Rep. Darrell Issa’s drive to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt is “unwarranted,” “unprecedented” and “ill-advised,” a top Justice Department official said in a letter to the California Republican, who is chair of the House Oversight Committee, on Tuesday.In response, Darrell Issa's spokesman, Fredrick Hill said the following:
Deputy Attorney General James Cole also wrote that the committee’s “core questions” on the flawed gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious “have been answered.”
Cole suggested that the lack of documents showing high-level discussions about the tactics used in Fast and Furious show the problem grew out of offices in Arizona and that top Obama administration were not aware that ATF agents were telling gun shop dealers to sell large quantities of weapons to individuals they suspected were “straw purchasers” for Mexican drug cartels.
“Far from reflecting a ‘cover-up,’ as some have claimed, the lack of documents makes clear that these tactics had their origin in the field in Arizona and not among Department leaders in Washington,” Cole wrote.
Instead of providing straightforward and fact based answers, the Justice Department continues to distort the outstanding questions about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious. While the Committee has subpoenaed documents that address what senior officials were told about controversial gunwalking tactics during Operation Fast and Furious, the Justice Department pointedly refuses to provide them or to deny that senior officials were given information in the course of the Operation indicating the existence of reckless tactics. Instead, the Justice Department merely restates that certain officials have indicated that they personally did not inform senior officials. Rather than agreeing to provide documents that include details about officials calling ATF whistleblowers liars and retaliating against them, the Department seems to believe a recounting of the Department’s public positions on Operation Fast and Furious over a ten month period is a sufficient response. This response fails to provide critical details about unacceptable behavior by senior officials toward whistleblowers and how the Department reversed course from indicating that whistleblowers were lying to acknowledging they were right. If the Justice Department seeks to avoid contempt, it knows the questions for which it owes the American people answers.In this Monty Python metaphor, the French knight represents Eric Holder; King Arthur represents Darrell Issa; the cow represents the letter sent to Issa; the trojan rabbit represents the contempt citation; the empty trojan rabbit represents John Boehner.
Here is the
DAG Letter 5-15-12
h/t Sipsey Street