House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) fired off a biting letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today, rebuking him for misleading congressional investigators even as new documents show that senior Justice Department officials had detailed information about Operation Fast and Furious tactics.
Six wiretap applications in the gunwalking scandal were submitted to DoJ officials in Washington for justification and approval. The wiretaps have been sealed by a federal judge, but committee members were able to gain access to them — after Holder refused to turn them over under subpoena.
“In a May 15, 2012 letter, the Deputy Attorney General reiterated the Department’s position that the ‘inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious … were not initiated or authorized by Department leadership in Washington.’ We now know that statement is false,” Issa wrote Holder.
The chairman said the wiretap details, which can’t be released to the public, show “shocking” involvement by Justice officials.
“You have repeatedly either denied involvement by senior officials in Fast and Furious, or asserted that the wiretap applications do not contain rich detail about irresponsible investigative tactics,” Issa wrote, outlining several statements Holder has made over the past several months. “We now know that all of these statements are not accurate.”
The chairman warned how the revelations could play into his plan for contempt proceedings against the attorney general.
“The new information contained the wiretap applications places us in a position to begin the process of assigning accountability among senior Department officials, some of whom were responsible for approving the wiretap applications,” Issa wrote. “After having reviewed these applications, we now understand why the Department has been resisting our efforts to secure full cooperation and compliance with the subpoena.”