Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Operation Fast and Furious with Attorney General Eric Holder on Nov. 8, 2011

Transcript of Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) Q&A:

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. IMAGE SOURCE: Judiciary.Senate.gov

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Mr. Attorney General for being here today. I’ve listened to all the questions and all of your answers, and I want to thank you for effectively addressing many of the questions surrounding Fast and Furious and dispelling any doubt that you are determined to uncover all the facts surrounding some of the very regrettable circumstances here.

“Just so we understand a lot of names have been mentioned here – Attorney General [Michael] Mukasey, Kevin O’Connor who happens to be a former U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, and others in the department now  – there’s no evidence before us here that they knew or participated in any wrongdoing, is there?”

 

Attorney General Eric Holder: 

“Yes, I hope my testimony was clear. I just don’t know.”

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):

“It has been. Thank you. Also that there’s an ongoing investigation, which eventually will disclose whether or not and who knew about what was going on. I want to thank you for being so candid and straightforward on that point.

“I want to join my colleague, Sen. [Chris] Coons in expressing my determination that there should be more assistance and sufficient support for our police on the streets of Connecticut, in our neighborhoods, as well as the firefighters and other personnel that I would regard as law enforcement, which are really in more than one sense the cops on the beat who protect us day in and day out. Despite the very excellent performance by the FBI, they’re the ones who do the bulk of the law enforcement for our nation, and I appreciate and thank you for your support.

“I think perhaps for me one of the most important aspects of your testimony today is really the vigor and intensity that the Department of Justice is devoting now to stopping gun trafficking and drug dealing and gang violence on our borders and throughout the country, but most particularly in connection with the Mexican gangs that pose such a threat to Americans as well as Mexicans. As I understand your testimony, there have been record numbers of seizures, arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and extraditions, is that correct?”

 

Attorney General Eric Holder: 

“That is correct. We have moved substantial number of resources to the border in an attempt to stop the flow of guns into Mexico, to stop the violence along the border. We have worked in the interior of Mexico with our Mexican counterparts in training, in trying to come up with ways in which we could fight the cartels. Our Mexican counterparts have sacrificed a great deal and even with their lives in this fight, and we have tried to be good partners in their struggle.”

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):

“Would it be fair to say that the Mexicans are increasingly becoming good partners in this effort?”

 

Attorney General Eric Holder: 

“Yes. I think so. I think through the use of vetted units, through the use of other techniques that we have shared with them, through their growing sophistication with the use of electronic devices, I think they are becoming more proficient in this battle.”

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):

“There’s no question that the Department of Justice under your leadership will continue to work on disrupting and dismantling these gang-led efforts or other efforts on drug trafficking and gun dealing and so forth.”

 

Attorney General Eric Holder:

“Yes, this will continue to be a priority. Too often when we describe it as a southwest border problem when the reality is that it’s a national problem. What happens along the southwest border can have an impact in Connecticut, can have an impact in Chicago. And the person, his name has been mentioned a lot and I think deserves a little bit of credit here. The person who has been leading the effort for the Department of Justice is Lanny Breuer, the head of our criminal division. He has devoted an inordinate, a huge amount of time to this fight, has established good relationships with counter-parts in Mexico, and has been a person who really stood for in this country in developing good techniques to reduce that level of violence and the danger that the cartels pose to this country.”

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