Congressman Allen West is calling for the removal of Attorney General Eric Holder by President Obama if a House Oversight investigation shows Holder was involved in the ordering of the deadly "Operation Fast and Furious."
"Eric Holder has to be brought before an investigative committee and if those charges are warranted he needs to be held accountable but at least the President needs to realize that Eric Holder needs to be removed from the Department of Justice or else I believe President Obama is complicit and in approval of the actions of his Attorney General."
In a speech given by Holder on April 2, 2009 in Cuernavava, Mexico, he talks about a "major new effort."
I would like to thank the Mexican and U.S. experts who have worked so hard on this issue. On our side, Secretary Napolitano and I are committed to putting the resources in place to increase our attack on arms trafficking into Mexico.
Last week, our administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels. My department is committing 100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest border in the next 100 days to supplement our ongoing Project Gunrunner, DEA is adding 16 new positions on the border, as well as mobile enforcement teams, and the FBI is creating a new intelligence group focusing on kidnapping and extortion. DHS is making similar commitments, as Secretary Napolitano will detail.
Things to note: Operation Fast and Furious started in April 2009 and was an offshoot of the Project Gunrunner program implemented under the Bush Administration. Project Gunrunner involved the surveillance of straw purchasers buying weapons, but those purchasers were immediately apprehended before crossing back into Mexico. Operation Fast and Furious allowed straw purchasers working for Mexican drug cartels to purchase mass amount of weapons in the United States and then take them back to Mexico. ATF agents who have testified before Congress about the program said the idea was to "trace" those weapons, but the tracing ended up being a total failure as GPS batteries ran out and thousands of guns were lost in Mexico and only found at final violent crime scenes.
The "major new effort" Holder spoke about, could have been the beginning of Operation Fast and Furious, and it looks like Holder used the "ongoing" Project Gunrunner as a cover, even though the two programs are very different. We know through Rep. Issa's investigation that Operation Fast and Furious started in April 2009. That same month, President Obama met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and promoted the idea of bringing back the assault weapons ban, said he wanted to work with Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to find ways to enforce gun trafficking laws, and said agencies should use"the issue of gun tracing or the tracing of bullets and ballistics and gun information that have been used in major crimes." He also admitted multiple agencies are involved with gun trafficking enforcement. In reality, it turns out ATF, DOJ, DHS, DEA and possibly even the White House weren't enforcing weapons trafficking laws at all, but allowed agents to break federal law with no justified results or drug cartel take downs through Operation Fast and Furious.
Also, Holder thanked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in his speech for her efforts and involvement in the "major new efforts." Problem: Napolitano denies knowing about the start of the operation.
On May 3, 2011 Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee, saying he had only known about Operation Fast and Furious "for a few weeks." Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been at the forefront in the investigation of the Department of Justice over this scandal, doesn't believe Holder gave accurate and truthful testimony under oath about when he knew about the operation or who ordered it.