Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who has led the fight to find the truth behind the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme, is making it clear that he will not let up on Attorney General Eric Holder at a hearing before a House committee.
Calling Holder’s leadership of the Justice Department “weak and flawed,” Issa called on President Barack Obama to “reassess his faith” in his top law official.
“Nearly a year after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed by a weapon linked to the botched operation, Holder's Justice Department has spent far more time and resources trying to salvage the careers of senior officials who knew about the operation than in creating accountability for this tragedy and ensuring that nothing like this will happen again,” Issa wrote in an Op-Ed in Thursday’s USA Today.
Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee hearing today to face questions on Fast and Furious, a scheme organized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) designed to trace hundreds of weapons sold in the United States as they made their way across the Mexican border into the hands of violent drug cartels.
But the scheme went disastrously wrong as virtually all the guns went missing and have been used in hundreds of crimes on both sides of the border, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona a year ago.
“To this day, the attorney general has disclaimed responsibility for the program that his department authorized and supervised,” wrote Issa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s oversight subcommittee.
So far, more than 50 Republican members of Congress, as well as a handful of senators and even three GOP presidential candidates, have called on Obama to fire Holder if he won’t resign voluntarily. Today’s hearing is being seen as a major test of the attorney general’s credibility to stay on.
“Surprisingly, no one at Justice Department headquarters has faced any meaningful consequences,” Issa wrote. “While replacing the entire ATF leadership structure and causing the U.S. attorney for Arizona to tender his resignation, Holder has consistently used a concurrent investigation by the inspector general to prevent him from acting against senior officials close to him.
“Under such flawed and weak leadership at Justice, the American public has little reason to be confident that the next flawed program will be stopped before it, too, costs lives,” Issa said.
“The president says he still has faith in the attorney general. If Holder, however, cannot foster a culture of accountability within his own department, President Obama would be wise to reassess the public interest.”
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