Holder Announces He Might Not Stay On As Attorney General
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BALTIMORE (CBSDC) — Attorney General Eric Holder might not be sticking around for a second term.
Holder told law school students at the University of Baltimore School of Law that he does not know if he will stay in his job.
“That’s something that I’m in the process now of trying to determine,” Holder said. “I have to think about, can I contribute in a second term?”
Holder says he needs to sit down with his family and President Obama to see if he wants to continue on the job.
“[I have to] really ask myself the question about, do I think there are things that I still want to do? Do I have gas left in the tank? It’s been an interesting and tough four years, so I really just don’t know,” Holder told students.
Holder has been under fire from congressional Republicans for what he knew about the botched “Fast and Furious” operation where the U.S. allowed guns to be sold illegally in hopes to track Mexican drug cartels. Holder was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents regarding the operation. President Obama has invoked executive privilege.
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was reportedly killed with one of the guns used in the ATF operation.
Terry’s December 2010 death lifted the veil on the bungled federal government’s gun-smuggling investigation that was later the subject of congressional probes.
Federal authorities have faced heavy criticism for allowing suspected straw gun buyers to walk away from shops with weapons, rather than arrest the suspects and seize the guns there.
Two rifles bought by a gun-smuggling ring that was being monitored through “Fast and Furious” were found at the scene. But authorities have declined to say whether the murder weapon in Terry’s death was linked to a purchase from the operation.
Terry and three other agents came under attack in a canyon north of the Arizona border city of Nogales by Manuel Osorio-Arellanes and four other men who had come to the U.S. to rob marijuana smugglers, investigators have said.
Osorio-Arellanes, of El Fuerte in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, was shot during the gunfight and has been in custody since the night of the shooting. Osorio-Arellanes told investigators he raised his weapon toward the agents during the shootout but didn’t open fire, the FBI said.
Sentencing has been set for Jan. 11 before U.S. District Judge David Bury.
“Operation Fast and Furious” was launched in 2009 to catch trafficking kingpins, but federal agents lost track of about 1,400 of the more than 2,000 weapons — including AK-47s and other high-powered assault rifles.
Some of the guns purchased illegally with the government’s knowledge were later found at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S.
Critics have hammered federal authorities for allowing informants to walk away from Phoenix-area gun shops with weapons.
The two guns found at the scene of the Terry shooting were bought by a straw buyer for a smuggling ring suspected of purchasing guns for the brutal Sinaloa cartel, according to investigators.
Holder is the first African-American to hold the position.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)