Skip to comments.Issa says Holder should apologize to Mexico: ‘Justice has blood on their hands’
Posted on 01/26/2012 3:14:24 PM PST by neverdem
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa told The Daily Caller that Attorney General Eric Holder owes an apology to the Mexican government and to the families of Operation Fast and Furious victims south of the border.
Justice has blood on their hands, Issa said Wednesday during an exclusive interview with TheDC, referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The attorney general, as the head of Justice, has to explain that to the families of survivors, Issa said. Yes, he should find a way to make it very clear to our neighbors to the south at least to the government and at least publicly that there needs to be deep regret for what happened and there needs to be reassurances that it never happens again.
Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holders DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers, people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.
At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. At this point, the identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.
Both President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to Terrys family almost immediately. Napolitano attended Terrys funeral with a letter from Obama in hand, and the president made an additional phone call expressing his condolences.
But Holder never apologized to Terrys family until after Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn pressed him during a Nov. 8, 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about why he had not done so. Holder finally wrote an apology letter to Terrys family mere days later, but leaked it to Politico before Terrys mother Josephine read it.
Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, one of the many members of Congress who think Holder should lose his job, called Holders decision to leak the apology letter reprehensible.
Issa said an apology similar to the one Josephine Terry finally received is the least Holder owes Mexicos Fast and Furious victims.
We cant bring these people back to life, Issa told TheDC. But at least the kind of condolence that eventually came to Mrs. Terry is a minimum that people south of the border are demanding and they have a right to.
Its unclear if Holder will actually apologize to the families of the victims in Mexico. DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, who former DOJ civil rights division attorney J. Christian Adams has dubbed Holders spin mistress, did not return a request for comment.
In addition to the hundreds of Mexican victims and Brian Terry, allegations have surfaced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was also killed with Fast and Furious weapons. There is evidence suggesting that Zapatas murder, like Terrys, was connected to Fast and Furious. But Issa told TheDC that we may never know if Jaime Zapata was murdered with Fast and Furious weapons.
But what we do know is that enough weapons were down there that inevitably more will die, both Americans and Mexicans, Issa added. And this program is the kind of program that will continue unless we get a change in how Justice views things, and certainly a change in how political appointees are viewing it.
Terry was murdered more on Dec. 15, 2010 more than a year ago and Congress has been investigating Fast and Furious for most of that time. When TheDC asked, Issa didnt offer a specific time-frame for the investigations conclusion. He did say, however, that the DOJ should begin to cooperate with Congress.
This scandal can end as quickly as the Justice Department cooperates. We need to get the full facts, Issa said. We need to stop having people be, systematically, one after another, scapegoats, and simply say: Hold people accountable. As you know, Lanny Breuer and others high in the administration have never answered the question of, since they knew, why are they not being held accountable?
Issa added that Holders statements about what he knew of Fast and Furious, and when, have been inconsistent.
Eric Holder said he didnt know, Issa said. Then, he said he didnt know quite as far back, but hes never said where the accountability is in his office and his surrounding office. The people who prepared those memos that he didnt read are they accountable? Or, is it just acceptable to have the truth told to the attorney general and if he doesnt read it, it wont count?
A total of 103 members of the House have either called for Holders resignation or firing, or expressed no confidence in Holder via a formal House Resolution, or both. The most recent members on that list, Reps. Kevin Yoder of Kansas and Randy Forbes of Virginia, signed on to Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosars resolution of no confidence in Holder this week. Yoder also thinks its time for Holder to resign.
I feel it is appropriate to call on Attorney General Holder to resign immediately due to his lack of judgment in his involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, Yoder told TheDC. I wanted to watch the hearings before jumping to conclusions in haste. Sadly, an American lost his life in this tragedy. Attorney General Holder needs to resign.*
Two sitting governors, two U.S. senators and all the major Republican presidential candidates join those 103 congressmen.
Issa hasnt called for Holders resignation, but he has hinted that he thinks Obama should remove him. During TheDCs interview with him Wednesday, Issa reiterated that he thinks Obama should decide whether he trusts Holder to continue as the attorney general in the scandals wake.
What Ive said publicly is if it were my decision, I dont have sufficient confidence in his ability to lead that organization, Issa said. So, thats a decision for the president. I think the president should make that decision.
Holder is scheduled to appear before Issas House oversight committee on Feb. 2. Though Holder has already testified before Congress three times about matters relating to Fast and Furious twice before the House Judiciary Committee and once before the Senate Judiciary Committee this is the first time Issas committee will have an opportunity to question Holder himself.
