Yesterday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was interviewed by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. The topics discussed? As Issa put it, “Well, thanks for having me on and covering two of the issues that are causing Americans to lose confidence in their government.”
Issa was, of course, referring to Operation Fast and Furious and the Solyndra fiasco (the awarding of a $500 million government loan guarantee to a solar panel company that recently went bank bankrupt).
During the interview, Issa was forthright about his efforts to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious:
WALLACE: Congressman, I understand that you are going to issue a new set of subpoenas to the attorney general this week. About what?
ISSA: About “Fast and Furious” and basically, at this point, about why are they denying knowing about something that they were briefed on? Exactly when the American people want to know how did it happen? Understand, we didn’t start off going after the attorney general or Lanny Breuer or anyone else in justice. We started off knowing that Brian Terry was dead, that a lot of —
WALLACE: The U.S. border patrol agent.
ISSA: The U.S. border patrol agent. And that a lot of weapons have been let to walk.
After that, we started being told things like by the Justice Department designated official that we never let weapons walk.
Now, we have literally e-mails in which they are concerned about so many walking and you said something and I don’t mean to correct you — but to expand. We didn’t just have a few not be tracked. The whole program was about not tracking them until they were found in the scene of crimes. And they didn’t just allow. They facilitated just one guy buy, one straw buy, over 700 weapons.
To underscore what Issa said and what we’ve learned over the past several months is Operation Fast and Furious was not just about allowing weapons to walk across the border, it was about facilitating the transactions between American gun dealers and straw purchasers – should this be considered criminal?
Wallace then goes on to ask about when Attorney General Eric Holder knew or found out about Fast and Furious.
WALLACE: — on these dates were sent to his [Holder’s] office as much as 10 months earlier, not the few weeks before he testified in May of 2011. But he [Holder] says — and I want to put up his comments from his letter, “I do not and cannot read them cover to cover. Here, no issues concerning ‘Fast and Furious’ were brought to my attention because the information presented in the report did not suggest a problem.
He’s saying I didn’t know about this program and I certainly didn’t know that we were letting guns walk.
ISSA: Well, I’ll take him at his word, but let’s go back. He answered before Judiciary Committee, myself, Jason Chaffetz, and others, that he didn’t know about it until two weeks earlier. That’s just disingenuous on its face.
Very clearly, he had to know when Brian Terry was killed and everyone realized these were “Fast and Furious” weapons, he had to know something serious had happened and that’s months before he says he knew. Now, if we assume for a moment he didn’t know, the question is, is he competent? If, in fact, a border patrol agent has been murdered, 2,000 weapons have gone, this program has completely gone off of the rails, why didn’t he know? And that’s probably a more important question for the chief law enforcement. If Lanny Breuer knew, why didn’t Eric Holder?
Issa’s answer is spot on. Even if Holder didn’t know about the operation, the question is why didn’t he know? He is the Attorney General of the United States; it’s his job to know the details of an operation that was responsible for the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
So, Holder is either lying about Fast and Furious or he is incompetent as the Attorney General. It’s really boils down to one or the other. And this makes Obama’s statement last week, where he said – “I have complete confidence in Attorney General Holder. He has been very aggressive in going after gun running and cash transactions that are going to these transnational drug cartels in Mexico.” – all the more shocking. Obama must know that Holder is in real hot water.
Meanwhile, Holder continues to maintain that he was being truthful about his testimony before Congressional investigators. On Friday, Holder sent a letter to key lawmakers who are part of the Judiciary Oversight Committee, and claimed that Republicans, like Issa, are engaging in political posturing with respect to his knowledge about Fast and Furious.
Holder stated, “Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms.”