Holder agrees to give Issa internal emails on Fast and FuriousJun-15-2012
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday agreed to make what he called "an extraordinary accommodation" to Republicans investigating the botched "Operation Fast and Furious" by turning over department emails he has long insisted deal with internal deliberations and should be protected.
Holder is trying to head off a push by House Republicans to hold him in contempt of Congress for allegedly "stonewalling" their investigation. And he offered to personally brief the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in the next few days.
"We believe that this briefing, and the documents we are prepared to provide ... will fully address the remaining concerns identified in the recent letters to me from you and House leadership," Holder said in a letter to Issa. "The department's willingness to provide these materials is a serious, good faith effort to bring this matter to an amicable resolution."
Issa's office said in an early response that Holder's letter "only seems to indicate a willingness to offer a selective telling" of key events and that the chairman is still asking the Justice Department to explain "how it is prepared to alter its opposition to producing subpoenaed documents"
Earlier Thursday, Holder's allies on the committee mounted their own aggressive defense of the attorney general, circulating a memo to House Democrats that calls the Republican argument for contempt, laid out in a contempt citation last month, "irresponsible, unprecedented, and contrary to the rule of law."
For more than a year, Republicans have been leading an investigation into "Fast and Furious," which was launched in Arizona in late 2009 by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials, with help from the U.S. attorney's office there. The operation's targets bought nearly 2,000 weapons over several months. But for reasons that are still in dispute, most of the weapons sold were never followed, and high-powered weapons tied to the investigation ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including the December 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
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