By Jim Kouri
While Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) is eager to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of congress for failing to provide all records and information regarding the controversial Operation Fast and Furious gun-smuggling fiasco, a number of GOP members of his committee appear to be getting “cold feet at the thought of going up against Holder,” a law enforcement source in Washington, D.C. said on Sunday.
As a result Rep. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, may not have the full support of his fellow Republicans in taking action against Holder and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and therefore he’ll lack the votes to proceed with the contempt resolution and his investigation, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner source.
Operation Fast and Furious is blamed for, among other things, the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and possibly the death of Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.
If passed by a House vote, the contempt citation would order the controversial Attorney General to deliver to the House Oversight Committee and to the Judiciary Committee thousands documents related to the probe of the gun-smuggling operation.
According to the Law Enforcement Examiner source, too many Republican members on Issa’s committee are fearful of pursuing the proposed action so close to the November elections.
“Apparently some feckless GOP lawmakers are willing to allow Holder and his minions to escape any scrutiny or punishment for an operation that cost lives on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border,” said former NYPD detective and military intelligence officer Mike Snopes, who has been following the aftermath of what he called a “blown covert operation.”
An anonymous police source told the Law Enforcement Examiner that only about 15 Republicans on the committee are in favor of the Holder contempt charge, with about eight GOP caucus members preferring to stay out of the fray.
“It’s like I have said all along: GOP lawmakers don’t possess the strong stomach for confrontation the way their opponents do. Democrats — especially progressives — apparently possess the intestinal fortitude to do battle in the House of Representative,” said Det. Snopes.
In fact, most of the Republican leadership has reluctantly shown minimal support for Issa’s investigation of Holder and his Justice Department underlings, according to several sources.
Issa and his colleagues on the Oversight Committee at first conducted an intensive probe of the Justice Department’s approval of the Fast & Furious “gun walking” operation. Issa repeatedly alleged that the covert action had to have the approval by upper-echelon members of the DOJ and he wanted to know their names, according to his frequent appearances on Fox News and CNN.
When Issa issued a second subpoena last October for thousands of files pertinent to the gun-walking tactics, he hoped to at least identify those ATF and DOJ members involved in the failed operation.
Issa complained last week on the Fox News Channel that DOJ officials stopped turning over records and documents for the committee thereby violating a congressional subpoena. And earlier this month, he began circulating a draft copy of a resolution that would hold President Barack Obama’s attorney general in contempt of Congress.
With only 15 committee Republicans supporting the resolution — and with none of the Democrat members signing on — Issa won’t have the 21 votes needed to pass the contempt resolution out of the 40-member Committee onto the floor of the House, said the law enforcement source close to the investigation.
“This is a perfect example of why Republicans in congress are held in such low regard. Rather than play hardball when they are in the right, they attempt to appear civil while the Democrats and their comrades in the news media paint them as unreasonable and harsh,” said Det. Snopes.