Gunwalker: Holder subpoenaed

October 12, 2011

Following up on his promise from yesterday, Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has issued a subpoena to Attorney-General Eric Holder for documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious.

They’re asking for a lot:

In accordance with the attached schedule instructions, you, Eric H. Holder Jr., are required to produce all records in unredacted form described below:

All communications referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jacob Chambers case, or any Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) firearms trafficking case based in Phoenix, Arizona, to or from the following individuals:

a. Eric Holder Jr., Attorney General;

b. David Ogden, Former Deputy Attorney General;

c. Gary Grindler, Office of the Attorney General and former Acting Deputy Attorney General;

d. James Cole, Deputy Attorney General;

e. Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General;

f. Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General;

g. Kenneth Blanco, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;

h. Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;

i. John Keeney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;

j. Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;

k. Matt Axelrod, Associate Deputy Attorney General;

l. Ed Siskel, former Associate Deputy Attorney General;

m. Brad Smith, Office of the Deputy Attorney General;

n. Kevin Carwile, Section Chief, Capital Case Unit, Criminal Division;

o. Joseph Cooley, Criminal Fraud Section, Criminal Division; and,

p. James Trusty, Acting Chief, Organized Crime and Gang Section.

2. All communications between and among Department of Justice (DOJ) employees and Executive Office of the President employees, including but not limited to Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any other firearms trafficking cases.

3. All communications between DOJ employees and Executive Office of the President employees referring or relating to the President’s March 22, 2011 interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision.

4. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) failed to interdict weapons that had been illegally purchased or transferred.

5. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where ATF broke off surveillance of weapons and subsequently became aware that those weapons entered Mexico.

6. All documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including but not limited to documents and communications regarding Zapata’s mission when he was murdered, Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony (FD-302), photographs of the crime scene, and investigative reports prepared by the FBI.

And that’s not even half.

The command that the documents not be in any way redacted shouldn’t be surprising; as far back as last June, Issa was berating Holder for supplying documents that were covered in black ink, going so far as to tell the Attorney General he should be ashamed.

But it’s specification 19 that’s of particular interest:

All documents and communications between and among FBI employees in Arizona and the FBI Laboratory, including but not limited to employees in the Firearms/Toolmark Unit, referring or relating to the firearms recovered during the course of the investigation of Brian Terry’s death

I’m not 100% certain, but I believe this is in reference to a supposed “third gun” found at the scene of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Terry, a gun which has since vanished. That would indicate the committee is not just looking to find out “who knew what and when did they know it,” but also specific information that would indicate a cover up and evidence tampering.

Expect Holder to slow-walk this one as much as possible, perhaps even challenging the subpoena in court. Given the DoJ’s reluctance to cooperate so far, I suspect the unredacted documents contain at least a few bombs waiting to go off.

But even that is fraught with risk for Holder and his boss: eventually the committee will get the documents, their power to investigate as part of their oversight function being widely acknowledged. But, the longer this fight, if there is a fight, goes on, the more trouble it is for Obama and his reelection campaign. At some point, Axelrod is going to come to The One and tell him it’s time to throw Holder under the bus, after which the President and the Attorney General in whom he has complete confidence will have a little chat.

Or will they? The Republicans won’t let this go, even after a Holder resignation or firing. And, once cut loose, Holder will have very strong reasons to name names in order to save his own skin, including “anyone” at the White House who may have known details of Fast and Furious.

Remember, it was a disaffected lawyer who finally broke the wall of silence around the Nixon White House to avoid becoming the scapegoat.

One other note: In case you’re wondering why Holder wasn’t commanded to testify in person, consider this to be “step one” — looking for information that would lead to questions that can then be put to the Attorney General in a “step two,” questions he would have to answer under oath before Congress and the nation.

Stay tuned…

RELATED: Prior Gunwalker posts.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: subpoenas on the way?

October 11, 2011

And probably including one for Eric Holder. Looks like Chairman Issa (R-CA) has decided “no more Mr. Nice Guy:”

CBS News has learned a congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder could go out as early as Tuesday, ordering him to turn over documents to lawmakers about when he was aware of a controversial gun smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and “gunwalking.”

(…)

The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson – more than a dozen of them – by name.

(…)

A source familiar with the Oversight Committee’s plans tells CBS News the subpoena request was prompted by the Justice Department dragging its feet in voluntarily turning over information to investigators, and new documents obtained by CBS News last week which seem to contradict Holder’s account of when he learned of the operation.

The subpoenas will come in the wake of a stunning letter from Attorney General Holder castigating the majority members of Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Rep. Issa’s equally firm shove-back.

This move represents a crossing of the Rubicon as far as the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious goes; congressional subpoenas are not to be dismissed lightly. Will the administration fight them? As Ed at Hot Air figures it, Obama would be smart to warm up that bus and throw Holder under it, pronto; the last thing he needs is a major scandal in the limelight during his reelection bid. But, Obama has rarely show smarts in anything to do with public image or relations with Congress since becoming president. Quite the contrary, as administration officials have literally screamed at reporters who dared to cover Gunwalker honestly.

Frankly, I expect Obama and Holder to fight this well past the point of diminishing returns.

Time to stock up on popcorn.

RELATED: Earlier Gunwalker posts.

UPDATE: Oh, my. Now the DEA is implicated, too. Per Chairman Issa:

It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF.

As they say, there’s never just one roach under the carpet.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)