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Congressman raises stakes in 'Fast and Furious' probe, targeting Eric Holder

Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas wants a special counsel to investigate whether Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress the truth about Operation Fast and Furious, a now-discredited gun-tracking program aimed at Mexico's drug lords.

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Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before the House Judiciary Committee's oversight hearing on the Department of Justice, on May 13, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

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Congressional Republicans want to get to the bottom of who is responsible for Operation Fast and Furious – a discredited US program intended to interrupt the flow of guns smuggled from the Southwest to Mexican drug cartels – and at least one lawmaker wants to ensure a closer look at what US Attorney General Eric Holder knew and when he knew it.

Claiming Mr. Holder may have "misled" Congress about his knowledge of the gun-interdiction operation, Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas on Tuesday asked President Obama to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the attorney general told the truth in testimony to Congress earlier this year. The White House so far has not responded.

The Justice Department's Inspector General is already investigating Operation Fast and Furious, as is the House Judiciary Committee under Representative Smith. In addition, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R) of Iowa are jointly pursuing a probe. A special counsel is needed, Smith said in a letter to Mr. Obama, because the Justice Department can't effectively investigate its own boss.

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