Attorney General Eric Holder is hiding information on the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal, top Congressional investigator Rep. Darrell Issa charged on Wednesday as he issued long-expected subpoenas to find out more.
“It’s time we knew the whole truth,” Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said.
Issa’s 22-point subpoena reaches right into the White House. One of his demands is for “all communication between Department of Justice employees and Executive Office of the President employees referring or relating to the President’s March 22, 2011 interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision.”
In that interview, President Barack Obama insisted that neither he nor Holder had authorized Fast and Furious.
In issuing the subpoenas, Issa said, “Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged.
“The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago.”
Under the subpoena, Issa told Holder he wants a slew of documents relating to the scheme under which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were told not to intervene to stop guns bought in the United States crossing the border into Mexico. The plan was to trace the weapons in the hope they would lead them to leaders of vicious drug cartels.
But the plan spectacularly misfired and hundreds of assault weapons went missing. They have been used in dozens of crimes in Mexico – and at least 12 in the United States.
U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout on the Arizona border in December and immigration officer Jaime Zapata who was working out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City was shot dead in April both with guns bought under the scheme.
The subpoenas cover all communications between 16 named Justice Department officials, including Holder. They also demand communications between the DOJ and Obama’s Assistant Communications Director Eric Schultz.
Other Fast and Furious documents that Issa is demanding include communications from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Phoenix to and from four officials, including former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke who resigned in August.
Issa’s letter also specifically mentions that he needs to see documents relating to Zapata’s murder, although he does not specifically mention Terry’s death.
He also has demanded surveillance tapes from the Lone Wolf Trading Co. store in Glendale, Ariz. for four days in October 2010.
Lone Wolf is one of the stores where guns were bought under Fast and Furious. Last month CBS News acquired tapes believed to have been made in March this year in which the store’s owner Andre Howard discusses ways of stymieing the House investigation with ATF special agent Hope MacAllister.
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