By: Jeffrey Klein
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is leading the year-long investigation into the fatally flawed ATF “Operation Fast and Furious,” and has drawn a ‘line in the sand’ for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
In a letter Issa sent to Holder, he reiterated claims the Department of Justice has “misrepresented facts and misled Congress,” and believe that Holder’s “actions lead us to conclude that the department is actively engaged in a cover-up,” according to William La Jeunesse’s FOXNews article yesterday.
The Issa continued … “If the department continues to obstruct the congressional inquiry by not providing documents and information, this committee will have no alternative but to move forward with proceedings to hold you in contempt of Congress.”
The letter cautioned Hold that he had until February 9, 2012 to comply, or immediately face Contempt of Congress charges.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Issa’s Senate counterpart in the inquiry, best described the “sticking point” between the committee and DOJ, by stating that the Congress has only received 6,000 of the 80,000 documents that Holder had long since supplied to his own Inspector General’s office at the Department of Justice.
Grassley continued, by stating that “Documents turned over late Friday night indicate [Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer] was still discussing plans with Mexican officials, to let guns cross the border on the same day the department denied to me in writing that ATF would ever let guns walk.
He [Holder] stood mute as this administration fought tooth and nail to keep any of this information from coming out for a year. It will take a lot more than a knee-jerk defense from their political allies in Congress to restore public trust in the leadership of the Justice Department. The American people want to see those who failed to act be held accountable.”
Nothing coming from the Justice Department should be taken at face value, Grassley suggested, especially since Holder initially denied “gunwalking” had occurred–but has since admitted to the operation.
In an effort to blunt Issa’s assault on Holder, the Democrat minority members of the committee released their own “investigative report” on Operation Fast and Furious, via the ranking [minority] member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), titled “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona,” as reported in Mike Levine’s FOXNews article yesterday.
Unfortunately, as much of the report is a historical overview of “gunwalking operations” dating back to 2006, based on the direction from Cummings to his staff … “to focus on the facts we have discovered, rather than the heated and sometimes inaccurate rhetoric,” it comes off as being another worn out “Bush did it” hack job.
As further indication, the report and members of Holder’s senior staff use some very interesting wording, which actually sounds more like pro forma perjury defenses for them to reference in future committee hearings and court trials.
First, in an attempt to lay [all of] the blame for Fast and Furious at the feet of [federal ATF] officials in Arizona, the report states that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have … “obtained no evidence” … implicating high-level political appointees [Holder and Co.] in Washington.
Then, Holder’s current chief of staff, Gary Grindler, who met with investigators in December 2011, told them that, contrary to some allegations, said he is “extraordinarily confident” the ATF officials who briefed him–did not tell him firearms were being allowed to go to Mexico–“That is just an absurd concept.”
Finally, in contradiction to the Democrat report stating no evidence having been obtained against top DOJ officials–Issa sent a letter to Holder back in October 2011, wherein he pointed out that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, and others, who approved wiretap applications that “contain rich detail of the reckless operations tactics being employed by your agents in Phoenix,” could have done more to stop “Fast and Furious.”
However, this Democrat report states that on January 10, 2011, Weinstein told congressional investigators … “I first heard of possible gunwalking in ‘Fast and Furious’ when the whistleblower allegations were made public in early 2011;” another potential commission of perjury.
Finally, DOJ Criminal Division Head Lanny Breuer, testified at a Senate hearing in November 2011, saying that he also first learned of the tactics “when the public disclosure was made” by ATF agents.
Nevertheless, on Feb. 2, 2011, while Breuer was meeting with Mexican officials, he “suggested allowing straw purchasers (to) cross into Mexico” so Mexican authorities can arrest and prosecute them, according to notes from the meeting released Friday night.
“Although [Criminal Division head Lanny] Breuer and his top deputies were informed of the operational details and tactics of ‘Fast and Furious,’ they did nothing to stop the program,” Issa wrote.
Surprisingly, none of these known facts were included in the new Democrat report.
As for senior DOJ staff, who should have known, or realized, what was going on, they deserve the same treatment as Joe Paterno, who coached the championship Penn State football team for nearly 60 years, but didn’t do enough to “out” a long time colleague, who was accused of perform sexual acts on a number of former students–immediate termination…even at age 84.
The one glaring difference in Paterno’s case?
No one was murdered.
And, as for Holder, whose incompetence and mealy-mouthed deflections of blame are a scandal, should be delivered the same fate as Captain Francesco Schettino, who recklessly ran the 950 foot Costa Concordia cruise ship aground, while operating too close to Giglio Island, Italy–who is now under arrest, facing 17 counts of manslaughter.
The Captain is expected to go down with his ship–as was the case on board the Titanic.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein