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Rep. Issa says Fast and Furious subpoenas will be issued soon
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:49 PM EST, Sun October 9, 2011
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa says subpoenas may be issued this week.
Rep. Issa says subpoenas could be sent out this week
He tells "Fox News Sunday" Holder knew about the gun operation earlier than he testified
Holder insists that he was not inconsistent in his testimony
Fast and Furious was a gunrunning operation to track weapons to drug cartels
Washington (CNN) -- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said Sunday that he could issue subpoenas to the Justice Department this week in connection to a now-discredited federal gunrunning operation.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Issa said that he wants a better understanding of who knew what, when about Operation Fast and Furious.
"But more importantly, we have to understand at what level did the authorization really come?" he said.
"People at the top of (the) Justice (Department) were well briefed, knew about it and seemed to be the command and control and funding for this program."
The operation involved agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowing illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels to "walk" from Phoenix, Arizona, gun stores into Mexico.
GOP calls for attorney general probe
The idea was to track the sellers and purchasers of guns to Mexican cartels, but the program became mired in controversy after weapons found at Mexican and American murder scenes were traced back to the program. Mexican officials and critics in the United States called the program a failure, saying it exacerbated the longstanding problem of U.S. weapons getting into the hands of the violent Mexican cartels.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Judiciary Committee in May that he had known about the Fast and Furious program for just a few weeks.
He responded angrily Friday to Republican critics of his handling of the controversial operation, charging them with using "irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric."
"I simply cannot sit idly by as a (Republican) member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests, as happened this week, that law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered 'accessories to murder,'" Holder said in a letter to members of Congress.
"Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms," he said.
The bitter debate followed the release last week of Justice Department documents on Capitol Hill that prompted Republican critics to charge Holder knew about the now-discredited gun operation before he previously claimed.
Holder insisted, as his Justice Department aides have for several days, that he was not inconsistent in his testimony.
At the committee's May 3 hearing, Issa, R-California, raised the subject of the program with Holder.
"When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious? To the best of your knowledge, what date?" Issa asked.
"I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Operation Fast and Furious for the first time over the past few weeks," Holder testified.
On Sunday, Issa told "Fox News Sunday" that the Judiciary Committee has invited Holder to "come and clear the record."
"Clearly, he knew when he said he didn't know. Now the question is what did he know and how is he going to explain why he gave that answer," said Issa.
Gun industry representatives said they would file lawsuits Wednesday challenging new gun-control measures by the Obama administration, an effort the nation's top lawyer vowed to "vigorously oppose."
The Justice Department, facing growing questions over Operation Fast and Furious, a controversial sting targeting Mexican drug cartels and American gunrunners, announced last month that it would begin requiring firearms dealers along the nation’s Southwest border to report multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles. The department said such rifles are "highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations," and the new measures would help "detect and disrupt" weapons trafficking networks.
On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association, were planning to file separate lawsuits challenging the government’s authority to impose the new requirements. The groups are seeking immediate court orders blocking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from implementing the new reporting requirements.
"[We] are committed to cooperating with ATF and other law enforcement agencies ... to investigate and enforce violations of firearms laws," according to a copy of the industry group’s lawsuit not yet filed in court. "However, Congress has conferred only limited authority on ATF to require federally-licensed firearms dealers to submit information regarding firearms sales. In this case, ATF's demand exceeds its authority and is prohibited under federal law."
But, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the "action we have taken is consistent with the law."
"The measures that we are proposing are appropriate ones to stop the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico," he told reporters in Washington.
Obama/Holder intimidating and threatening Gunrunner Whistleblowers
Posted By: Watchman Date: Monday, 1-Aug-2011 22:46:12 Maybe if this bullshit, always a done deal, debt-bacle gets over with, we can get back to frying their ass for RICO type gunrunner crime--
It appears that the Obama administration is forgetting a key rule of politics, its not the mistake that gets you, it's the cover-up.
For the second time in less than a month they are being accused of obstructing the Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF operation which allowed Mexican drug cartels and convicted felons to obtain weapons. The purpose of these committee hearings is to discover how such a lame-brained scheme was allowed to proceed.
Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding hearings continuing its investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
According to Committee Chairman Issa, the Obama administration sought to intimidate witnesses into not testifying before his committee. Issa said at least two scheduled witnesses ”received warning letters from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to limit their testimony.
Issa made this revelation in an interview last night with the Washington Times.
But after receiving subpoenas, at least two of the agents got letters from ATF Associate Chief Counsel Barry S. Orlow warning them to keep certain areas off-limits, including those still under investigation. Neither of the targeted agents was identified.
Mr. Issa said at least one witness wanted to back out of testifying to his committee after receiving the letter, but the chairman declined that request. Instead he fired a letter back to William J. Hoover, deputy director of ATF, saying the “timing and content of this letter strongly suggest that ATF is obstructing and interfering with the congressional investigation.”
This is the second time, there have been charges of obstruction made against the Obama administration regarding the Fast and Furious scandal. On July 4th ATF Director Ken Melson testified before Darrell Issa's Committee. As a result of the meeting, Issa along with ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley fired off a letter about Melson's charge that he had been directed to obstruct the Congressional investigation.
"If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand," Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder. "That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation."
Issa told the Washington Times he is certain Fast and Furious was known about by most top officials at the Justice Department and that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. either knew and misled Congress, or was so out of the loop that he’s guilty of mismanagement. http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2011/07/obstruction-of-justice-obama.html