|U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER|
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been cited for contempt by the U.S. House Oversight Committee. This charge has been leveled on Holder for his stonewall response to providing full documentation and cooperation in the committee's investigation of the gun running scandal, Operation Fast & Furious.
Operation Fast and Furious was exposed for many failures in 2010. This operation was an approved gun running operation to release weapons to known foreign nationals. This operation was brought to light when one of the released weapons was used to kill a U.S. Border Agent, Brian Terry, on December 15, 2010. Further, there were many instances of American gun dealers told by the ATF to ignore observed weapon trades so the feds could track them. In addition, other situations have been reported of these weapons used to kill U.S. citizens in America and in Mexico by known drug cartels and gangs.
The loss of Agent Terry is a tragedy. Yet, the larger concern remains the thousands of arms intentionally released to militant nationals. These arms were literally pushed into the black market to do what the Justice Department claims, "Our intent was to track these arms and find where they would go."
|AGENT BRIAN TERRY|
The premise of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) intent is worthy of scorn. Who would knowingly release thousands of arms to known criminals? Further, who would release so many guns that it would be nearly impossible to track?
Government whistle blowers have provided Congressional testimony that the Justice Department insisted they continue the operation despite their concerns over arms being turned on Americans. ATF agents and other enforcement agents had contacted DOJ to curtail or cease the operation. Regular hearings on Capitol Hill have had numerous witnesses giving testimony of the persistence of the Department of Justice in continuing the operation without question.
Congress has been investigating Operation Fast & Furious since 2010. House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa and the committee have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice and, specifically Holder, to provide extensive documentation to uncover the root cause of the authorization of Operation Fast & Furious. To date, AG Holder has only submitted 7,600 of the 70,000 subpoenaed documents. Congressman Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley have been actively working to find out exactly who gave authorization and who insisted the operation continue despite warnings from agents. Holder has provided conflicting statements in prior testimony regarding his knowledge of the operation. Documents obtained by Issa and Grassley show Holder was fully aware of the operation before the timeline he suggested in testimony.
Congress will now take further action on the contempt charges. The U.S. House of Representatives will further authorize the charges with a vote of all members. Speculation remains whether the Democrat led U.S. Senate will advance charges against Holder. This is the first time Congress has ordered contempt on a Attorney General since the Clinton Administration's Janet Reno.