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Yesterday, the Department of Justice Inspector General released the report of its investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Fast & Furious scandal. From the New York Times:

[The report] laid primary blame on what he portrayed as a dysfunctional and poorly supervised group of Arizona-based federal prosecutors and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, describing them as “permeated” by “a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” that allowed a risky strategy to continue despite the danger to public safety.
The report singled out the actions of 17 officials — two of whom have resigned — for a closer look, recommending that most be reviewed for possible discipline or administrative action.
Details of the Fast & Furious scandal aside, considering the Justice Department's track record on using internal processes to hold its own accountable, I'm not holding my breath for discipline for the 17 officials fingered in the Inspector General's Report. The Justice Department's internal processes failed to hold anyone accountable for the two biggest scandals of the Bush Administration - torture and warrantless wiretapping. Since institutional precedent is that even the worst conduct - authorizing torture - goes unpunished, it would seem hypocritical that the "lesser" conduct identified by the more recent Inspector General Report would yield discipline.  

I have a well-founded basis for my skepticism about the Justice Department's internal processes. As far as I know, I am still the only person to be referred to the bar association as a result of a Department of Justice Inspector General/Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigation into a torture-related case, and my advice was to permit an American terrorism suspect to have counsel. My bar referral to the D.C. Bar is still pending ten years later.

Even when OPR investigated the torture memo authors (John Yoo and Jay Bybee) and found that they had committed professional misconduct, Yoo and Bybee were permitted ample opportunity to respond to the investigation's findings. (I was referred to the bar based on a secret report to which I had no access). Worse still, despite OPR's findings of professional misconduct, Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis rejected the findings, effectively immunizing Yooo and Bybee from accountability, and refused to allow OPR to refer Yoo and Bybee to their respective bar associations. The architects of torture policy are now enjoying prestigious legal careers: my law school classmate Yoo is a tenured professor and Bybee has a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.  

Despite the Inspector General's extensive investigation into the Fast & Furious scandal, when internal investigations yield no disciplinary results for the architects of torture, actual accountability for the 17 officials the Inspector General identified seems an unlikely prospect. If the Justice Department's internal processes are to be effective, the the accountability after an investigation is as important as the investigation itself.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 05:57:09 AM PDT

  •  Now you're flogging Fast and Furious? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wwjjd, sviscusi

    Is there anything you won't pick up to club the Obama administration with?

    `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

    by seanwright on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 06:08:43 AM PDT

  •  Even good news is bad news for you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, wwjjd, sviscusi

    The process is actually working properly at this point, and you still complain because your overall critique depends on the process not working properly.  If that's not the very definition of "tendentious" then I don't know what is.

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 06:19:44 AM PDT

    •  What's good news about this? (6+ / 0-)
      portrayed as a dysfunctional and poorly supervised group of Arizona-based federal prosecutors and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, describing them as “permeated” by “a series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures” that allowed a risky strategy to continue despite the danger to public safety.
      Yeah, right:
      misguided strategies
      misguided tactics
      errors in judgment
      management failures
      The same could be said about my trip to the grocery store.
      •  Because it was uncovered? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  the good news was a bush/rove plan/fuck up was not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        pinned on holder and obama- (the only reason the criminal republicans held these hearings) - for the purpose of another standard republican media frenzy just before the election.

        the fast and furious idiocy was fermented in the sceptic tank of talk radio and then fox reality for years and some of the idiot republican reps may have actually believed the team limbaugh bullshit. it tied in well with the attack on 'illegal immigrants', voter suppression measures, and the gun industry and was just too much for the GOP think tank rovebots to pass up.

        fuck them, and good news for us.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:37:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Strawman diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is very easy to criticize future events if you get to invent them. Who knows? maybe breath-holding is the way to go here.

  •  The responsible officials should be held (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    responsible but fast and furious was a wingnut/Darrell issa witch hunt. They are probably not happy that Holder has been cleared for whatever it is they were accusing him off. This was a Republican witchhunt.

  •  Very interesting political spot here: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sviscusi, fuzzyguy

    1. Hammer those responsible to take it away as a talking point or

    2. Not give in to the witch-hunt aspect to this?

    We'll see.

  •  Left Out of All This, (0+ / 0-)

    And especially by the tepubs, is the fact that the gun running has been going on for years, guns and all the needs related, and continues.

    And no not by any government agency who knows about it and frankly I think the idea was hatched to try and stop it in this manner as they do with other issues like drugs or other smuggling.

    And it continues today, from gun runners getting their needs form gun shops, gun related show and sell, stolen weapons, you name it, all over the country but much coming from the Southwest, West and up to the Mid west down the major highways to the border and across!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 07:01:08 AM PDT

  •  Any explanation for why DOJ was so resistant (0+ / 0-)

    to providing documents on this program to the Congress?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 09:53:59 AM PDT

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