The head of the U.S." class="r_lapi">Justice Department launched his strongest personal defense yet in the growing furor over Operation Fast and Furious, the controversial sting targeting Mexican drug cartels and American gunrunners.

On Wednesday, Attorney General" class="r_lapi">Eric Holder said for the first time that not only he but also other higher-ups at the Justice Department were not aware of the operation as it was being carried out. Holder also suggested politics could be a driving force behind Republican lawmakers' forceful inquiries into the matter.

"The notion that somehow or other this thing reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that. ... I don't think is supported by the facts," Holder told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Washington. "It's kind of something I think certain members of Congress would like to see, the notion that somehow or other high-level people in the department were involved. As I said, I don't think that is going to be shown to be the case -- which doesn't mean that the mistakes were not serious."

A spokeswoman for the Republican leading a congressional investigation described Holder's comments as baseless "whining," and earlier Wednesday the House Republican himself said the issue is about more than who knew what, when.

IF Holder didn't know about this major operation for 2+ years  .. is that the type of man who should be running the 'Justice Dept'??

Now some people (understandably) believe that Holder is nothing more than a minority political puppet. They also say that this is exemplified by HIS decisions regarding terrorist trials and the New Black Panthers among others.

But I don't believe all these notions. I do think that every decision, every word, every news release is reviewed with the priority of re-election in mind.

Just trying to think of a single area of the Fed that can be described as being 'managed' to the level that it deserves. We can scratch the post Office, Dept of Labor. Let me know if you stumble across one.