July 26, 2011
Community Organizing 101.
(The Washington Times) — The Obama administration sought to intimidate witnesses into not testifying to Congress on Tuesday about whether ATF knowingly allowed weapons, including assault rifles, to be “walked” into Mexico, the chairman of a House committee investigating the program said in an interview Monday.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, said at least two scheduled witnesses expected to be asked about a controversial weapons investigation known as “Fast and Furious” received warning letters from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to limit their testimony.
Mr. Issa’s committee is set to hear testimony from six current or former ATF employees, including agents and attaches assigned to the bureau’s offices in Mexico, about the operation — in which, federal agents say, they were told to stand down and watch as guns flowed from U.S. dealers in Arizona to violent criminals and drug cartels in Mexico.
The six-term lawmaker aired his concerns about the program in a wide-ranging interview with reporters and editors at The Washington Times on Monday.
Among other questions, the agents are likely to be asked about a large volume of guns showing up in Mexico that were traced back to the Fast and Furious program; whether ATF officials in that country expressed concerns about the weapons to agency officials in the U.S., only to be brushed aside; and whether ATF officials in Arizona denied ATF personnel in Mexico access to information about the operation.
Nearly 50 weapons linked to the Fast and Furious program have been recovered to date in Mexico. Committee investigators said Mexican authorities also were denied information about the operation.
Mr. Issa also said he is certain the Fast and Furious operation was known by most top officials at the Justice Department and that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. either knew and misled Congress, or was so out of the loop that he’s guilty of mismanagement.
“How is it that the No. 2, 3, 4 at Justice all knew about this program, but the No. 1 didn’t?” Mr. Issa said. “Is it because he said ‘don’t tell me’? Is it because they knew what they were doing is wrong, and they were protecting their boss? Or is it that Eric Holder is just so disconnected. . . ?
“Whichever it is — he knew and he’s lied to Congress, or he didn’t know, and he’s so detached that he wasn’t doing his job — that really probably is for the administration to make a decision on, sooner not later,” Mr. Issa said. Read More