Tags: Boehner | Issa | furious | letter

GOP House Leaders Demand Fast and Furious Answers from Holder

Friday, 18 May 2012 03:26 PM

By Dan Weil

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House Republican leaders have joined the effort to push Attorney General Eric Holder to provide more information about the Fast and Furious gun walking operation.

House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy joined Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in sending a letter to Holder Friday, demanding more information about the government program to sell weapons to Mexican criminals.

The move is important, because so far it’s just been Issa spearheading the investigation. He and some other Republicans want to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for not cooperating with the committee’s investigation.

Later Boehner said "all options are on the table" in the investigation during the taping of an interview for ABC's "This Week," which will air on Sunday.

Congress wants "to hold everyone at the Department of Justice and the administration accountable for what happened or what didn't happen in Fast and Furious," he said.

Until now, the House leaders have been more cautious. But now they’re clearly taking a stronger stand. The letter actually decreases the amount of documents Issa requests. But it also asks the Department of Justice to reveal who planned Fast and Furious.

The program allowed Mexican criminals to buy U.S. weapons, with the idea that the arms could then be traced to Mexican drug kingpins. But it didn’t work, and some of the weapons were found at the murder site of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

“Two key questions remain unanswered: first, who on your leadership team was informed of the reckless tactics used in Fast and Furious prior to Agent Terry’s murder; and, second, did your leadership team mislead or misinform Congress in response to a Congressional subpoena?” the letter reads.

"One fact appears to be undisputed by all concerned: Fast and Furious was a fundamentally flawed operation," the letter continues. "It was taken to an extreme that resulted in at least one death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and unknown other consequences, because U.S, law enforcement agencies allowed thousands of firearms to be illegally 'walked' into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels.

"Beyond the horrific impact on the Terry family, there is no doubt that this operation has done serious harm to one of the United States' most important bilateral relationships. It is our hope that, in finding the truth, we can both provide closure to the Terry family, begin to repair our relationship with Mexico, and take steps to make necesary changes at the Department."

It also asks for all communication after Feb. 4, 2011, when Issa received a letter from the Justice Department, saying it wasn’t involved in gun walking. That turned out to be false.

The letter does not threaten Holder with contempt, but shows that the House leadership stands behind Issa’s investigation.

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