Interesting Location Holder Chose To Speculate On Future

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke to law students today at the University of Baltimore Law School and revealed he isn’t sure about staying on as Attorney General.

Of course, while I suppose it would be possible to replace him with someone worse, it would be tough. The blog of says some potential candidates would be Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and S. District of NY US Attorney Preet Brahara.

What I found most interesting is that Holder chose the University of Baltimore Law School to make these sentiments known given its dean is Ronald Weich. Weich, you may recall, was the smarmy representative of the Justice Department who appeared many times before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearings on Project Gunwalker.  I wonder if this was a sort of payback for Weich for taking so much heat and lying so artfully before the Committee.

Getting Out While The Getting Is Good

It was announced yesterday that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich will be leaving the Department of Justice to become Dean of the University of Baltimore Law School.

From the university’s announcement:

University of Baltimore President Robert L. Bogomolny has named Ronald Weich, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the U.S. Department of Justice and former chief counsel to both U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, as the new dean of the University’s School of Law. Weich, a longtime federal official with expertise in criminal justice and legislative process, will begin his tenure as dean in July. The University of Baltimore School of Law is the sixth largest public law school in the country, with more than 1,100 students at its midtown campus.

“Ron Weich is the right person to continue the growth and transformation of the UB School of Law,” Bogomolny said in announcing Weich’s appointment. “During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities. I look forward to working with him, and I know our students, faculty, staff and alumni will be energized by his arrival.”

“UB is a law school with tremendous strengths and endless potential,” Weich said. “I’m honored to be selected as dean, and I can’t wait to join this vital institution.”

Weich was appointed to his current Justice Department position by President Barack Obama in March 2009 and confirmed by the Senate the following month. In this role, he develops and implements strategies to advance the department’s legislative priorities, coordinates the department’s response to congressional oversight and guides nominees through the Senate confirmation process.

Prior to his work at the Justice Department, Weich served as chief counsel to Senator Reid from 2007-09 and in a similar capacity when Reid was minority leader in 2005-06. As principal legal adviser to the Democratic leader, Weich helped to manage Senate floor activity on Judiciary Committee bills and judicial nominations and coordinated related activities of the Democratic caucus. Weich played a key staff role in enactment of the 2007 ethics reform law, the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other significant legislation.

As Senator Kennedy’s chief counsel (1995-97), general counsel (1992-95) and counsel (1990-92), Weich advised the senior senator from Massachusetts on civil and criminal justice issues, drug control policy, patient safety legislation, constitutional amendments and other matters.

From 1997-2004 Weich was an attorney in private practice at Zuckerman Spaeder, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm with a highly regarded Baltimore office. Earlier in his career, he served as special counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan.

Weich earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1983. He also holds a B.A. from Columbia University, which he received in 1980.

Ronald Weich, for those who are not familiar, has been the Department of Justice’s designated obfuscator in hearings on Project Gunwalker before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He was the signer of the letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley which denied that ATF had knowingly allowed guns to walk. This letter was later retracted as being “inaccurate”.

As Rep. Steve King (R-IA) says about Weich’s resignation, it indicates that the Obama Administration is starting to move people out of “the target area” of the Project Gunwalker investigation.

One thing that struck me about the release announcing Weich’s appointment as dean was what the President of the University of Baltimore, Robert Bogomolny, said about his appointment: “During this time of considerable transition in legal education and the legal profession, it is important to have leadership with integrity and vision. Ron Weich embodies those qualities.” Leadership with integrity is not something I would associate with Ron Weich nor, for that matter, any of the higher-ups in the current Department of Justice.

You have to wonder if Dean Weich will be teaching any classes for the University of Baltimore Law School. If so, I’d suggest it be called Congressional Relations: How to Lie, Deny, and Obfuscate While Keeping a Straight Face.

H/T Mike Vanderboegh

About Those Big Fish The ATF Was Pursuing…

Ostensibly the purpose of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious was to use the little fish (aka straw purchasers)as a means to reach the big fish of the Mexican drug cartels. After it came out last week that the ATF let Manuel Celis-Acosta, ringleader of the illegal gun buyers, off when they had him in custody at the US-Mexican border, we now learn that the so-called big fish were informants for the FBI.

According to DEA and Congressional reports, the two men were the primary cartel contacts used to finance the illegal gun trafficking ring. Jim Needles, the assistant Agent in Charge of the Phoenix ATF office estimated the brothers spent $250,000 on guns tracked by his agency while conducting Operation Fast and Furious. Needles called it “a disappointment” the FBI didn’t bother to tell his agency of the connection.

“You are getting at the very basis of this investigation,” Senator Charles Grassley said Friday.

“But I have to wait till we have all the information before we bring down the hammer.”

Grassley first revealed in September 2011 the FBI, knew, but failed to tell the ATF, it’s informants were part of the gun trafficking ring. Then in February, Grassley called them “the big fish” ATF had been looking for the entire time.

Both the FBI and DEA know the Miramontes brothers’ role and identity, but declined to tell the ATF during a “deconfliction” meeting Dec. 15, 2009. Nor did either agency speak up at any of the joint meetings all three agencies attended of the Southwest Border Initiative. The DEA and ATF’s Group 7 shared the same floor of the same building and the same ‘wire room’ to listen to wiretaps of suspects.

Eventually and under pressure, the FBI invited top ATF officials to a classified briefing in El Paso in the late summer of 2010 and described the Eduardo and Jesus Miramontes as “a national security assets”. The two men were “off limits, untouchable and indictable” said a source familiar with the briefing.

Watch the latest video at <a href=””></a>

Mike Vanderboegh offers this analysis of the news:

Is it becoming clearer? Black operations are compartmentalized. The only thing that is required is the ability to deflect interest from other agencies and supervisors within a given agency who might be meddlesome. “National security” goes a long way. What is also required are back-channel means of communication and control. Can you say from “old friends” like the State Department’s Kevin O’Reilly serving on the National Security Council and “Gunwalker Bill” Newell in Phoenix? I knew you could. And remember the one thing in Phoenix which would be required would be someone in control who could issue the proper orders and put them in a nice legal-looking frame — Janet Napolitano’s lickspittle, anti-gun zealot Dennis K. Burke. Personnel is policy.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich is leading a counter-attack by accusing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and their investigators of “impeding the Department’s efforts to hold individuals accountable for their illegal acts.” Moreover, as David Codrea notes, Weich’s objections center around the fact that ATF knew Manuel Celis-Acosta was trafficking in firearms and still let him go despite that knowledge. His attempt at deflection on the leaks coming from the Department of Justice is a day late and a dollar short given what we now know.

Justice Backtracks On Number Of Fast And Furious Guns Involved In Violent Crimes

In a letter sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich is backtracking on the number of firearms from Project Gunwalker that have been found at U.S. violent crime scenes. Previously, the Justice Department said these walked firearms had been found at the scene of 11 violent crimes in the United States. Now according to this letter, Weich is saying they combined the number of U.S. and Mexican guns traced into the number reported to Congress by mistake.

Weich is now saying that except for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry that “ATF is aware of only one instance where a firearm associated with Operation Fast and Furious was traced and coded as recovered in connection with a crime of violence in the United States.”

Why does one get the feeling that anytime Assistant AG Ron Weich opens his mouth that he will seek to confuse, obfuscate, or otherwise parse what he has said in the past?

Lori Jean Gliha, a local reporter for ABC15 in Phoenix, has been following the firearms that were walked to crimes in Arizona for months now.

We uncovered official documents showing nearly 50 guns connected to the Fast and Furious case were also recovered at the scenes of non-violent Glendale and Phoenix crimes.

All of the non-violent cases involve drug-related offenses.

Notwithstanding Weich’s retraction, 2 Federal law enforcement officers and an estimated 15-200 Mexicans have been killed with firearms traced to Operation Fast and Furious. Gliha reports that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had this response to the retraction.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has been a leader in the Congressional investigation into the controversial Fast and Furious case said he was not surprised by the new information.

“The Justice Department has been less than forthcoming since day one, so the revisions here are hardly surprising, and the numbers will likely rise until the more than 1000 guns that were allowed to fall into the hands of bad guys are recovered-most likely years down the road.”

Unfortunately, Sen. Grassley is correct. These walked guns will keep showing up for years to come.

“Felony Stupid”

If you haven’t heard or seen a good rant in a while, here is your chance. The C-Span video below is from the third portion of today’s hearings held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

After Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich reads his prepared testimony, Chairman Darrell Issa starts to light into him with a vengeance. It was beautiful to see Weich squirm knowing he had to sit there and take it. The relevant parts of the video run from the 7:15 mark up to about 12:47 mark. If the video was able to be excerpted – or if I knew how! – I would have presented that alone.

I was disgusted by the obsequious apology from Ranking Member Cummings to Weich when it was Cummings turn to speak. He certainly never apologized for his behavior in many of the hearings he held when he was Chairman of the Committee and it was not his place to apologize for Issa’s comments. I think darn near anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis would have said much worse and would not have been as restrained as Chairman Issa.


Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, in his written testimony submitted for the hearings into Operation Fast and Furious, relies upon a position taken by the head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan years for refusing to provide all the documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The most basic justification for the policy follows from the Constitution’s careful separation of legislative and executive powers, the purpose of which is to protect individual liberty. As Charles J. Cooper, the Assistant Attorney General heading the Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan Administration, explained in 1986, providing a congressional committee with sensitive, Executive Branch information about an ongoing law enforcement investigation would put Congress in an inappropriate position of exercising influence over or pressure on the investigation or possible prosecution. See Congressional Requests, 10 Op. O.L.C. at 76.

In what can only be called a delicious irony, the most anti-gun administration in recent memory has had to rely upon the writings of pro-gun attorney Charles J. Cooper to defend their position. Cooper and his law firm Cooper and Kirk serve as the attorneys for a number of the Second Amendment lawsuits brought by the National Rifle Association. Among the more notable include Benson v. Chicago which challenges the New Chicago Gun Law and both of the D’Cruz cases in Texas.