Attorney General Eric Holder paid tribute Wednesday morning to some of his colleagues who give him the most grief: employees of the Justice Department’s Inspector General.
In the past year, the watchdog office has released reports digging into the deeply flawed “gunwalking” probe known as Operation Fast and Furious, mismanagement at Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and even leaks to the news media. The reports often shine an unflattering light on the department and have sometimes led to resignations of senior officials, though Holder himself has escaped direct criticism.
“I urge you to keep up the great work,” Holder said—apparently sincerely—at an award ceremony for the staff of Inspector General Michael Horowitz. “You have helped ensure this department can fulfill its essential misisons with integrity…The scope of what you’ve accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Saying he needed to attend a “briefing” on another subject, Holder ducked out just after giving his short speech. As a result, he wasn’t on hand when 11 OIG staffers got awards for their work on a 471-page report on Fast and Furious.
Another of the awards went to an OIG agent who led the investigation into the involvement of Drug Enforcement Agency agents in the use of prostitutes by personnel supporting President Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia last year.
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