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Congress v. Holder: Despite 'bombshell' wiretap, feds decline to investigate top cop

The US Department of Justice declined to investigate its own chief, Eric Holder, after the House cited him for criminal contempt over the Fast and Furious scandal. But House Republicans say they’ve found a ‘bombshell’ document that suggests DOJ officials knew more than they let on.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks with an aide during testimony to the House Rules Committee about finding US Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

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The Justice Department declined on Friday to investigate its own boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, for congressional contempt, even as House Republicans revealed evidence tying some of the government’s top law enforcement officers directly to the Fast and Furious “gun-walking” program, and, by association, the death of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Mr. Holder became the first Cabinet member in history to be cited for contempt of Congress, after he refused to share documents related to a short-lived ATF sting operation in Arizona tied to hundreds of deaths in Mexico and the killing of Mr. Terry in a desert shootout in 2010, where two such guns were found.

Operation Fast and Furious was the largest and most audacious incarnation of a controversial tactic dating back to the Bush administration: Allow known “straw buyers” to buy and deliver US-bought weapons illegally in Mexico, and then build cases against the cartel boss recipients.

But while the sting did yield suspects, it fell apart when 1,400 guns bought under federal supervision in Arizona started turning up at murder scenes in Mexico. Unlike the Bush-era gun-walking programs, the Mexican government says it knew nothing of Fast and Furious. But did Washington?


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