Well, let's see. During the early days of the Clinton administration, we had the sad spectacle of Treasury aide Josh Steiner telling Senators investigating the Whitewater real estate deals and the Resolution Trust Corporation that that he written untrue things in his diary, i.e., that "essentially .... he had lied to his diary." During the Paula Jones trial, the jury was entertained (members are said to have laughed) when Bill Clinton tried to answer a question by saying that "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
Soon, another insufferable howler may eventually enter the lexicon, courtesy of Monty Wilkinson, former deputy chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Holder, namely, "I lied in an email when I wrote that 'I've alerted the AG.'"
The subject deserving of an "alert" was the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010 at the hands of Mexican criminals using guns which had previously disappeared during the course of Operation Fast and Furious. As reported by Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller, Wilkinson's supposed lie, which was emailed that day to now-former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, appears to be the only thing standing between Holder and definitive proof that the Attorney General did not tell the truth when he told the House Judiciary Committee in early May 2011 that he had only learned of Fast and Furious a “few weeks” earlier (later amended to "a couple of months").
Don't expect even a little recognition of how serious this matter is from Pete Yost at the Associated Press, otherwise known as the Administration's Press.
On Friday evening, in a report which has already disappeared from the wire service's national site, Yost played stall-ball for six paragraphs with less important information and wrote the following in the final two (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Also among the documents are Justice Department emails involving a former top aide to Attorney General Eric Holder. The emails show that then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson was notified by then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke the day after Terry was slain that guns found at the murder scene were connected to an investigation that Burke and Wilkinson had planned to discuss. The emails did not identify the investigation, but it was Operation Fast and Furious.
In a letter to the committee, the Justice Department said that Wilkinson does not recall a follow-up call with Burke and that Wilkinson does not recall discussing this aspect of the matter with the attorney general. According to the letter, the department has been advised that Burke has no recollection of discussing this aspect of the matter with Wilkinson.
Note that Yost did not mention the existence of the (excuse the expression in the circumstances) smoking-gun email where Wilkinson specifically said that "I've alerted the AG." If this were a Republican or conservative scandal (or even an non-scandal like the Valerie Plame affair), the discrepancy between what Wilkinson claims now and what he wrote in an email on the date of Terry's death would have led the story and have been front-page and broadcast-leading news everywhere.
Today, Yost put up an absolutely pathetic report entitled "Changes in wake of troubled arms trafficking probe," which droned on and on about how "The Justice Department is tightening procedures," while repeating the same falsehood the AP reporter employed a week ago (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), namely that the problem isn't with the operation itself, it's with the "investigation":
The Justice Department is tightening procedures for responding to information requests from Congress in the aftermath of a troubled arms trafficking investigation.
In Operation Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed hundreds of weapons to flow across the border into Mexico.
The Justice Department told three congressional committees in a letter Friday night that it has improved coordination between agents and their managers in carrying out arms trafficking investigations.
Attorney General Eric Holder probably will face questions about the changes when he testifies Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That committee has been investigating the department's mistakes in the probe since early last year.
DOJ's posturing is so risible it's hard to know where to start. Brian Terry and at least 300 Mexican citizens are dead, not because of a botched "investigation," but because of an operation whose only conceivable "logic" was to create enough mayhem on our southern border to foster a domestic political climate receptive to the idea of taking Americans' guns away.
So I guess the strategy now is for Holder to get in front of Congress and say, "We've improved how we investigate our screw-ups. Now leave us alone, and don't you dare ask me what I knew and when I knew it. Oh, and that email doesn't prove that Monty Wilkinson actually 'alerted' me to anything. And even if he really did, I just had a faulty memory when I previously testified and can't be held accountable for that. Oh, and you're all a bunch of racists for coming after me."
Pete Yost or some other hack from the AP will surely be there cheering Holder on.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.