The head of the U.S. Justice Department launched his strongest personal defense yet in the growing furor over Operation Fast and Furious, the controversial sting targeting Mexican drug cartels and American gunrunners.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said for the first time that not only he but also other higher-ups at the Justice Department were not aware of the operation as it was being carried out. Holder also suggested politics could be a driving force behind Republican lawmakers' forceful inquiries into the matter.
"The notion that somehow or other this thing reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that. ... I don't think is supported by the facts," Holder told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Washington. ......
"It's kind of something I think certain members of Congress would like to see, the notion that somehow or other high-level people in the department were involved. As I said, I don't think that is going to be shown to be the case -- which doesn't mean that the mistakes were not serious."