Obama Has ‘Complete Confidence’ in Attorney General Holder amid Fast and Furious Questions

By Fred Lucas | October 6, 2011 | 4:47 PM EDT

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, that the Justice Department has sued the three largest U.S. credit card companies for anti-competitive practices. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama has “complete confidence” in his attorney general, Eric Holder, who has come under fire this week regarding questions as to whether he was honest under oath during his May 3 congressional testimony concerning the botched gun-sting program known as Operation Fast and Furious.

“I’ve been very clear that I’ve got complete confidence in Attorney General Holder, and how he handles his office has been very aggressive in going after gunrunning and cash transactions that have been going to these transnational drug cartels,” Obama said at a White House news conference on Thursday.

“He’s indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious,” said the president. “Certainly, I was not. And I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if someone had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the United States of America.”

“He’s assigned the inspector general to look into how exactly this happened,” said Obama. “And I’ve got complete confidence in him and I’ve got complete confidence in the process to figure out who, in fact, was responsible for that decision.”

Newly released documents show that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious in memos from July 2010, which apparently contradicts his May 3 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, when he said:  “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has called for a special counsel to probe whether Holder told Congress the truth when he was under oath.

Operation Fast and Furious was a botched gun-sting operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) knowingly allowed guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels. The ATF lost track of most of the near 2,000 guns that it intended to track.

The program that began in September 2009 was halted in December 2010 when two guns from the operation were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The matter is under investigation by Congress and the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.