US justice boss Holder cleared by internal watchdog

Botched job under Obama-appointed DOJ head not likely to disappear during election run-up

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Eric Holder, the US attorney general, has been cleared of wrongdoing by an internal Department of Justice (DOJ) watchdog investigation into the “Fast and Furious” undercover operation that put US guns into the hands of drug cartels in Mexico.

But the 471-page report, ordered by Holder in 2011 into the operation that went badly wrong, is being widely criticized for stepping around the question of how the man at the top of the DOJ was unaware of the project. It recommends disciplinary action for 14 department officials, two of whom have left in the wake of the report that was published Wednesday 19 September.

The operation went public in December 2010 when a US Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed in Arizona and investigators tried to track two guns found at the scene of the crime. Guns that were sold as part of the operation have appeared at crimes scenes in both countries.

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