Skip to comments.Pressure On: House Leadership Tell Holder to Come Forward on Fast and Furious Details
Posted on 05/18/2012 11:39:03 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross
The pressure is on. House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has sent a letter to Attorney and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa have sent a letter directly to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding "full cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the 'Fast and Furious' operation and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry." The letter, as past letters from Issa have, points out that the Obama Justice Department and Holder in particular, has not complied with a congressional subpoena asking for information and documents about the lethal program. Here is the letter in full.
May 18, 2012
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Holder:
We write to express our concerns with the lack of full cooperation from the Department of Justice (the Department) with the ongoing Congressional investigation into the operation known as Fast & Furious and the related death of Border Agent Brian Terry. While we recognize that the Department has provided some documents in response to some aspects of the October 11, 2011, subpoena from the Chairman of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee (the Committee), two key questions remain unanswered: first, who on your leadership team was informed of the reckless tactics used in Fast & Furious prior to Agent Terrys murder; and, second, did your leadership team mislead or misinform Congress in response to a Congressional subpoena?
We are troubled by the Departments assertions that the Executive Branch possesses the ability to determine whether inquiries from the Legislative Branch have been fully complied with. As the Supreme Court has noted, each co-equal branch of our Government is supreme in their assigned area of Constitutional duties. Thus, the question of whether the Executive Branch has sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena requesting specific information pursuant to Congress Article I responsibilities is one only the Legislative Branch can answer.
One fact appears to be undisputed by all concerned: Fast & Furious was a fundamentally flawed operation. It was taken to an extreme that resulted in at least one death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and unknown other consequences, because U.S. law enforcement agencies allowed thousands of firearms to be illegally walked into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels. Beyond the horrific impact on the Terry family, there is no doubt that this operation has done serious harm to one of the United States most important bilateral relationships. It is our hope that, in finding the truth, we can both provide closure to the Terry family, begin to repair our relationship with Mexico, and take steps to make necessary changes at the Department.
Clearly, the Department must take steps to ensure that tragic mismanagement like Fast & Furious does not occur in the future. Unfortunately, without the disclosure of the information requested in the October 11, 2011, subpoena regarding which members of your leadership team were informed of the reckless tactics that were used in the operation, the American people cannot be confident that any remedial steps you implement will accomplish this goal. For example, your leadership team recently asserted that Department leadership was unaware of the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious until allegations about those tactics were made public in early 2011. Yet, Federal law requires that you, or a member of your leadership team, approve the application to a Federal judge for use of a wiretap.
In approving such an application, you or your designee would or should have reviewed the accompanying materials and affidavits that provided the basis for the wiretap application prior to affixing the Departments approval to the application. We understand that the Fast & Furious operation may have included seven such wiretaps between March and July 2010. Whether the information used to justify the wiretap application or the information gained from the wiretaps is being used in any ongoing criminal prosecution is immaterial to the question of who on your leadership team reviewed and approved the wiretaps and was therefore privy to the details of the Fast & Furious operation. The assertion that your leadership team could approve wiretaps in 2010 and yet not have any knowledge of the tactics used in Fast & Furious until 2011 simply cannot be accurate and furthers the perception that the Department is not being forthright with Congress.
We would note that correspondence between your Deputy and Chairman Issa raises concerns that further Congressional actions might cause damage between the Legislative and the Executive branch. We would submit that the damage to that relationship began with a February 4, 2011, letter from the Department to the Congress that was subsequently withdrawn because it provided Congress with false information. The means to repair the damage caused by your Department lies within your powers to work with the Committee to find a mutually satisfactory level of compliance with the subpoena and avoid further confrontation.
While we are disappointed that a Senior Department official would provide false information to Congress, we are also concerned that it took your Department ten months to acknowledge the inaccuracy and ultimately withdraw the letter. In light of the letter and its subsequent withdrawal, it is critical for Congress to understand whether the letter was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation. We are unaware of any assertions of executive privilege that would prevent compliance with the Congressional subpoena. We are also unaware of any national security concerns or diplomatic sensitivities that would preclude compliance with the subpoena. Finally, as these post-February 4, 2011, communications concern the Departments response to Congress, their disclosure to Congress would not impact any ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions.
