The scandal surrounding government-sanctioned gunrunning to Mexican drug kingpins could lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to see what the White House knew about it.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa believes that Attorney General Eric Holder was aware of the Fast and Furious operation — and, if he wasn't, he should have been.
“We’d like to have a true special prosecutor, particularly when it’s obvious if Eric Holder didn’t know, it’s because he didn¹t want to know or because he wasn¹t doing his job,” Issa told reporters on Tuesday.
Holder claimed in May that he had just learned about the scheme in which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed suspected gun smugglers to buy 1,400 assault weapons, even though they knew they were likely to end up in the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels.
The ATF officials believed they could trace the guns and that they would lead them to the drug lords. But most of the weapons went missing and were used in crimes, including the murders of American agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata, as well as in hundreds of incidents south of the border.
Issa’s committee already is probing the whole Fast and Furious scandal and says the only reason he has not yet formally asked for a special prosecutor is because it would mean his own investigation would have to be wound up.
But he believes a special prosecutor will be needed eventually.
The scandal has cost acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke their jobs.
Issa previously has said that President Barack Obama should fire Holder, too.
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