Friday, June 29, 2012

Secret Wiretaps Implicate Holder's DOJ in 'Fast and Furious' Scandal


One day after the historic vote that held Attorney General Eric Holder to be in criminal contempt of Congress, Darrell Issa (R-CA) revealed details of secret wiretap applications from the Justice Department that implicates them even more in the “Fast and Furious” gunwalking scandal that resulted in the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent.  

Issa submitted these details to the Congressional Record by submitting a letter to Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Cummings have denied any wiretap applications contained details that would have tipped off those in the know, according to Roll Call, but Issa’s letter suggests Holder and Cummings were not truthful about what was in the wiretap application, which was signed by some of the most senior officials in the Department of Justice.

According to Roll Call
The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.
According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.
Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.
The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased.
Roll Call further reported the “application included details such as how many guns specific suspects had purchased via straw purchasers and how many of those guns had been recovered in Mexico,” in addition to describing how “ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.”
Issa excoriated the DOJ's lack of oversight: 
Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy.
The coverup is always worse than the crime, and the question at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal has been what the Department Justice knew and when they knew it.
After Issa’s letter implicating the Department of Justice in the Fast and Furious scandal, those questions are about to get a lot more intense, pressure on Holder will increase, and the public’s demand for answers will intensify.
Now if only the mainstream media would do its job and put pressure on the DOJ, not the Congressmen investigating them.

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