House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa plans to issue new subpoenas to the attorney general this week in his investigation of the Fast and Furious weapons program.
The California Republican said on “Fox News Sunday” that he wants to know what top Justice Department officials knew about the program, when they knew it and who authorized the program.
The undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation directed gun dealers to sell weapons that were funneled to Mexico in order to identify trafficking networks. Some of the weapons were used in crimes in both nations, and two were found at the scene of a fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
Issa and Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released five memos last week that they said showed Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the program as early as July 2010, months before when he told the House Judiciary Committee he had learned of it.
The House Judiciary Committee “has invited [Holder] to come and clear the record, because, clearly, he knew when he said he didn’t,” Issa said Sunday. “Now, the question is, what did he know and how is he explaining why he gave that answer?”
Issa, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, called Holder’s testimony “disingenuous on its face.”
“This investigation is not about an operation that was supposed to trace guns,” Issa said. “This is about Justice Department knowing, and this is where the American people have a right to know more, knowing that these guns were deliberately intended to end up in the hands of the drug cartels without any kind of traceability except if you find a gun in the scene of the crime. That is the reason that it is felony and stupid — and I use the word ‘felony’ deliberately — program. This should be criminal to let criminals have thousands of deadly weapons.”
When asked whether he would join some of his Republican colleagues in calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Holder or for Holder’s resignation, Issa emphasized the importance of the Congressional investigation.
“When it comes to a special prosecutor, Eric Holder cannot investigate himself. Congress is well along the way of investigating this operation to find out what went wrong, who knew it and what we have to do in the future to make sure it can’t happen again,” he said.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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