Weich announced in late April that he plans to resign his DOJ post amid this and other scandals. In July he will become dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Over the course of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, Issa has obtained documents showing that former Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, one of Holder’s closest deputies, was intimately aware of how Justice was enabling guns to disappear into Mexico during the program’s early stages.
But despite evidence including Grindler’s handwritten notes showing the depth of his knowledge, Holder continues to deny Grindler’s involvement.
“The Acting Director [of the ATF, Ken Melson] did not share tactical information with Mr. Grindler,” Holder told Issa during a Dec. 8, 2011 House Judiciary Committee hearing. Earlier in the hearing, Issa had produced documents showing that this later claim was false.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, another close Holder deputy and the head of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, admitted he was partially responsible for Operation Fast and Furious during his November 2011 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was later revealed that, as early as 2009, Breuer praised the gunwalking tactics used in the ill-fated operation
In emails congressional investigators uncovered, Breuer told Melson during the program’s formative stages that Fast and Furious and gunwalking were a “terrific idea.”
Documents and testimony have shown that like Ogden, Weich, Grindler and Breuer, each of the other DOJ officials who were the subject of Issa’s subpoenas played a major role in Operation Fast and Furious.
Issa’s draft contempt citation also addresses a second set of subpoenaed documents which Justice has only partially turned over to congressional investigators. This category refers to files and papers dated February 4, 2011 that show ATF “failed to interdict weapons that had been illegally purchased or transferred.”
Holder, Issa wrote, “has produced some documents responsive to this subpoena category.” It’s unclear how much or how little DOJ has supplied, and how far Holder is from complying fully with this demand from the legislative branch.
A third subpoena category featured in the contempt citation Issa has aimed at Holder concerns documents showing that “ATF broke off surveillance of weapons and subsequently became aware that those weapons entered Mexico.” Holder, he wrote, has produced some but not all of these documents that Congress has demanded.
Issa indicated that most of the documents DOJ has produced in response to these latter two subpoena categories “relate to earlier cases the Department has described as involving gunwalking.” This effort, he said, was intended to leverage media reports to taint the congressional investigation as partisan or to attack whistleblowers’ reputations.
“The Department produced these documents strategically, advancing its own narrative about why Fast and Furious was neither an isolated nor a unique program,” the contempt of Congress citation draft reads.
“It has attempted to accomplish this objective by simultaneously producing documents to the media and the Committee.”