Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division is the first of possibly many Department of Justice officials to resign following Wednesday’s release of the Inspector General’s summary report on Operation Fast and Furious. However, the report appears to exonerate Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to Justice Department officials, the DOJ Inspector General’s report claims that Weinstein is the most senior official who had knowledge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation and was in a position to stop Operation Fast and Furious.
Some low-level officials are singled out by name in the report, with all three serving in the ATF. Phoenix Agent in Charge Bill Newell, Supervisor Dave Voth and Case Agent Hope MacAllister are blamed for the gun-walking operation that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
But their attorneys stated the entire ATF chain of command and Justice Department officials were cognizant of the entire debacle. The 475-page report is the result of the Inspector General’s investigators reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing more than 125 witnesses.
tell the Law Enforcement Examiner that they are highly suspicious of the report. “I find it hard to believe that someone who’s part of the upper-echelon of the DOJ never spoke to his bosses about an ongoing criminal investigation especially one involving a foreign country,” said Thomas Brunski, a former police intelligence official.
“In my humble opinion — and it’s based on 30-years law enforcement and intelligence experience — Weinstein is falling on his sword to save his bosses. I’d like to keep track of his career after he leaves the Justice Department,” Brunski said.
“I’m hoping Newell, Voth and MacCallister will do the right thing and fight being scapegoats in a court of law. This is the most hands-on Justice Department in decades. In fact, it’s really an extension of Holder’s ideological agenda,” said former NYPD detective Christopher Hanrahan.
According to the Congressional Internet Caucus: Jason Weinstein was appointed in May 2009 to be a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, where he managed the Division’s computer crime and intellectual property programs, as well as its violent crime, organized crime, and human rights programs.
Before joining the Criminal Division, Jason served for close to seven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. During that time, he served as Chief of the Violent Crime Section in the Baltimore office, where he designed and managed the Maryland Exile program, which has contributed to major reductions in shootings and murders in Baltimore.
Prior to joining the District of Maryland, he served for three years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted criminal cases involving, among other things, violent crime, gangs, financial crimes, narcotics, money laundering and racketeering.
The ATF is no stranger to political scandals. In 1995, it was the subject of an investigation in its handling of the Branch Davidian massacre that occurred in Waco, Texas. In that fiasco, low-level ATF supervisors were held responsible, but top Clinton Administration officials escaped punishment including Attorney General Janet Reno and a young Deputy Assistant Attorney Eric Holder.