AWR Hawkins, Big Government reports:
I just received an email from Congressman Darrel Issa’s office, containing a copy of a letter that was just sent Patrick J. Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. The letter announces that Cunningham has just been subpoenaed for “repeated refusals to testify voluntarily” before the House Oversight Committee, concerning accusations that he relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Justice Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress.
Go to Big Government to see the copy of the letter. Cunningham is required to appear before the House Oversight Committee on January 24.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been scheduled to testify on February 2 about the Department of Justice’s knowledge of, and response to, gunwalking that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious. The Attorney General will be asked to address management deficiencies within the Department that occurred both during and after the conclusion of Operation Fast and Furious. This will include the Department’s steadfast refusal to disclose information following the February 4, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley, which the Department has withdrawn because it contained false information denying allegations made by whistleblowers about Operation Fast and Furious. The committee’s investigation has found documentation that numerous members of the Justice Department knew the letter to Congress contained false information both before it was sent and later withdrawn.
“The Department of Justice’s conduct in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious has been nothing short of shameful,” said Chairman Issa. “From its initial denials that nothing improper occurred, to efforts to silence whistleblowers who wanted to tell Congress what really happened, to its continuing refusal to discuss or share documents related to this cover-up, the Justice Department has fought tooth and nail to hide the full truth about what occurred and what senior officials knew. Attorney General Holder must explain or reverse course on decisions that appear to put the careers of political appointees ahead of the need for accountability and the Department’s integrity.”
John Hinderaker: Holder’s United Front on Fast and Furious Crumbles:
In an ominous development for the Obama administration, Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, has told the House Oversight Committee that he will assert his privilege against self-incrimination rather than testify before the committee next week.
… it would seem to be a bright line rule that any time a high-ranking official of the Department of Justice pleads the Fifth, a major scandal is under way.
But is some kind of fix in?
Sipsey Street Irregulars: FINALLY. Fifth Amendment Time in the Gunwalker Scandal. FOX breaks the story I knew was coming yesterday: “Federal official in Arizona to plead the fifth and not answer questions on ‘furious’” But, is the fix in? Issa staff reported to have witheld information from Grassley. “The roach motel of press inquiries.”
It is complex because this event comes at what may be a critical juncture in the investigation which some are interpreting as a reluctance on the part of the Issa committee to fully explore the many leads they have already developed because of their political sensitivity.
“I won’t say that the fix is in, but the Committee seems to be buying into the ‘Made-in-Phoenix’ line pushed by the White House,” said one source with inside knowledge of the investigator’s work. This seems to be reflected in the subpoena letter from Issa to Cunningham. From the Politico story linked above:
“Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress,” wrote Issa. “These officials told us that even after Congress began investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no unacceptable tactics were used.”
The White House is happy for Issa to go after Cunningham for this is consistent with their denial that the White House had anything to do with gunwalking. Indeed, from the evidence above it would seem that the White House has determined Cunningham to be one of the designated sacrificial goats to that end.
Sure. Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota/Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee/Acting ATF Director B. Todd Jones, top federal prosecutors in the southwest and White House staffers were all aware of Operation Fast and Furious. So let’s blame it all on the one guy in Arizona.
Linked by Points and Figures, thanks!