Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Question Darrell Issa's Office is not Answering **UPDATE**Issa Letter sent to Holder**

Look, let me be clear. Over the last year, I have been very happy with how Rep. Issa's office has gone out of its way to communicate with the public about what was going on in the Fast and Furious investigation. Issa's Press Secretary Becca Watkins has been very good at this, often sending links to videos, articles, statements, etc. that I wouldn't otherwise see. If I was giving her an evaluation, she'd have gotten an A++++++ (Christmas Story reference).

Over the weekend, I e-mailed Ms. Watkins the recent column penned by Tom Tancredo in which the former congressman suggested that House Speaker John Boehner could be "sabotaging" the investigation. I received a response from her less than two hours later.

Here is that response:
From: "Watkins, Becca"
To: "''"  
Cc: "Hill, Frederick"  
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 9:39 AM
Subject: Re: Becca, What is going on here?


Please use this on the record from me:
Leadership has been, and continues to be, supportive of oversight's investigation into operation fast and furious. There is no substance to these rumors.

I've cced me colleague above in case he has something to add.

Becca Watkins Press Secretary House Oversight Committee Chairman Issa
I replied and included a CNN news story that reported the following:
A key congressional Republican who had threatened to bring a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder if he did not comply with a demand for "Operation Fast and Furious" documents by 5 p.m. Thursday, has backed off his stated deadline.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, who has the backing of the committee's Republican majority, has granted a Justice Department request for an extension. No new deadline was set.
Here is the reply I sent to Watkins. More than 72 hours later, I still have no response to this question:
From: Ben Barrack
To: "Watkins, Becca"
Cc: "Hill, Frederick"
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:15 AM
Subject: Re: Becca, What is going on here? 
Understood, thanks for the response, and will do. 
Things like the CNN article seem to help feed a perception that you don't want to exist. 
A perception that does exist among those who are demanding justice is that extensions of grace (like the one being granted to AG Holder) do seem a bit misplaced after all that's transpired. 
I understand that your committee has far more information than any of us do but I'm just relaying how it looks. 
P.S. I used to be in the litigation business and from a practicality standpoint, copying or Imaging 80,000 pages (approx. 40 boxes) took less than 48 hours when we used all of the resources we had at our disposal. I'm guessing the IG's office has digital copies at this point. As such, they should only have to hit the "print" button and call a courier to comply with the subpoena. Cole's assertion that it would be "impossible" to turn over all of the documents the IG has doesn't sound believable.
For the record, if there is no deal and there is a legitimate reason why this question cannot be answered, Issa's office surely must understand the concerns of people who are suspicious. I understand their frustration relative to reports of a deal if one doesn't exist but they should look at previous administrations and previous congresses as the source of that frustration, not those of us who question them.

Poor track records matter and have consequences. The track record of Congress very much warrants suspicion.

If there is no deal, I apologize in advance. If there IS a deal, it amounts to obstruction of justice and needs to be stopped. Call your congressman and see if you can find out.

I went into greater detail about this on my February 12th radio show.

***UPDATE*** Just found a letter from Issa to Holder in my in-box from Becca Watkins. It appears Issa is demanding that Holder give the committee a date on which the DOJ will honor the subpoena issued in October that had a February 9th deadline.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:
We cannot wait any longer for the Department's cooperation. As such, please specify a date by which you expect the Department to produce all documents responsive to the subpoena. In addition, please specify a Department representative who will interface with the Committee for production purposes. This individual should also serve as the conduit for dealing with the contempt proceedings, should the Department continue to ignore the Committee's subpoena.
The letter closed with a not-so-subtle jab at ranking member - who has also been registered with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Caucus so his integrity is already next to zero as a result - Elijah Cummings.
As Ranking Member Cummings promised the family of slain BOrder Patrol Agent Brian Terry, "we will not rest until every single person responsible for all of this, no matter where they are, are brought to justice." I applaud his resolve, and I want to make it clear that Congress will not give up until this accountability has been achieved.
At the June 15, 2011 hearing, Cummings looked the Terry family straight in the eye and uttered those words. Despite that, his intellectual honesty in the months since has belied that promise. It has been Cummings and the Democrats who have been politicizing this scandal in what appears to be a blatant attempt to protect a Democratic administration.

Then again, to socialists, lying is like breathing.

Good letter.

Read it all HERE.

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