WILL THE EVIDENCE SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 4, 2012) — While Congress is on recess for the month of August, House Republicans plan to file a civil lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to compel putative Attorney General Eric Holder to turn over documents relating to the gunwalking operation dubbed “Fast & Furious.”
On June 19, 2012, Holder asked Obama to invoke executive privilege to keep the tens of thousands of documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding Fast & Furious private. The following day, Obama announced that he was using executive privilege to withhold the documents sought by the committee. Holder was cited the next day for contempt both civilly and criminally by the House panel, and on June 28, the full House of Representatives voted to hold him in contempt, with several Democrats voting in favor of the measure.
Normally executive privilege is not available to the chief executive unless the communications in question involved his office. Fox News Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that executive privilege is intended to be used “to protect secret deliberations and communications intended ultimately for the President that pertain to (a) military, or (b) diplomatic, or (c) sensitive national security matters.”
Fast & Furious knowingly allowed firearms to be transferred to criminals, many of them Mexican, under the auspices of dismantling drug cartels. Instead, several hundred Mexicans died as a result of the guns falling into the hands of criminals, and a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed by at least two of the firearms used in the operation. Thousands of guns were lost during the operation of the program.
Initially, Holder said he found out about Fast & Furious sometime in April 2011, but emails and other documents show that he knew about it much earlier. Holder was forced to admit that a February 4, 2011 letter which claimed that gunwalking never occurred contained false statements and misled Congress. In his letter to Obama asking him to use executive privilege, Holder insisted that his department had “taken a number of significant steps” to correct the mistakes of Fast & Furious.
Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Oversight Committee, said that he believes the Republicans have a “100% chance” that the judge will decide in their favor. Early last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner had announced that a lawsuit would be filed against Holder.
The Department of Justice, which Holder leads, said it would not pursue the criminal citation, maintaining that Holder’s withholding of the documentation did not “constitute a crime.” Issa insists that Holder is perpetuating a “cover up” of the Fast & Furious operation.
On July 31, a joint Senate and House committee released a report on Fast & Furious describing it as a “fundamentally flawed firearms trafficking case.” The report names five ATF agents as being largely responsible for the failed operation, which a spokeswoman from the Department of Justice said bolstered Holder’s original argument: “that the flaws in this operation and in previous ones had their origins in the field in Arizona and occurred in part due to weak oversight by ATF leadership.”
A whistleblower within the Department of Justice appeared to support the joint committee’s contentions.
None of the five identified as responsible for the decisions in Fast & Furious have lost their jobs, but rather, have been “reassigned.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.