Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, stopped just short of calling for the firing of both Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano on a California radio program Tuesday.
On The Roger Hedgecock Show, Issa discussed his committee’s investigation of Operation Gunrunner: an operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice which allegedly allowed thousands of firearms across the border into Mexico. The guns ended up in the hands of drug cartels and were allegedly used in the murder of at least two American law enforcement agents: “Ultimately the Justice Department has to be asking questions about how they’re run,” Issa said on the program, adding that, with a campaign preparing to start, President Barack Obama needs to question if he has the right people heading DOJ and DHS.
According to a story originally broken by CBS News earlier this year, the operation was designed to allow “straw buyers” — who would purchase the weapons for someone else — to buy high quality weapons, including .50 caliber sniper rifles, from cooperating licensed dealers in the U.S. ATF would then track those weapons and hopefully take down the gun-running rings and perhaps the cartels as well. Said Issa:
This was an approved program designed to get not just the straw buyers but the bigger fish. It failed to get the bigger fish.
After learning of the program, Issa fired off subpoenas to DOJ to find out how ATF allowed the weapons — which were allegedly used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Officer Jaime Zapata — into the hands of criminals.