House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa was brutally frank in a Tuesday morning conference call with new media representatives dedicated to the ongoing Gunwalker scandal.
The California Republican kicked off the call with a brief statement reporting that Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, now says that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the gunwalking program.That number has been revised significantly upward from earlier unofficial claims of approximately 150 deaths attributed to Operation Fast and Furious guns.
The revelation of the increased body count comes less than 24 hours after the Los Angeles Times published a story that rightly describes the actions of the Obama administration as an unresolved betrayal.
This betrayal — and Morales pulled no punches in using that exact word — is being ignored by the majority of the U.S. mainstream media, which vacillate from pretending that Gunwalker was just a minor law enforcement snafu to echoing White House-orchestrated attempts to smear the Oversight Committee chairman and obstruct the investigation.
The question-and-answer period that followed Chairman Issa’s statement focused narrowly on Operation Fast and Furious, with only one reporter slipping off-topic to ask a quick question about the breaking Solyndra scandal.
Perhaps the most important clarification to come out of the call was confirmation that the Oversight Committee does indeed intend to call for a special prosecutor once they have completed their own investigation, which they optimistically would like to have wrapped up by the end of the year. Chairman Issa was quick to point out that finishing the House investigation by the end of the year hinged upon a transparent and timely release of information from the executive branch, including the federal law enforcement agencies involved and the Obama White House.
The White House has thus far refused to divulge any of the documentation the congressional investigators have asked for, and the administration’s political appointees are stymieing all attempts to get information out of the Justice Department, Homeland Security, and other involved agencies. Rep. Issa seemed quite aware that his goal of resolving the congressional investigation in 2011 was going to be obstructed by an administration in full cover-up mode.
Issa also revealed that the reason a special prosecutor has not yet been brought in to investigate the plot is that once a special prosecutor begins to investigate, the Oversight Committee has to stop its own inquiry. The committee wants to be certain that they have explored every avenue and leave no source or witness uninvestigated before turning over the case. He also pointed out that a special prosecutor will be a Department of Justice employee investigating his own employer. Thus, Issa wants to be certain that they have enough knowledge to hold the prosecutor accountable.