House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa went after Attorney General Eric Holder on national conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show Monday morning. Issa said even if Holder really didn’t know about Operation Fast and Furious, he should’ve.
“We have a paper trail of so many people knowing that the only way the attorney general didn’t know is he made sure he didn’t want to know,” Issa said. “But if you don’t want to know something of this sort then you shouldn’t have the job he has. And ultimately one of the questions is, if he didn’t know, is he that inept that he is dangerous to have as the attorney general, and that is for the president to decide.”
Operation Fast and Furious was a botched gun walking operation where Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents facilitated the sale of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers. Straw purchasers are people who could buy guns in the United States legally, but did so with the intention of turning around and selling them to drug cartels.
“This thing was dumber than Iran-Contra, and as a Republican I hate to say that, but this was so dumb that there was no chance of it ever yielding the kind of solutions that they claimed it would,” Issa said on Ingraham’s show.
Last week, Congressional investigators Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley made their first Fast and Furious document requests directly to the White House. They requested documents and communications relating to Fast and Furious involving three senior Obama administration officials.
In a letter to Obama national security adviser Thomas Donilon, Issa and Grassley also requested copies of all communications those three officials had with ATF field personnel in Phoenix. (RELATED: New Energy Dept. loans support green Obama backers)
The written request from Capitol Hill came shortly after it was discovered that the lead ATF agent on Operation Fast and Furious, William Newell, communicated with three White House officials about some details of the operation.
The three White House officials reported to have communicated with Newell on the botched ATF program are Kevin M. O’Reilly, director of North American Affairs for the White House national security staff; Dan Restrepo, the president’s senior Latin American advisor; and Greg Gatjanis, a White House national security official.
In their letter, Issa and Grassley asked the White House to provide the requested communications by noon on September 23, but sooner if possible. They are also requesting a transcribed interview with O’Reilly by the end of September, setting a September 14 deadline to set a date for that interview.