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Attorney General Eric Holder.
The House's investigative committee is digging deeper into the ATF's troubled gun-walking operation. Yesterday, it issued a lengthy subpoena to Attorney General Holder demanding unredacted documents related to "Operation Fast & Furious."
Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says top Justice Department officials, including Holder, know more about the operation than they have testified to.
At a May 3 hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder was asked when he first knew of the program. Holder said, "I probably heard about it in the last few weeks."
However, DOJ memos dating back to July 2010 discussing the Fast and Furious program were recently revealed. Holder has since acknowledged the memos were sent, but said he does not and cannot read memos cover-to-cover.
The operation was run by the DOJ's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The goal was to trace weapons sold in Arizona to drug cartels in Mexico. Law enforcement officials allowed middle men for drug cartels to buy thousands of weapons from American gun shops, but weren't able to trace about 1,400 of 2,000 guns. Some of those weapons have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, including the murder scene of U.S. border patrol agent, Brian A. Terry.
Who had command and control for Fast and Furious? At what level did authorization come from? Who knew what and when did they know it? Why does it matter? Is Congress the right investigating body or should a special prosecutor be assigned? The ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, said the subpoenas are "a deep-sea fishing expedition and gross abuse of the Committee's authority." Does he have a point? How much political damage has Holder suffered?
Josh Gerstein, White House reporter, POLITICO