“Good riddance” is all I have to say about Wednesday’s news from CNN that Lanny A. Breuer, the assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division is finally resigning. The U.S. Department of Justice officially announced Wednesday Breuer will leave on March 1, CNN reported.
You may recognize the name – Breuer was special counsel for President Bill Clinton during the impeachment trials in the House and Senate.
Also, “Frontline” aired a documentary last week called “The Untouchables,” which criticized Breuer for not prosecuting top Wall Street officials responsible for the financial crisis.
“Less than 24 hours after “The Untouchables” aired on PBS, its main target, Justice Department criminal-division head Lanny Breuer, abruptly resigned,” the Columbia Journal Review reported. “Frontline’s Martin Smith just nails Breuer, and by extension, his boss Eric Holder and Obama for their baffling failure to indict anyone on Wall Street for financial crisis fraud.”
But most notably, Breuer was one of the top four Justice officials Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley wanted to see resign or terminated over Operation Fast and Furious.
Grassley, the ranking Republican in the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke about Breuer’s failed leadership on the Senate floor in September.
When the Justice Department sent its letter to me denying ATF ever walked guns, Breuer knew otherwise. He knew in 2010 about gun walking in another case, Operation Wide Receiver.
He should have come forward in February 2011 and told Congress that he knew ATF had walked guns. His failure to do so, coupled with his attempt to mislead Congress, are why I have called for him to resign or be fired.
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a statement last week after early reports said Breuer would soon be resigning saying it was “long overdue:”
Breuer was at the heart of several critical failures in Operation Fast and Furious: he knew about reckless tactics, failed to take seriously allegations that they were continuing, and only owned up to his failures once they were publicly exposed.
The Inspector General’s report admonished Breuer for failing to inform the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General when he learned, in April 2010, that the reckless tactic of gunwalking was used in a prior operation. Furthermore, several of Breuer’s top deputies authorized sensitive wiretap applications under Breuer’s authority that, according to the OIG report, contained stark, incontrovertible evidence of the exact same gunwalking tactic. Had Breuer taken any action whatsoever, Fast and Furious would have ended eight months sooner than it did. This resignation paves the way for needed new leadership in the Criminal Division.