Ever since the Department of Justice’s gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious became public, the Obama administration’s response has been slow and infuriating. Of particular concern is Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s lack of candor concerning what he knew and when he knew it.

This is not a typical case of bureaucratic bungling. A 40-year-old Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry, and possibly a U.S. immigration agent, are dead because of a horribly ill-conceived Justice Department operation that went tragically wrong.