In the wake of news that a daring operation by U.S. Navy SEALs has killed arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, who had apparently been living for years in relative comfort right under the noses of the Pakistani government, the New York Times remarked on how this development affects the U.S./Pakistan relationship:
The basic question that Pakistan faced revolved around whether the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies knew of Bin Laden’s location and protected him, or whether they were incompetent and did not know that he was living in Abbottabad, a city less than a two-hour drive from the national capital.
Another NY Times article quotes Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), putting it perhaps even more bluntly:
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged that she had no evidence that Pakistan’s government knew where Bin Laden was hiding, but said the government had much to answer for.
“If they didn’t know, why didn’t they know? Why didn’t they pay more attention to it? Was it just benign indifference, or was it indifference with a motive,” she said.
It’s a good question, and one for which there is no attractive answer, as far as maintaining a fruitful alliance with Pakistan in the “War on Terror” is concerned.
It’s also a question very analogous to one that has been asked more than once, here in this column, about Attorney General Eric Holder’s knowledge of, and complicity with (or, alternatively, his ignorance of), the festering scandal that is “Project Gunwalker.” For example:
Are officials very near (or at?) the top of this administration guilty not only of facilitating the illegal trafficking of thousands of guns to Mexico, some of which have been used to kill perhaps hundreds of Mexican citizens and at least one American law enforcement officer (or two?), but also of trying to cover the atrocity up; or are they “merely” guilty of being too clueless and ineffectual to prevent their underlings from running (lethally) wild, without their knowledge?
More recently (just this past weekend), NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre made a similar point in a speech at the NRA convention in Pittsburgh:
Eric Holder said he didn’t know about the operation. He’s the U.S. attorney general. He’s supposed to be in charge, and he didn’t know? Who’s minding the store over at the Justice Department? Because if Holder didn’t know … Holder’s got to go!
And National Gun Rights Examiner Dan goes a big (and necessary) step further:
The only thing I would add: If Holder did know, he’s got to go…to jail.
Now, with Holder’s grilling yesterday in the House Judiciary Committee (he will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee today), by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), we have this stunning claim of Holder’s to digest, from CBS News (see sidebar video):
Congressman Issa: When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called “Fast and Furious”? To the best of your knowledge, what date?
Attorney General Holder: I’m not sure about the exact date, but I probably heard about “Fast and Furious” for the first time over the last few weeks.
Wh-wh-what? The top man in the Justice Department (parent agency of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran “Operation Fast and Furious”)–appointed by the President, with Senate approval–first heard of the operation a few weeks ago?
Senator Grassley sent Holder a letter on Feb. 9–almost twelve weeks ago–which, although it didn’t refer to “Fast and Furious” by name, that was clearly the operation being discussed. One week later, Sen. Grassley sent Holder another letter (thanks again to Sipsey Street Irregulars’ Mike Vanderboegh, for the central listing of official correspondence about “Project Gunwalker”), that does specifically mention “Operation Fast and Furious” by name. Did Holder not read it?
Congress is seriously considering reducing, or even halting outright, aid to Pakistan, prompted largely by the problem of what to call that nation’s failure to be in the least inhospitable to bin Laden: incompetence, or complicity with evil. Pakistan is listed in the “Failed States Index of 2010,” compiled by the Fund for Peace, as 10th in the list of nations most threatened with instability and unrest.
Doesn’t America deserve a Department of Justice run better than that?
- A journalist’s guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part One
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker-Part Two
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’-Part Three
- Official Correspondence on the Project Gunwalker Scandal.
- Sharyl Attkisson’s stories on CBS
- Holder also to appear in front of Senate Judiciary Committee on May 4
- Grassley may confront Holder on ‘Gunrunner’ Wednesday
- BREAKING: Grassley, Issa tell Holder they’re not giving up
- Holder waffles under oath & new Grassley-Issa letter slams DOJ’s “false statements.” ATF agents jeer at Holder weasel testimony.
- ATF agent Jay Dobyns will be on Fox News tomorrow at 10am; Agents: “If Holder didn’t know about 1000’s of guns going into Mexico then he should have.”
- Patterico: “Issa Eviscerates Holder on Gunrunner” “Eric Holder makes Janet Reno look competent.” Did Hillary throw a lamp?
- CBS discovers Grassley’s postscript to Holder letter & provides us all with a big belly laugh. Melson & Breuer to take short walk in Ft. Marcy Park?