If the Office of Legal Counsel has provided a legal opinion that takes into account the specific circumstances of this investigation and you are relying on that opinion to maintain your current position, we would request that the opinion be provided to Congress at the earliest possible opportunity. Similar to arrangements previously made between your Department and Congressional investigators, we are confident that you possess adequate means to provide substantive compliance with a Congressional subpoena while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of specific documents.
We firmly believe and hope that you agree that a mutually acceptable resolution to this matter may yet be achieved. The Terry family deserves to know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terrys murder. The whistle-blowers who brought these issues to light deserve to be protected, not intimidated, by their government. And, the American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.
As co-equal branches of the U.S. Government, the relationship between the Legislative and Executive branches must be predicated on honest communications and cannot be clouded by allegations of obstruction. If necessary, the House will act to fulfill our Constitutional obligations in the coming weeks. It is our hope that, with your cooperation, this sad chapter in the history of American law enforcement can be put behind us.
Honorable John A. Boehner
Honorable Eric Cantor
Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman, Oversight and Government Reform Committee
The letter comes just days after Boehner pressed President Obama to push Eric Holder to comply with the subpoena. Contempt charges are looming.
Looks like Speaker Boehner may have got enough GOP votes behind the scenes to move forward on the Holder contempt charges. That took some time and I’m sure arm twisting of the more moderate congressfolk. I’ll bet he got a Dem or two from a red state as well to have ‘bi-partisan’ cover.
Does this mean there’s hope our side may have finally grown a pair?
Real good question!
Our side has had a pair and they’ve done everything possible within the government to expose this. Holder won’t investigate himself and he is the Attorney General. He’s deflecting, lying and stalling while the media protects him from the public. A public that wouldn’t even know about F&F if Issa hadn’t been beating the drums for a year.
That’s not pressure.
Arresting Holder and raiding his office for the documents, hard drives, etc. THAT’S PRESSURE.
Of course, when your target owns Federal Law Enforcement, that might be hard to arrange...
I read somewhere that some Democrats were supporting Issa. Finally.
Of course, you answered your own question accurately.
That is a rather verbose “strongly worded” letter.
Just give him a contempt citation and be done with it......................................................................................................................................................... Already......
I think Issa has been playing this thing just about right. Something about giving Holder just enough rope to hang himself comes to mind.
Give him a month or so to ignore this letter, keep building support for a Contempt citation behind the scenes, then along about July have the whole House vote to cite Holder for Contempt of Congress. Let Obama deal with that mess 9 weeks before the election.
If Obama does fire him then Issa can drag his ass in and put him under oath under the threat of jail if he refuses to appear.
Yep. Smart strategy to take the time to get some Dems and all of your GOP in line before embarking on a course of action where hell will break loose.
Endless chatter, complaints, harranguing, whining, begging has been nothing if not a circular exercise. For months, both in print and out of print, by voice and by letter, all these exchanges may make for great theater, but without a single demand or deadline in sight, does not a promising proposal make.
The best that can be said of this illustrious bunch on our side is that perhaps, just perhaps, they are dragging their feet in order to let it rip and erupt much closer to the election.
I wouldn’t count on even that strategy though. These guys have been politically invested in perfecting their inept performances for years, because it is politically rewarding to only be seen complaining about corruption, but becomes risky to actually DO anything about it.
We keep re-electing them.
Who said this? “ No one ever lost a bet yet on the stupidity of the American people.”
Ooooh, well said.
I never get used to the double standard. The media (who are just Democrats, I realize) create and promote faux GOP scandals, while they ignore or minimize real donkey scandals. Impossible for us to win.
Holder tells House Leadership “Piss up a rope!”.
If they actually hold him in Contempt, he’ll have the citation framed in a place of honor on his office wall within the hour.
“Does this mean theres hope our side may have finally grown a pair?”
Nah, it means someone with a real pair has something on Boner.
Speaker Boehner leadership ping.
Pressure comes when you eliminate the appropriation for the Department of Justice from the next spending bill since there aint no budget and say you’ll put it back when he complies or it won’t get passed. Pressure is when you impeach the bstard, and I’m talking Holder at this moment, not Barack.
As Michael Berry put it yesterday, Holder needs to go to jail, if for no other reason than continuing to wear that mustache. Who WEARS a porn stash like that these days besides that man?
I read on another thread that Boehner was holding out on this till about 90 days before the elections.....anyone hazard a guess why.?....... .(thanks in advance)