Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is preparing contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder for his failure to cooperate fully with the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Obama Administration’s deadly gun-running program. Warnings were issued, deadlines have passed, and it’s just about “go time.”
To this end, Issa has prepared an extensive staff briefing on the case, along with a draft of Holder’s contempt citation. A press release from the House Oversight Committee says the briefing paper “explains what happened in Operation Fast and Furious, the hardships faced by the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in getting truthful answers about his death, how agents who blew the whistle on the reckless operation have faced retaliation, and the carnage in Mexico that Fast and Furious has helped fuel.”
Among the lowlights of this paper are the ATF’s discovery that two of the top ostensible “targets” for the operation that pumped thousands of American guns into the hands of Mexican cartel killers were actually FBI informants; Holder’s failure to provide documents in 12 of the 22 categories set forth in House subpoenas; the stone walls thrown before Agent Terry’s family as they investigate his death; an ATF whistleblower whose career was ruined on the pretext of punishing him for downloading $8 worth of applications to his smartphone; the appearance of Fast and Furious guns at crime scenes across Mexico, including the murder of a state Attorney General’s brother; and the dismaying decision of Patrick Cunningham, criminal division chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, to take the Fifth instead of testifying before Issa’s committee.
At 44 pages in length, Issa’s briefing paper is one of the most comprehensive summaries of the Fast and Furious scandal you can read online. Issa appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss the case against Eric Holder, noting his reluctance to “say to the Administration that we’ve come to the end.” He was very blunt about saying Holder’s Justice Department has lied to his committee.
In the middle of his appearance, the Justice Department released a statement – read to Issa while he was sitting in the studio – that said they’ve offered just about all the compliance they’re going to. The Congressman did not seem terribly surprised to hear it. Further stonewalling, he said, would be like Richard Nixon offering to release the Watergate tapes in fifty years, and the “drop dead date” for DOJ compliance with those House subpoenas is “immediately.”