Operation Fast and Furious will return to the news cycle in the home stretch of the presidential campaign, as the Department of Justice’s Inspector General will testify before Congress about his investigation findings.
“For a year and a half, Attorney General Eric Holder has cited the ongoing Inspector General investigation as his reason for declining to hold those responsible for reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious to account,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. “Next week, this excuse for delaying action ends.”
Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, will testify next Tuesday in the first hearing on Operation Fast and Furious since the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena regarding the operation.
“Although I am concerned that the Justice Department has not given the Inspector General full and unfettered access to all relevant information, Inspector General Horowitz’s report and testimony should add to the understanding of the operation and numerous related management failures at the Department,” Issa also said.
Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents that Issa had demanded Holder provide, but Congress has filed a lawsuit challenging this assertion.
“The Attorney General’s conception of the reach of ‘Executive privilege,’ were it to be accepted, would cripple congressional oversight of Executive branch agencies, to the very great detriment of the Nation and our constitutional structure,” the lawmakers’ legal team told the U.S. District Court in D.C. in a court filing.
Operation Fast and Furious is the name of the operation in which U.S. law enforcement intentionally allowed drug cartels to smuggle weapons from the United States into Mexico, in hopes of tracing them to various criminals. As part of this strategy, law enforcement did not track the guns, but instead waited for them to turn up at crime scenes. Ultimately, drug smugglers armed through the operation murdered U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry.