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Holder must be held accountable

ElectionsJustice SystemDarrell E IssaEric Holder

What is "Fast and Furious" exactly ("House panel supports Holder contempt vote," June 21)? This scandal involves theU.S. Department of Justiceintentionally allowing guns to cross the border into Mexico, in an attempt to track them to drug cartels. This "gun-running" was exposed when U.S. border agents confronted several men who were suspected of illegally crossing the border and smuggling drugs. This confrontation ended with U.S border agent Brian Terry being shot and killed. The gun that shot Agent Terry was traced back to the guns that were involved in Fast and Furious.

The Department of Justice initially claimed it did not execute or know about this operation. However, several whistle-blowers and mounting pressure led the Department to withdraw its denial and acknowledge that the operation was seriously flawed. It is this switch from denial to acknowledgment of a flawed operation that is the real scandal.

If Attorney General Eric Holder knew about this operation, then he blatantly lied to the committee during testimony during the investigations. Throughout the congressional investigation, the Department of Justice has been uncooperative as the committee attempted to find out answers to the many questions that have been raised regarding the actions of the department and Mr. Holder.

President Obama has extended executive privilege to Mr. Holder over the documents related to Fast and Furious. This scandal came to a boiling point when Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, said he would have to move forward with a contempt of Congress vote against Mr. Holder for failing to produce documents that have been requested by the committee.

The legality of this extension of executive privilege is questionable. The executive privilege is not a law on the books, rather a precedent upheld by the U.S Supreme Court in recognition of the separation of powers. This precedent has never been extended by the president in any similar instances. This is a blatant attempt to save the struggling Mr. Holder. It is no secret that the two are close friends, but is that enough to close transparency on this serious issue? The president is overstepping his boundaries and is foregoing transparency to delay and block a vote to hold Mr. Holder in contempt, which would add more pressure on the attorney general to resign.

There are serious discrepancies in the official accounts of Fast and Furious, the most problematic of which is the reversal by the Justice Department from denying involvement to acknowledging it. There are too many unanswered questions on important matters of who ordered the operation and who had knowledge of it. If Mr. Holder did have knowledge of this operation before he so claims, then he point blank lied to Congress and has hindered this investigation and should immediately resign his post.

Tyler McDonald

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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ElectionsJustice SystemDarrell E IssaEric Holder
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