Politics

Issa subpoenas ATF for Project Gunrunner documents

Top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa is subpoenaing  the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for documents on Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious after the agency missed a Wednesday deadline for producing the documents.

“The unwillingness of this administration – most specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms – to answer questions about this deadly serious matter is deeply troubling,” Issa said in a statement. “Allegations surrounding this program are serious and the ability of the Justice Department to conduct an impartial investigation is in question. Congressional oversight is necessary to get the truth about what is really happening.”

In Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, ATF allowed American guns to be smuggled into Mexico and sold to Mexican drug cartels. The goal of the program was to track the illegal weapons and drug markets after they were used in crimes and abandoned using ballistics information and serial numbers for the guns.

Issa had fired off his request to ATF, which falls under the Department of Justice, on March 16, giving the bureau two weeks to fulfill it – they missed their deadline.

Issa is demanding “documents and communications relating to the genesis,” of the ATF programs and documents and communications about the “individuals responsible for authorizing the decision to ‘walk’ guns to Mexico in order to follow them and capture a ‘bigger fish,’” he said.

The documents could show who in the Obama administration made final decisions about the program. Issa has suggested in interviews the documents could implicate Attorney General Eric Holder.

Issa has also requested documents from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Those documents are due April 12.

Another angle in the investigation is a possible connection between guns sold to Mexican drug cartels and the Dec. 14 shooting death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Issa became involved in the investigations after the Obama administration stonewalled Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, who does not have subpoena power.