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Issa Threatens Holder with Contempt over Fast and Furious Document Request
Posted By Elizabeth Murphy On February 1, 2012 @ 7:08 pm In News | Comments Disabled
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) threatened Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt of Congress if the top Justice Department official does not produce Fast and Furious documents currently under subpoena by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
In a four-page letter  sent yesterday, Issa wrote that the Justice Department has until 5 p.m. on Feb. 9 to produce the documents sought under an October 2011 subpoena by the House committee.
He said that emails turned over to the panel on Friday – which Issa noted was a year into their investigation – showed that Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer “promoted the moving of guns to Mexico as a strategy worth pursuing.” He added, “The fact that the Department just produced this document on Friday shows the lengths to which you are willing to go to obstruct our investigation and deceive the public.”
Last year, the committee launched an investigation of Fast and Furious, a botched gun-walking operation that allowed guns to flow illegally into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartel members. Last year, two weapons from the operation were found at the scene of a shootout in Arizona that killed a Border Patrol agent.
Issa wrote about his frustration with the Justice Department’s slow response in handing over materials to the committee.
“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,” Issa wrote.
Monday, Arizona Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Cunningham resigned  his post after continued pressure from the committee. The former head of the office’s criminal division was subpoenaed to testify about his knowledge of the operation, but announced his intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Also this week, the minority Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released an 89 page report  on their timeline of events in the Fast and Furious operation. The report alleges the blame lies with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Arizona and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office, not with top Justice Department officials, as several House Republicans have argued .
Holder is slated to testify about Fast and Furious before the committee tomorrow.
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