On June 15, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held another hearing into the failed “Operation Fast and Furious” program, which has also been dubbed the “Gunwalker” scandal. “Gunwalker” allowed literally thousands of weapons to walk across the border into Mexico.
The guns, which included semi-automatic AK-47 variants and Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, were purchased by straw buyers in Arizona, who then allegedly passed them on to Mexican drug cartels.
Issa issued subpoenas to the Department of Justice several months ago, demanding to know exactly who had authorized a program he called “felony stupid.”
At least two of the firearms the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) allowed to walk were found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, whose family testified earlier in the week.
To date, DoJ has refused to comply with those requests, citing an ongoing investigation.
This is an assertion Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) both claim is false.
In a sharply worded letter earlier this year, Issa and Grassley, who is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said such an excuse for failing to comply with a Congressional subpoena might hold if the committee and DoJ were conducting concurrent investigations. But they pointed out that Congress is investigating DoJ, not gun traffickers.
In the meantime, the ATF and DoJ have both maintained no guns were allowed to walk, which was refuted by testimony during the hearing.
“We monitored as they purchased handguns, AK-47 variants and .50 caliber rifles, almost daily at times,” said John Dodson, an ATF special agent in Phoenix, during his testimony. “Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals, we wrote reports but nothing more.”
As whistleblowers continue to blow up the idea that this was a well organized operation with good oversight, even the White House is perpetuating the myth that DoJ is cooperating with the investigation.