Issa not backing off of contempt threat over DOJ documents


AWR Hawkins, writing for Big Government, reports that he has acquired the letter sent from Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to Attorney General, Eric Holder.  The letter is in regard to Holder’s “lack of good faith” in his failure to comply with official requests solicited by Issa.  Issa is reported to have said that the DOJ appears to be “more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress.”

In the letter, Issa wrote:

“The Justice Department’s request for additional time has, unfortunately, not been followed by efforts to bridge the significant differences between its legal obligation to Congress and the reality of its stonewalling. The [House Oversight and Government Reform Committee] is determined to know what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and how the Justice Department responded when it was publicly confronted with evidence of reckless conduct after Agent Terry’s death. If the Justice Department cannot commit to providing, at a minimum, a detailed description of documents it is withholding, and the legal basis for doing so, then the committee has no other option than to move forward with the contempt process against Attorney General Holder.”

Additionally, the letter begs the following questions:

1. Exactly how and when did senior Department officials learn the truth of what happened?

2. Did Department officials retaliate against whistleblowers?

3. Why did Department officials decide to move forward with prosecuting old cases involving highly objectionable tactics when line prosecutors had refused to do so?

4. Why did senior Department officials fail to see the clear connection between Fast and Furious and prior flawed operations they have admitted they knew about?

5. When did the Department first learn about Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s February 2011 suggestion of gunwalking, and why did the Department wait so long before telling Congress about it?

6. A year later, will the responsible senior Department officials be held accountable?

The letter ended with this statement:

“[And] this is not an “election year political ‘gotcha’ game,” but rather a bipartisan sentiment. As Ranking Member [Elijah] Cummings (D-MD) promised the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, “we will not rest until every single person responsible for all of this, no matter where they are, are brought to justice.” I applaud his revolve, and I want to make it clear that Congress will not give up until this accountability has been achieved.”

The full letter can be read here.

 

The following two points demonstrate why we should not be shocked by Holder’s behavior in relation to Operation Fast and Furious:

  • Under the Clinton administration, serving as Deputy Attorney General, Holder obtainined freedom for members of the Puerto Rican nationalist terrorist group, FALN.  Holder met with advocates for  FALN’s clemency at least nine times over the course of two years and deliberately excluded the victims, of the terrorist group, from these proceedings.  He failed to confer with the prosecution and law enforcement who were instrumental in the apprehension of  FALN.    (more)

 

  • Holder, serving in the same capacity, under the Clinton administration, pardoned commodities trader, Marc Rich, the fugitive billionaire who absconded the country in 1983, to escape prosecution for tax evasion, trading with the enemy and racketeering.  Rich’s attorneys were able to circumvent normal procedures by simply taking the pardon to White House attorneys, who granted the pardon.  Both Democrats and Republicans, in congress, participated in investigating the reprehensible situation.  (more)

Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, has not been overlooked in all the brouhaha.  On Wednesday, Napolitano was interrogated by House Republicans—during which she admitted that lot of mistakes had been made.

The hearing,  conducted by the House’s Homeland Security Committee, was in regard to President Obama’s 2013 Homeland Security budget but eventually segwayed into a Fast and Furious hearing.  This departure was due to the date of the hearing coinciding with the anniversary of the murder of Jaime Zapata, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, who died in the line of duty.

When Napolitano was asked if the weapons used to kill Agent Zapata may have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious, Napolitano replied, saying: “I have no information to that effect, no. I don’t know one way or the other.”

Later in the proceedings, Napolitano said that there were “lots of mistakes made” and that those mistakes “should never be repeated.”  Nevertheless, Napolitano never did state conclusively that a link between the Fast and Furious weapons and the murder of Agent Zapata exists.  She did, however, according to the Houston Chronicle, appear to be quite flustered by the line of questioning.

-Eric Odom