Fast and Furious: Top Arizona official to be subpoenaed
by Tim Mak - Jan. 19, 2012 02:01 PM
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced Thursday
that he will subpoena a top Justice Department official over his role
in the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.
Issa said the subpoena of Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal
Division in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona,
was central to understanding Cunningham's involvement in the tactics
employed in the DOJ's Fast and Furious operation.
"During the course of our investigation, the Committee has learned of
the outsized role played by the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office - and
you specifically - in approving the unacceptable tactics used in Fast
and Furious," Issa wroteCunningham in a letter dated Wednesday.
The California Republican suggested Cunningham had denied that
unacceptable tactics were used in the gun-walking operation, even
after Congress started to investigate the topic.
"Senior Justice Department officials have recently told the Committee
that you relayed inaccurate and misleading information to the
Department in preparation for its initial response to Congress,"
wrote Issa. "These officials told us that even after Congress began
investigating Fast and Furious, you continued to insist that no
unacceptable tactics were used."
Issa argued that Cunningham had made the subpoena necessary by
declining to voluntarily appear before his committee.
"Yesterday, you canceled your interview scheduled with the
Committee," wrote Issa. "The Committee has made every effort to
accommodate you... Your sudden withdrawal, without any explanation,
is unfortunate. It has also delayed the Committee's ability to
uncover the truth about this reckless program."
The subpoena requires Cunningham to appear before the Oversight
Committee on Jan. 24.
The Fast and Furious operation drew fierce scrutiny when firearms
linked to the program were found to be involved in the December 2010
shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The program attempted to investigate drug cartels and weapons
traffickers but instead ended up supplying them with weapons.
Investigators lost thousands of firearms, many of which wound up in
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