see Napolitano punished for the wrong snafu. She has her own problems in being a leader of a law enforcement and security agency,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist.