Congress Calls Out DOJ On Fast And Furious Wiretaps

Wiretap applications received by a House investigative committee have relayed information that the Obama administration is not being as forthcoming with the facts as they say they were regarding Operation Fast and Furious. In fact, they are suggesting what we have known all along: High-ranking officials know more than they have told Congress about the weapons sting gone wrong.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, seems to be trying to press Attorney General Eric Holder to be more forth coming with documentation that has been requested time and again.

In a June 5 letter to Holder, Issa wrote, “The wiretap applications show that immense detail about questionable investigative tactics was available to the senior officials who reviewed and authorized them. The close involvement of these officials — much greater than previously known — is shocking.”

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“The applications discussed — in no uncertain terms — the reckless tactic used in Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa wrote. “In light of the information contained in these wiretap applications, senior Department officials can no longer disclaim responsibility for failing to shut down Fast and Furious because they were unaware of the tactics used.”

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“With the wiretap applications in possession of the committee, the Department can no longer push such information away from its political appointees,” Issa wrote. “These appointees were responsible for approving the reckless tactics used during Fast and Furious.”

“It is time for you to honor your commitment to Congress and the American people by holding these individuals accountable,” Issa said.

Fox News reports,

The wiretaps were intended to allow investigators in Arizona to listen to the phone calls of suspects as part of the strategy to reveal evidence of involvement by high-level Mexican cartel associates. The six applications for wiretaps, which have been sealed by a federal judge, detail specific actions taken by agents involved in the operation, the GOP-controlled committee said in a statement.

The information shows the officials made “conscious decisions” not to interdict weapons that agents knew were illegally purchased by smugglers taking weapons to Mexico, according to the statement.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, said Tuesday that he is concerned about Issa’s possible mis-characterization of the “contents and significance” of the wiretap- related documents.

The Justice Department has tried to say they are following the law and are ignorant of any wrongdoing on their part. Tracy Schmaler, an agency spokeswoman said, “Chairman Issa continues to distort the facts and ignore the law. Senior Justice Department officials were not aware of the flawed tactics in Fast and Furious until they became public in early 2011.”

She claims the release of the requested information would be illegal.

“The committee also knows full well that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer did not review the wiretap applications in Fast and Furious,” she said. “That does not stop the committee, however, from falsely asserting …Breuer was ‘responsible for’ authorizing them.” reports,

The DOJ responded to Issa on Tuesday, saying that it was not allowed by law to talk about the details of the wiretaps under question because they were sealed by a federal court, which raised serious concerns as to how the committee came to be in possession of them.

“Chairman Issa’s letter makes clear that sealed court documents relating to pending federal prosecutions being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California have been disclosed to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in violation of law,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole in a letter.

“This is of great concern to us. While we are legally prohibited from commenting on the content of sealed court documents, we disagree with the chairman’s assertions,” Cole said.

The committee has not revealed how they were able to obtain the wiretap applications.

The question I have is when is the investigation going to take it up a notch and indict Eric Holder?

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