South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy doesn’t believe there’s any foul play involved with the timing of the Department of Justice’s unsealing of the indictment of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s accused killers.
On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder unsealed the indictment charging five people with crimes in connection with the Operation Fast and Furious-related murder of Terry. One of the five is already in custody and has been since the night of Terry’s killing, while the other four are fugitives. A sixth person connected with that crime but has already been charged with a lesser crime has also been in custody since December 2010.
Holder is also offering a $1 million reward to anyone who helps the FBI with “information leading to the arrest of four fugitives.”
In an appearance on Fox News on Monday evening, Gowdy told host Greta Van Susteren that he didn’t believe there was any reason to think there was anything political about the timing of this move.
“I did not know it was coming down, but the nature of sealed indictments is such that I should not have known it was coming down,” Gowdy said. “And I read some accounts today that some – by colleagues and some other attorneys. I think the timing is curious.”
But, he said he has “no reason to suspect that this unsealing of the indictment was calculated to draw attention away from the attorney general, and I think the U.S. attorney in the southern district of California, because that’s who’s prosecuting the case, is entitled to a presumption of good faith until it is suggested or proven otherwise. And I don’t have any reason to suspect the timing of it.”
Gowdy splits with House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa when it comes to that view. Issa said on Monday that he “applaud[s]” the move but “condemn[s]” the timing.
“It’s clear the timing has to do with the House of Representatives holding Eric Holder in contempt for not turning over information,” Issa said. “The Terry family should have seen this attempt to go public and try to get the murderers of Brian Terry [before now]. For 18 months they have known and haven’t done everything they could do to capture these individuals. This is another example of using politics over good policy. Again, I applaud the fact that we are going public and we are trying to make it clear that these people are among the USA’s and Mexico’s most wanted. But at the same time, the timing is very dubious.”