Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that Obama administration officials responsible for Operation Fast and Furious might be accessories to murder.
“We’re talking about consequences of criminal activity, where we actually allowed guns to walk into the hands of criminals, where our livelihoods are at risk,” Gosar said in a phone interview. “When you facilitate that and a murder or a felony occurs, you’re called an accessory. That means that there’s criminal activity.”
Gosar said the government should be held to the same standard as everyone else. Fast and Furious weapons were used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, as well as scores of Mexican citizens, and he thinks administration officials should be held accountable.
“We impugn the private sector, we impugn main street America, and the bureaucracy cannot be held to any different standard whatsoever,” Gosar told TheDC, insisting that Justice Department and ATF officials “intentionally — intentionally — violated the law.”
Gosar said the administration was “showing an intentional, wanton disregard for the law,” and that “there’s got to be consequences for that.”
“Leadership has a price,” he added.
Gosar said he’s confident the Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious will eventually include either the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, or both.
“I’ve said all along, you’re dealing with a foreign country, you’re talking about an international border — that’s the Secretary of State and of Homeland Security,” Gosar said. “If you weren’t briefing them, it’s even worse that we had vigilantes from DOJ going unchecked and we did not tell our folks in Mexico about this.”
“This should have been a Cabinet [issue], and I keep saying it all along,” Gosar continued. “He [Holder] points to Homeland Security Secretary [Janet] Napolitano in this and I would have no doubts — I’m a common sense person — that this should have also involved the secretary of state, which means everybody knew — and we’re starting to see that in the document dump from the White House.”
As new documents showing how many more senior political officials in the Obama administration were aware of Fast and Furious continue to surface, Gosar said it’s becoming clearer that senior officials in the Obama administration are responsible for the program. The latest documents to surface indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed on Operation Fast and Furious at least two times in 2010, despite Holder’s May 3 testimony that he had only learned of the gun walking operation a few weeks before his Congressional appearance.
Like House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Gosar thinks that May 3 testimony was “misleading.”
Chaffetz told the TheDC on Tuesday that he thinks Holder was “less than candid.” Smith has called for an investigation into the truthfulness of Holder’s comments, and Issa has publicly questioned the attorney general’s veracity as well.
“I certainly believe that he either misrepresented the facts or he’s sufficiently incompetent that he didn’t know what was in his weekly briefings,” Issa told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday evening.
At this time, it’s unclear what Holder’s future will be. When TheDC asked Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan if he thinks Holder should resign over these allegations, Jordan replied that he’s not sure at this point, but he expects Issa and Smith to bring Holder in front of their committees to answer the questions under oath again.
“I spoke with Darrell [Issa] briefly this morning,” Jordan told TheDC at a Wednesday breakfast for reporters. “I think that they’re looking to get the attorney general to come in and testify.”
“My guess is it might be a joint hearing of both Judiciary and Oversight with the attorney general,” Jordan added. “So we’ll see. And I think what’s appropriate is let’s get him under oath in front of the respective committees and then see how that process plays out.”
Gosar said that while it’s troubling that the attorney general may have misled or lied to Congress, it’s important not to lose sight of the real issue here: The Obama administration allowed guns to walk to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious, which he says is more “egregious” than the possibility that Holder lied to Congress.
“You had gun dealers who said, ‘Listen, I don’t feel comfortable selling these guns,’ and the ATF said, ‘Sell the guns,’” Gosar said. “Then, when you had special agents trying to do surveillance, they [the ATF] told them to stand down. They were intentionally doing this, they’re showing an intentional, wanton disregard for the law, and there’s got to be consequences for that.”
Will Rahn contributed to this report.