More Double Standards On Fast and Furious From Rep. Issa

October 27, 2011 4:02 pm ET — Chris Brown

As we've noted, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) won't accept the Department of Justice's (DOJ) explanation that briefings on Operation Fast and Furious sent to Attorney General Eric Holder's office were broad and didn't include information about the reckless tactics that are currently being investigated. This is despite the fact that Issa's own office has used virtually the same explanation to claim that he and his staff weren't aware of the details of Fast and Furious after they were briefed on the program in April 2010. One source told Talking Points Memo's Ryan J. Reilly that Issa had been briefed on the same issues he's "been screaming about."

Yesterday in a House Judiciary hearing, Issa continued in a similar vein, asking Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her actions in the months of January and February after border agent Brian Terry was murdered, possibly with a Fast and Furious gun. Secretary Napolitano indicated the DHS focus had been on identifying and investigating the suspects in the murder and that the DOJ's Inspector General's office had begun an investigation in February.

In an interview on Fox News this morning, Issa all but suggested Secretary Napolitano only cared about attending photo ops at funerals and not punishing criminals or finding out the facts about Fast and Furious.

ISSA: Janet Napolitano wants to go to funerals and have photo ops, and tell the families she'll do everything, and then she won't even have that conversation in the two months between Brian Terry's murder and the time that very quick [DOJ inspector general] investigation [began].


In fact, news accounts and public statements by Issa show little reason to believe that he himself was focused on Fast and Furious in January and February. Further, both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) running the Fast and Furious operation and the FBI investigation of Terry's murder are under DOJ, not Secretary Napolitano's DHS. Napolitano has no authority over the DOJ Inspector General's office that is investigating Fast and Furious.

Issa did not request documents from ATF about Fast and Furious until March 16. Issa's House Oversight Committee released over 30 press releases before issuing an April 1 press release about Fast and Furious. Lexis Nexis searches show no evidence that Issa was interested in Fast and Furious in the first two months of the year.

What's the explanation for the delay? Issa indicates in an April 1 video that previously he had been relying on Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) efforts to look into Fast and Furious, but he thought that was no longer sufficient. This largely mirrors Secretary Napolitano's explanation that she was relying on FBI and DOJ investigations at the beginning of 2011.