In an interview with CNN on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder opened up about his biggest failure during his six-year stint as the top law enforcement official in the country.
“I think the inability to pass reasonable gun safety laws after the Newtown massacre is, for me, something that I take personally as a failure, and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure” he said in the interview.
As the head of the Department of Justice Holder presided over the fatally flawed gun-walking program known as Operation Fast and Furious, which in conjunction with the ATF encouraged gun dealers along the Arizona-Mexico border to sell firearms to straw purchasers with known ties to Mexican drug cartels. While the putative intent was to trace the firearms back into Mexico to infiltrate the higher levels of the cartels, no real effort was made. As a result of the operation, upwards of 1,400 firearms landed in the hands of cartel operatives. Now the firearms are being recovered at crime scenes both in the U.S. and in Mexico, and at least one Fast and Furious gun turned up at the scene where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot in December of 2010 while patrolling Peck Canyon, Arizona.
When Congressional investigators began to examine the botched gun-smuggling operation, it became apparent that Holder’s Justice Department was holding back information. Investigators obtained a subpoena to access DOJ documents related to the operation, but even then Holder refused to give them up. He was subsequently held in contempt of Congress, the first sitting cabinet member to earn that dubious distinction.
Since the lid has been blown off the Fast and Furious scandal due in part to the Brian Terry development, some have argued that it was purposely designed to spur calls for gun-control reform in the U.S. While evidence for this theory remains tenuous — that said, the Obama administration did cite violence in Mexico as the impetuous behind an act requiring Texas, Arizona, California, New Mexico to report to the ATF anyone who purchases two or more semi-automatic rifles larger than .22 caliber and capable of accepting a detachable magazine (see LaPierre video below) — Holder’s latest comments about his biggest failure must give one pause to consider what his agenda was while he was serving under the president. Would he really go to such lengths, i.e. allow Fast and Furious to metastasize to such a deadly extent, to roll back the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens?
It’s an interesting question. Unfortunately we may never have a definitive answer. Though, gun owners can take solace in the fact that he is stepping down.