Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle told The Daily Caller that Attorney General Eric Holder gave him false testimony under oath about Operation Fast and Furious wiretap application documents during a June 7 House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Quayle said the Department of Justice’s inspector general report proves that Holder lied to him while under oath during the hearing.
“I saw earlier that Holder is basically doing a victory dance and that he thinks this [inspector general] report exonerates him and there was no dishonesty with Congress — that’s just a blatant lie,” Quayle said in a phone interview. “I mean, he lied to me — to my face — during questioning, saying they had reviewed the wiretap applications after the fact and claiming that there was no reference to gunwalking, which is blatantly false.”
Holder told Quayle during congressional questioning that wiretap application affidavits and summaries from Fast and Furious did not, upon his review, mention anything about gunwalking that would have raised the concerns of senior Justice Department officials who signed and approved them.
“I’ve looked at these affidavits. I’ve looked at these summaries. There’s nothing in those affidavits as I’ve reviewed them that indicates gunwalking was allowed,” Holder said during the hearing. “Let’s get to the bottom line. I didn’t see anything in there that would put on notice a person who was reviewing either at the line level or at the Deputy Assistant Attorney General level, that you would have knowledge of the fact that these inappropriate tactics were being used.”
Quayle followed up by asking: “Are you saying in the summaries or in the whole affidavit?”
Holder confirmed that his statement was about “in the summary as well as in the affidavit.”
The DOJ inspector general came to the opposite conclusion about those very same affidavits, essentially implying that that Holder statement is not true.
“We reviewed the wiretap affidavits in both Operation Wide Receiver and Operation Fast and Furious and concluded that the affidavits in both cases included information that would have caused a prosecutor who was focused on the question of investigative tactics, particularly one who was already sensitive to the issue of ‘gun walking,’ to have questions about ATF’s conduct of the investigations,” the inspector general wrote in its report released Wednesday.
If House members were to pursue perjury charges against Holder for this apparently false statement to Congress, they would likely run into the same roadblock they encountered in holding Holder in criminal contempt of Congress. (RELATED: Key Holder deputy resigns as inspector general releases Fast and Furious report)
This summer, a bipartisan group of House members voted Holder into both criminal and civil contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a congressional subpoena into Fast and Furious. The criminal contempt resolution stalled because Holder’s DOJ told Ron Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, not to enforce it.
House members, however, remain intent on pursing the civil contempt charges in court — with the ultimate goal of having a federal judge overturn President Barack Obama’s use of executive privilege to help Holder withhold Fast and Furious documents.
DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has not responded to TheDC’s request for comment about the inspector general contradicting Holder’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.