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Sept. 30, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Darrell Issa Won't Halt 'Fast and Furious' Probe

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Rep. Darrell Issa vowed to continue pursuing a civil lawsuit to compel Attorney General Eric Holder to hand over more documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

At 471 pages - based on 100,000 documents and more than 130 interviews - the highly critical Justice Department Office of the Inspector General report on the "Fast and Furious" scandal is thorough.

But that doesn't mean the issue is finished on Capitol Hill.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is vowing to continue pursuing Attorney General Eric Holder's contempt of Congress citation in court and said the report is all the more reason to continue his own probe with new zeal.

Issa will "absolutely" continue pursuing the civil lawsuit attempting to compel Holder to hand over more documents about the gun-running investigation, spokesman Frederick Hill said.

Hill said the findings of the IG report and some of its loose ends "only enhances the importance of the House moving forward in its civil action against President [Barack Obama's] flawed claim of executive privilege."

The same categories of documents being sought in the suit, which were at the heart of the contempt citation, were reviewed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Obama did not assert executive privilege to prevent him from obtaining the documents.

The report by Horowitz ripped the Fast and Furious operation as "seriously flawed" and said agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not consider public safety as they allowed about 2,000 firearms, many of them high-powered assault rifles, to make their way to Mexican drug cartels as part of the operation.

In a major black eye for the Obama administration, the IG found that senior DOJ officials ignored key warning signs that should have alerted them that such dangerous tactics were being used.

In Fast and Furious, ATF agents allowed firearms to "walk," which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, has been roundly condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's murder scene.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, one of 14 officials referred for administrative discipline by Horowitz, resigned in the wake of the report, and discipline proceedings were launched against other unnamed officials.

The report said Weinstein was the most senior official who had information that should have raised red flags about Fast and Furious, including similarly flawed tactics used on a smaller scale in a previous operation, called "Wide Receiver," begun during George W. Bush's administration. When Weinstein learned of the improper tactics in Wide Receiver, rather than admonish the ATF, he focused "instead on how to avoid negative press," the report said.

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