The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which claims 650,000 members, denounced Mr. Holder’s handling of the case and called Tuesday’s shuffle “a political charade by the man who really ought to tender his resignation.”
The group’s chairman, Alan Gottlieb, said Mr. Holder was trying to “convince people he is taking action” in an operation being investigated by Congress.
“Holder is just moving deck chairs on the Titanic,” Mr. Gottlieb said. “Today’s announcements will do nothing to restore America’s confidence in the BATF or the Justice Department so long as Eric Holder remains the attorney general. The ultimate responsibility for Fast and Furious lies with Holder.
“There has been no discipline and no accountability, because the man who should be ultimately accountable is still running the Justice Department,” he said.
“I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries,” Mr. Holder said.
Mr. Jones, a former U.S. Marine, will take over as acting ATF director Wednesday. A Justice Department veteran, he has served as U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota under two presidential administrations. He first served from 1998 to 2001 and was nominated again in 2009 by President Obama.
With regard to Mr. Burke, Mr. Holder said the Arizona prosecutor had “demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney’s office, first as a line prosecutor over a decade ago and more recently as U.S. attorney.
“Under his leadership, the office has made great progress in its pursuit of justice with the creation of special units focusing on civil rights enforcement and rule of law, as well as more robust outreach to key communities, particularly in Indian Country,” he said. “The office’s quick response to the devastating shootings in January that claimed the lives of several people and critically injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was crucial in arresting and charging the alleged shooter.”
“ATF employees are hardworking and dedicated to the mission of protecting the public every day, and in my time here I have seen firsthand their extraordinary commitment to stopping violent crime,” he said.
The Fast and Furious operation drew widespread criticism, sparking questions on who outside the agency knew that weapons were being taken from straw buyers in this country to Mexico. Mr. Obama has said he did not authorize the program, and Mr. Holder also has pleaded ignorance, calling for an investigation by the Justice Department’s office of inspector general.
Mr. Issa said the consequences of arming Mexican drug cartels seemed obvious, but as the weapons kept turning up at crime scenes in Mexico, there “wasn’t enough for Justice Department officials to arrest straw purchasers and shut down their trafficking operations.”
At least 122 weapons linked to Fast and Furious have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, according to a report by Mr. Issa and Mr. Grassley. More than 1,000 weapons are still unaccounted for, the report said, including AK-47 assault rifles, Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifles, .38-caliber revolvers and FN-57 semiautomatic pistols.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
Manhattan-based free-market urban bloggers bringing original political content with fresh, young voices
Musings of a bilingual, agnostic, combat veteran and jewelry maker.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention