Eric Holder’s “Biggest Failure”

This week, out-going Attorney General Eric Holder told an interviewer that his biggest failure as attorney general was not getting effective gun control legislation passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Leaving aside the fact that Holder is not a legislator, what an ironic comment from the man who oversaw the Operation Fast and Furious scandal run by ATF. Yes, I say that Holder oversaw Fast and Furious, even though he has denied it and claimed that when he learned of it, he stopped it.


As a DEA agent I occasionally had the opportunity to work with ATF. I had high regard for them because along with DEA they had the most dangerous job in federal law enforcement. Today they are an agency in shambles in no small part due to the corruption and mismanagement of the Department of Justice under Eric Holder.

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I knew from the outset of this scandal that such a scheme of allowing thousands of weapons to “walk” into Mexico with no hope of seizing them and arresting their ultimate recipients could never have been hatched by street level agents in Arizona or even their immediate supervisors. This was a political plan at the highest levels of the DOJ if not the White House. The reason? So that when said weapons were recovered at the scenes of shootings in Mexico, the Obama administration could argue that most of the weapons used by drug cartels came from the US-hence the need to restrict gun sales and ownership. And show up at murder scenes they did, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and possibly that of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico. eric holder failureEven that couldn’t stir then DHS head Janet Napolitano to so much as demand answers from Holder as to why this operation had led to the deaths of one if not two of her agents. She confirmed that to me personally when I asked her about it during her speaking appearance at UCLA in 2012.

But back to Holder. His failures as attorney general are so numerous as to make it difficult to say which was the worst. “Failures” is actually the wrong word. Misdeeds is a better term. In Fast and Furious, as with other scandals, Holder came before Congress and perjured himself. He withheld thousands of internal DOJ documents that were subpoenaed by Congress. The legacy of Fast and Furious has been the shooting deaths of hundreds of people, mostly in Mexico with those weapons-a number that will continue to grow.

And Eric Holder laments that his biggest failure was not getting tougher gun laws passed after Sandy Hook! Operation Fast and Furious was Eric Holder’s Sandy Hook.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Gary Fouse

Born 1945 in Los Angeles. Currently employed since 1998 as adjunct teacher at University of California at Irvine Ext. teaching English as a second language.
Education: BS in Police Science and Administration California State University at Los Angeles (1970)
Master of Education at University of Virginia (1993)
Served three years in US Army Military Police Corps at Erlangen, Germany 1966-68.
1970-1973- Criminal Investigator with US Customs
1973-1995 Criminal Investigator with Drug Enforcement Administration. Stationed in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Milan, Italy, Pittsburgh and Office of Training, FBI Academy, Quantico, Va until retirement.
Author of Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town-University Press of America 2005
The Story of Papiamentu-A Study in Slavery and Language, University Press of America, 2002
The Languages of the Former Soviet Republics-Their History and Development, University Press of America, 2000

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