In all the spreading scandal that is Project Gunrunner, one of the key players in the investigation is Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee. Issa was interviewed a week ago on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Sadly, that show flys well under the radar in a lot of markets. Happily, Hewitt put a transcript of his interview with Issa on Townhall.com. We’ve scraped the portion that pertains to the AFT scandal, and reprinted it below, but we encourage you to visit Townhall.com to read the entire interview, other articles by Hewitt, as well as the other columnists on the site.
HH: Would you explain to people what it is and what your committee is looking into?
DI: Well, Hugh, this is often called Project Gunrunner, because it was really about knowingly, deliberately letting guns be sold to straw purchasers who were going to supply them to the narco-terrorist groups on both sides of the border, and they did. And even at our discovery, our investigation, which is now, you know, 20 subpoenas, incredible amount of depositions, leading up to the office of the Attorney General, has shown us that this was authorized at the highest level. They regret that it went badly, that two American agents are now dead, and countless Mexicans are dead, and 2,000 weapons, 1,600 of them are still unaccounted for. They regret it, but they’re probably still doing similar programs. And that’s why this is such a big thing. If you think you can let guns walk in order to “lead to the bad guys”, you’re missing the whole point of law enforcement. You don’t let drugs walk, you don’t let the money walk, you don’t let guns walk. You do that, you’re part of the crime.
HH: You know, there’s a tremendous novelist, lives maybe in your district, T. Jefferson Parker, and he has written a number of books, and I’ve interviewed him about the gun trade from north to south. It’s vicious, and it’s violent. But when did this Fast and Furious program start that countenanced, basically, Americans selling guns with the effort to sting someone on the other side? When did it start?
DI: It started with this administration.
HH: It is?
DI: It started with, literally, the political appointees, many of whom had to approve specifics of this, including funding. And understand, there were agents at the ATF who have testified that they believe this was a good program. And there are agents who gave up their careers, basically, by refusing to be involved in it. So it was controversial. But it’s not about the agents in Arizona, or a similar program in Texas. It’s about the approvals all the way back in Washington. This is the Iran Contra decision. The Iran Contra decision was made by people around the President in the White House. This decision was made at least by people in the Office of Attorney General Holder. And they’re hiding behind every delay tactic they can, claiming that we’re going to interfere with an investigation. I’ve got to tell you, Hugh, I don’t want anyone to walk because of our investigation. But if some meth addict doesn’t get a strong sentence for buying guns, that’s probably not the worst damage if this kind of program continues, and we believe it continues to today.
HH: Is there any evidence that Attorney General Holder approved the selling of these guns.
DI: There is evidence all the way up to Lanny Brewer in the office, a very famous name from the past. And he is an immediate assistant of Eric Holder. President Obama, as a good lawyer, used his terms very carefully. He said neither I nor Attorney General Holder authorized this program. There’s a long way between authorized and knew.
HH: Has Attorney General Holder appeared in front of your committee yet?
DI: He has not. As a matter of fact, they have been refusing to even go through depositions voluntarily. We had a deal with them, and candidly, they reneged on it the moment my plane was off the ground. So far, we have had to issue more subpoenas on this than all others combined in all other investigations. This has been the real investigation where you can see the stonewalling, and you can see it for a reason. People got people killed, and they were people who are appointed by this President.
HH: So American agents may have been murdered as a result of this program?
DI: Their guns were found, with those serial numbers, at the scene, and by the way, long time after emails indicate that they knew this program was out of control.
HH: And so in terms of that chain of command, have you subpoenaed the Attorney General yet to come?
DI: We have not. One of the natures of this investigation is we’re going through this step by step, because we want to understand is there a problem at Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire all the way up to Washington? Is there a problem at Justice? The one thing I can tell you today is this was a joint task force operation. So DEA, Justice Department, the U.S. attorney in Arizona, all these elements had to be part of it, which is what should really tell you there’s something wrong at the highest levels, but there may be something wrong in the ability for somebody at a operative level to pull the stop cable. It doesn’t appear as though we had it. And candidly, that’s what concerns me. There should be a culture in a law enforcement that says if something’s really wrong, you don’t just obey the orders.
If and when MSM trains its resources on this brewing scandal, Team Obama will have an another DOJ mess on it’s hands as the election year opens.