Issa: Lanny Breuer’s resignation from Justice ‘long overdue’

(Sean Gardner/GETTY IMAGES) Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, left. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a sort of good riddance on Thursday to Lanny Breuer, the supposedly outbound assistant attorney general whose tenure with the Justice Department has been marked by the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking controversy.

Issa said in a statement that the impending resignation of Breuer, who heads the Justice Department’s criminal justice division, is “long overdue” and “paves the way for needed new leadership.”

An inspector general’s report criticized the assistant attorney general for failing to inform key superiors that he knew about the agency’s botched attempt to infiltrate gun-smuggling rings by allowing powerful firearms to flow into Mexico and onto U.S. streets between 2006 and 2007.

Two of the guns involved in that operation turned up at a crime scene where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.

“Breuer was at heart of several critical failures in Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa said. “He knew about reckless tactics, failed to take seriously allegations that they were continuing, and only owned up to his failures once they were publicly exposed.”

Two of the highest-ranking officials admonished in the inspector general’s report — former acting deputy attorney general Gary Grindler and deputy assistant attorney general Jason Weinstein — resigned from the Justice Department in connection with the gunwalking operation.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to stay on for at least part of President Obama’s second term.

Aside from Operation Fast and Furious, Breuer is also known for his efforts to clamp down on white-collar crime, including his efforts to prosecute banks involved with rigging the global interest rate known as Libor.

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Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.
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Josh Hicks · January 24, 2013