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November 15, 2011

Holder Ignored Congressional Demands For Information About 2007-2008 "Wide Receiver" Program -- And Then Leaked It To Reporters The Day Before Key Testimony In Fast & Furious, In Order To Claim "Bush Did It First"

Good catch by Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller.

Usually a leak is a dog bites man story. Of course Holder would leak to his Praetorian guard in the partisan press.

But the man bites dog part of the story is that Grassley et al. actually specifically requested information about previous gun-tracking programs. (And note, Wide Receiver wasn't a gunwalker program like Fast and Furious was -- the guns had RFID tracking chips in them. But many of those chips failed.)

Holder ignored Grassley's request for additional information about Wide Receiver. You know, that constitutional power he has to ignore requests for information from Congress.

But then, on the eve of key Fast and Furious figure Lanny Breuer's testimony*, he decided the Timing Was Now Right, and that his friends in the press could do more with the story in his defense than Grassley would be likely to, so he leaked it to them.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department sought to manipulate reporters’ coverage of Operation Fast and Furious during the days preceding a November 1 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, new emails obtained by The Daily Caller indicate.

Emails between senior Justice Department officials and investigators in the office of Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley show that congressional staffers leading the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious requested information about Operation Wide Receiver — a Bush administration program – and other similar cases, more than a full month before the DOJ leaked information to selected media outlets on October 31.

That Halloween document dump from the DOJ seemed calculated to depict Grassley’s investigation as partisan in nature.

The emails show Grassley staffers inquiring about the Bush administration program as early as mid-September.

Holder's attempt is to claim that "Bush did it," so the fact that the GOP is only asking about Holder proves this is all a partisan smear. Well, Bush didn't do it, actually, and further, the GOP was asking about the Bush era programs too.

So: Holder implicitly claims he can't release documents because they're too confidential, but then decides on his own to give them to the press when he thinks it might help them?

Or: Holder ignores a constitutional, lawful demand for information, but then releases information on his own initiative to bail his corrupt, Marc Rich pardon-purchasing ass out?

Either way. It's hard to say why Holder refused to comply, because he doesn't offer reasons -- he just ignores the requests entirely.

* This is not a mistake or a correction -- I'm actually getting this right. I'm just asterisking it so people know this leak came on the eve of Lanny Breuer's testimony, not Holder's (Holder would testify a week or so later).

People like to simplify in their heads, and I know when I first read this I kept reading, in my brain, that this occurred before Holder's testimony. I edited out the extra moving part here. Since I kept making that error, I wanted to make sure I wasn't aiding and abetting a similar error in others.

Especially because my headline elides over this detail. Well, look, the headline is already long and complicated.

Big Update: Via @williamamos on Twitter -- Why have the records of slain border agent Brian Terry been sealed?

The case against the alleged killers of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry has disappeared from federal court records, apparently sealed by a federal judge.

In May, federal prosecutors won an indictment against Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and others, and they announced it with a press release. Only Osorio-Arellanes’ name was visible in the indictment, but there were blacked-out words where other defendants’ names go.

Osorio-Arellanes was charged with second-degree murder and was not considered the likely shooter. He had been wounded during the gunfight that left Terry dead.

The case has disappeared from court records -- which I guess means a judge sealed he records.

A spokesman for the US attorney's office handling the case (in San Diego) refuses comment.

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