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It’s getting to be crunch time for the investigation by Congress into the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal that erupted in Barack Obama’s Justice Department, with the scheduled testimony tomorrow before Congress of Attorney General Eric Holder amid suggestions he should be held in contempt.
The testimony will be before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where it is scheduled to be livestreamed on Thursday.
Under the program, federal authorities instructed gun dealers to sell huge numbers of weapons to probably unqualified buyers who then took them and delivered them to drug lords in Mexico for use in their war against each other – a war that has cost an estimated 47,000 lives.
Federal authorities say the idea was to track the weapons to the highest level of the drug cartel and make arrests, but that essentially didn’t happen. In fact, some of the weapons were found at the scene of the homicide of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Holder certainly will be welcomed to the hearing, but perhaps not in the way he would prefer.
On the committee website are the following details:
“Over the past year, congressional investigators and the American people have been denied access to: 92 percent of documents related to Fast and Furious, 66 percent of subpoenaed document categories related to Fast and Furious, 48 accounts from Justice Department officials involved in Fast and Furious.”
The committee statement said the testimony would be about “the Justice Department’s year-long effort to obstruct accountability for Operation Fast and Furious.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican who first raised concerns about the gun-walking in Fast and Furious last year, has said that high-ranking political appointees who claim to have clean hands in the affair don’t “pass the laugh test.”
“They ignored the warning signs and failed to put a stop to it or hold anyone accountable,” he said.
In a statement prepared for the hearing and posted online in advance, Rep. Darrell Issa said, “When this investigation began, the Department of Justice took the position that allegations by whistleblowers about reckless tactics and decision making in this operation were false.”
While the DOJ finally admitted the allegations, it “has been less than forthcoming in cooperating with the efforts of congressional investigators to determine exactly what happened and who was responsible.”
“It has refused to allow investigators access to numerous witnesses … [and the] Justice Department now asserts that many documents pertaining to internal discussions and decision making about its response to Operation Fast and Furious are off-limits to investigators,” he said.
“The American people deserve better from our nation’s top law enforcement agency.”