A string of damning emails and testimony has laid waste to the Obama Administration’s planned defense in depth over their involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, a multi-agency plot that saw ATF, DEA, and FBI agents within the Department of Justice colluding with ICE agents in Homeland Security and IRS-CID agents within Treasury to assure that at least 2,020 firearms would be transferred from U.S. gun shops to the Sinaloa cartel without the possibility of state or local authorities interdicting smuggled weapons or arresting the straw purchasers or the smugglers themselves.
In recent comments by Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, and repeated comments from President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, it has become apparent that the last, perhaps only defensive card the Administration has to play is to invoke the investigation into the gun-walking scheme being run by acting DOJ Inspector General Cynthia A. Schendar. By claiming that they do not want to talk because of the on-going OIG investigation, the President and appointees buy themselves both time and a plausible reason to avoid making comments that may come back to haunt them in the event of impeachment or a criminal trial.
But who is acting Inspector General Schnedar, what role does she have to play in investigating her boss and her boss’s boss? Is there any reason to suspect she can be trusted to provide a fair an impartial accounting of the actions that led to the shooting of three U.S. federal agents, and the deaths of 200 Mexican citizens, or more?
It would be unfair to malign Schnedar’s character or objectivity as the acting Inspector General, so we’ll simply report the facts as they are known.
The Obama Administration has a very bad record of intervening into Inspector General investigations, and in fact had Corporation for National and Community Servic Inspector General Gerald Walpin fired for his investigation into an ally of President Obama that misappropriated an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant.
Eric Holder is well known to be a key ally of the President, in addition to being the head of the Agency that employs Schnedar. It is reasonable for Schnedar to suspect that if she finds the Obama Administration or its high-level appointees responsible for their apparent roles in walking guns, that she would find that she is no longer needed as acting Inspector General, nor would her services as a lawyer be in great demand in the private sector, having turned against a President heavily favored by the legal profession.
This of course, assumes that acting Inspector General Schnedar is both ethically allowed and practically interested in conducting a legitimate investigation.
Why would she want to “rat out” a colleague like her old friend Eric Holder?
It turns out that Ms. Schnedar has long and close ties to Mr. Holder. According to her biography on the Justice Department website, she became assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. in 1994. Eric Holder had become the U.S. attorney in Washington the previous year, so he in effect was Schnedar’s boss from 1994 until 1997, when he left to become President Clinton’s deputy attorney general. Holder would become a key player in the scandalous pardons of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich and members of the Puerto Rican nationalist terrorist group known as FALN.
But during Ms. Schnedar’s tenure before Holder had departed, it happened that they had ended up working a number of cases together. According to the LexisNexis website, there were at least fourteen of them, usually at the appellate level. For Holder, it was more than just “in name only”; in some of those cases, they apparently co-filed legal briefs.
In one case, they had represented the ATF. In another, they represented both the ATF and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), an agency that has now also been linked to Fast and Furious.
The ethical conflict of interest faced my acting IG Schnedar is insurmountable. She is tasked with investigating a former colleague who is currently her employer, and an unfavorable outcome would seem to terminate both her current career as an acting Inspector General and vastly reduce her chances for premium employee opportunities in the private sector as well. For these reasons, an ethical Inspector General would have recused herself from the investigation immediately, something that Schednar has steadfastly refused to do, raising the specter of impropriety and cronyism, undermining the system she is sworn to protect.
Of course, that is making the assumption that Cynthia Schnedar is ethical Inspector General, which evidence seems to suggest she may not be.
Secret tapes recorded by the gun dealer at the heart of the government’s gun-walking operation were turned over to the Congressional investigators working the case. Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa turned over copies of the tapes to Schendar, who immediately turned them over to the very people she is supposed to be investigating, without even first listening to the tapes herself. Schnedar will eventually find that her mandate as acting Inspector General is to investigate “waste fraud or abuse,” which she will not find in Operation Fast and Furious and she slow-walks her investigation to deny documents to Congress while her investigation drags on.
The Obama Administration is heavily, perhaps entirely invested in hiding behind acting Inspector General Schendar’s investigation, and certainly depends upon it as their last rhetorical stand defending themselves in the media. No wonder the President has ignored a growing chorus of calls from law enforcement officers and Congress to take Schnedar off the case and appoint an indepedent special prosecutor.
The fix is in.