As the stonewalling of the House Oversight Committee investigation into Operation Fast and Furious from the Justice Department continues, Chairman Darrell Issa is no longer threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, but is making moves to actually do so. Weeks ago, Issa requested a set of documents from the Justice Department through an October 11, 2011 subpoena with a deadline of February 9, 2012 submission deadline. The Justice Department then of course asked for an extension of time to comply with the subpoena, with no plans to actually submit anything to the House Oversight Committee. Yesterday Issa sent a letter to Holder ripping him and his department for continued stonewalling.
"On its face, the requested extension demonstrates a lack of good faith. With on exception, the Department has only produced documents responsive to the subpoena on the eve of congressional hearings in which senior Department officials testified. The Department appears to be more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress. It is ironic that while the Department's delay tactics have extended this investigation into a presidential election year, you have had the audacity to characterize it as an attempt at "headline grabbing Washington 'gotcha' games and cynical political scoring." Congress must complete its work. We cannot wait any longer for the Department's cooperation. As such, please specify a date by which you expect the Department to produce all documents responsive to the subpoena," the letter said. "It is impossible to end our investigation with the current level of cooperation we are receiving from the Department. Rather, the Committee requires the full cooperation of the Department of Justice. This is not an "election year political 'gotcha game," but rather a bipartisan sentiment. As Ranking Member Cummings promised the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, "we will not rest until every single person responsible for all of this, no matter where they are, are brought to justice."
The letter also listed a number of questions about Operation Fast and Furious and the Justice Department that remain unanswered, including:
How did the Department move from its initial dismissal of whistleblower complaints to the recognition they were true?
Exactly how and when did senior Department officials learn the truth of what happened?
Did Department officials retaliate against whistleblowers?
A year later, will the responsible senior Department officials be held accountable?
Before we know it, it'll be summer 2012, and this thing still won't be over. The bottom line is, Holder could have come out at the beginning of this scandal, dumped everything on the table, taken responsibility for an operation that occured in his department and it would have been over. Instead, Holder has decided to do everything possible to stonewall and cover up the scandal, which never works. Congress will get to the bottom of Fast and Furious, it's up to Holder as to how long it's going to take.