The House Oversight Committee has been trying to interview Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona. Cunningham had an interview scheduled for today (Thursday, Jan. 19) but he canceled it suddenly, even though as recently as last Friday he was promising full cooperation into the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious.
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) therefore felt compelled to drop a subpoena on Cunningham, requiring his presence on Tuesday, January 24, for a deposition. “The Committee has made every effort to accommodate you,” Issa told Cunningham in a letter released by House Oversight today. “Your sudden withdrawal, without any explanation, is unfortunate. It has also delayed the Committee’s ability to uncover the truth about this reckless program.”
Issa noted that Cunningham’s statements on Fast and Furious vary considerably from the official Justice Department position:
Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress.
These officials told us that even after Congress began investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no unacceptable tactics were used. In fact, documents obtained confidentially just last week appear to confirm that you remained steadfast in your belief that no unacceptable tactics were used, even after the Department’s initial response to the congressional inquiry. Given that the Attorney General has labeled these tactics as unacceptable and Fast and Furious as “fundamentally flawed,” this position is startling.
David Codrea of the Gun Rights Examiner reports rumors that Cunningham will resign from the U.S. Attorney’s office by January 27. Cunningham was close to Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, a pivotal figure in the Fast and Furious scandal – who resigned back in August, although his letter of resignation didn’t mention Fast and Furious as the reason. Among other things, Burke leaked a memo from whistleblowing ATF agent John Dodson to reporters, in what has been widely seen as an attempt to discredit Dodson.