Fast and Furious: Refuse to Testify? Here's a Subpoena

Posted: Jan 19, 2012 12:22 PM

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa is back on the Fast and Furious trail and announced the issuance of a new subpoena today to Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S Attorney's Office for Arizona Patrick Cunningham. Cunningham was asked politely to voluntarily testify before the committee about Operation Fast and Furious, but refused. In a letter sent to Cunningham announcing the subpoena, Issa doesn't mince words, saying Cunningham approved tactics used in the lethal program. Cunningham was scheduled for an interview with Issa today but canceled after implying he was willing to cooperate with the investigation, further delaying the Oversight Committee's ability to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious. Considering Justice Department officials have done nothing but stonewall Issa up to this point, the move wasn't surprising and this tactic is nothing new.  

“During the course of our investigation, the Committee has learned of the outsized role played by the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office – and you specifically – in approving the unacceptable tactics used in Fast and Furious,” Chairman Issa wrote to Cunningham in a letter informing him of the subpoena.  “Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress."

Cunningham is under fire for participating in the cover up of the program even after Congress launched an investigation.

 “These officials told us that even after Congress began investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no unacceptable tactics were used.  In fact, documents obtained confidentially just last week appear to confirm that you remained steadfast in your belief that no unacceptable tactics were used, even after the Department’s initial response to the congressional inquiry.  Given that the Attorney General has labeled these tactics as unacceptable and Fast and Furious as ‘fundamentally flawed,’ this position is startling,” Issa wrote.

Remember, Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, Cunningham's boss, resigned in August just two weeks after giving closed door testimony to the House Oversight Committee. He did not mention Fast and Furious in his resignation letter addressed to President Obama. Attorney General Eric Holder will face his day before the committee on February 2, just over a week away.