Quayle asks Obama to appoint special prosecutor for Fast and Furious

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle on Wednesday evening dropped legislation that would serve as a formal call for President Barack Obama to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Operation Fast and Furious.

Quayle introduced House Resolution 532 mere hours before Attorney General Eric Holder’s scheduled Thursday morning appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the scandal.

“I’ve called for Attorney General Holder to resign, I think he should be removed immediately,” Quayle told The Daily Caller in a phone interview Wednesday. “You look at how all of this has been unfolding — it hasn’t been with any help from the DOJ. They continue to obfuscate the facts, to really hamper the investigation that Chairman Issa is trying to perform, and I know you’ve seen it as well as some of the materials they provide are fully redacted pages.”

Quayle said he thinks now is the “time we actually get the facts out on that table,” adding that “the only way to do this is through a special counsel.”

“It had to be done,” Quayle said about why he introduced the resolution.

Technically, President Obama would have to appoint a special prosecutor if there were to be one. On its own, Congress doesn’t have that authority.

The formal House Resolution begins by saying it is “[e]xpressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should appoint a special counsel to investigate Operation Fast and Furious and the Attorney General’s knowledge and management of Operation Fast and Furious.”

The resolution goes on to explain a brief history of Fast and Furious before laying out a timeline of Holder’s inconsistent congressional testimony on the matter. “[O]n May 3, 2011, the Attorney General testified before the House Judiciary Committee and, when asked when he first knew about operation Fast and Furious, he stated, ‘I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.’”

As the resolution points out, Holder made that statement before the House Judiciary Committee even though “beginning in July 2010, weekly memos addressed to the Attorney General included briefings about Operation Fast and Furious.”

The formal document then points out how Holder altered his original May 3, 2011 testimony during a Nov. 8, 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, changing when he first knew of Fast and Furious from a “few weeks” before then to a “couple months.”

“I first learned about the tactics and the phrase Operation Fast and Furious at the beginning of this year, I think, when it became a matter of, I guess, public controversy,” Holder testified in November 2011 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “In my testimony before the House committee I did say ‘a few weeks’ I probably could have said a couple of months.”

The resolution also cites this past weekend’s document dump. “[T]he Department of Justice released documents regarding Operation Fast and Furious, which included e-mails exchanged on December 14, 2010, between the Attorney General’s deputy chief of staff and the United States Attorney for the district of Arizona, stating that the Attorney General had been alerted of theshooting and death of a Border Patrol agent,” the formal document asserts.

The measure also points out how Holder told Quayle during the Dec. 8, 2011 House Judiciary Committee hearing that “he has no intention in resigning” and that nobody in the DOJ or ATF should resign based on the information that’s public.

Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown. Allegations have surfaced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was also killed with Fast and Furious weapons.

Quayle, a freshman congressman, told TheDC that he finds the lack of mainstream media coverage of the scandal appalling.

“We have an agent who was killed, we have a number of Mexicans who have been killed as well with weapons that were allowed to walk, and we don’t hear too much outrage from the mainstream media about what Attorney General Holder did — because it happened under his watch — and the fact that there’s no accountability,” Quayle said. “The president hasn’t called for any accountability within the Department of Justice and that is one thing, I think, that is just embarrassing for the mainstream media.”

Even without mainstream media coverage, a groundswell in Congress has surged to demand Holder resign or be fired in the wake of the scandal. Between lists of House members who have signed onto a House Resolution of “no confidence” in Holder and those who have called for his resignation or firing — two lists that don’t perfectly overlap — 103 representatives want Holder gone. They join two U.S. Senators, two sitting governors and all major Republican presidential candidates.

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