The Judiciary Committee has multiple issues with the Attorney General, Issa said. We have one issue: the issue of breaking the law in order to enforce the law.
The oversight committee is investigating the Department of Justice, which is very different than his appearances before the Judiciary Committees in which theyre asking how things are going at Justice. What weve discovered in our investigations is a pattern of cover-up [and] delay. Ultimately Congress was given false information and now weve had people both resign and take the Fifth as we try to get to the basic elements of why and how was Congress lied to.
Holder and the DOJ have ignored some significant portions of congressional subpoenas served on them by Issas committee, and the congressman did not rule out Contempt of Congress proceedings against Holder if he continues to withhold documents, witnesses and information.
Issa did say that he plans to follow the processes and procedures Congress uses before going down such a path.
We have a process, and we respect that process, Issa told TheDC. The administration can disagree on whether something is covered by an executive privilege and well go through the process of showing its not. Weve been going through that process. Were quite convinced that everything within our subpoenas are valid and that they need to be delivered.
Issa said Fast and Furious is different from other Obama administration scandals, including the granting of loan guarantees to the failed solar power company Solyndra and the Obamacare waivers selectively granted to companies in the district of House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Unlike with those scandals, he said, Fast and Furious features an ongoing cover-up.
Well, the administration has been trying to make it go away first by denying it, then by covering it up and delaying, Issa said. What makes this one different is the cover-up. Very much like Iran Contra and other scandals of the past, the initial action [was] illegal, wrong, foolish, dangerous and ultimately deadly, which is bad enough. But the cover-up, the denial, giving Congress a letter flat saying we dont let guns walk when there was a program in which the emails show they called it gunwalking they knew it was gunwalking and ultimately, Americans and Mexican citizens have paid with their lives.
The cover-up continues to this day, Issa said.
Issa issued yet another directive to Holder in writing Tuesday, excusing the Arizona-based senior DOJ official Patrick Cunningham from appearing before his committee for a deposition, because Cunningham had already announced his intention to plead the Fifth Amendment the entire time.
Although I was willing to excuse Mr. Cunningham from todays deposition, I have reserved the right to authorize another subpoena for his testimony at a future date, Issa wrote to Holder Tuesday. Due to Mr. Cunninghams recent actions, the Committee will be making further document requests of the Department. I expect nothing less than the Departments full and complete compliance with these requests.
*Update: Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder called for Holders resignation in an email to TheDC after this story was published. He had already signed onto House Resolution 490 the official resolution of no confidence in Holder before publication.
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I finally got it to open.
Mexico should send the US an extradition request for Eric Holder to stand trial on several hundred counts of murder, one for each death traceable to a “Fast and Furious” weapon.
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
“explain that to the families of survivors, Issa said.”
Is this like the old joke: When a plane crashes, where do they bury the survivors?
Normally someone accused of aggravated criminally-negligent manslaughter constitutes immediate incarceration, does it not?
I’m a little fuzzy on the laws... maybe a freeper can help
if I were to give a gun to someone... and that gun was used to commit murder... wouldn’t I be held as an accomplice?
at which point... exactly WHY arent those involved in the deaths of US law enforcement as well as numerous Mexican citizens being arrested??
Holder should be delivered to Mexican officials in chains and an orange jumpsuit. He’ll get the street justice he deserves there . . . or, he can go to work directly with one of the cartels and eliminate the middlemen.
October 12, 2011 "...it was reported that the State Department and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were deeply involved in the scandal known as - Operation Fast and Furious, - or Project Gunwalker. - Today, however, new evidence has surfaced indicating that not only was Hillary deeply involved in the scandal but was one of the masterminds behind it.
According to investigative citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh, sources close to the development of the Gunwalker scheme state that early on, Hillary and her trusted associated at State, Andrew J. Shapiro, devised at least part of the framework of what would later become Operation Fast and Furious. It was Shapiro who first described the details of the proposed scheme early in 2009 just after the Obama Administration took office.
You know Holder & any of the rest of them ever standing trial is about as likely as hell freezing over, but Rep. Issa should be using terms stronger than “apologize”.
-——Its unclear if Holder will actually apologize to the families of the victims in Mexico.-——
No, it is very clear. An apology would be an international admission of guilt and god only knows what the guys in Belgium could come up with as charges in a world court. It could go on and on for years
Yes. Holder needs to do jail time.
Good for Issa. I hope he keeps this on slow boil until about September. Then he needs to turn up the heat to full blast.
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