October 19, 2011

Schiff Statement on Operation Fast and Furious

Schiff Statement on Operation Fast and Furious

Calls for politically motivated attacks on Attorney General to come to an end

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) released the following statement concerning Operation Fast and Furious, calling for the politically motivated attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder to come to an end:

“The politically motivated attacks on Attorney General Eric Holder need to come to an end. They are a meritless distraction from the important work of the Department of Justice, and the many men and women who work every day to make America safer. The evidence is clear and the Attorney General has been forthright throughout – he was not briefed on the details of Operation Fast and Furious until after the serious problems became public. The Attorney General then requested a full investigation by the Inspector General, exactly what we should want him to do. In fact, it now appears that Congressman Issa’s own staff received a briefing on Operation Fast and Furious in April 2010. Mr. Issa said nothing about the operation at the time -- one might just as well call for an investigation of his office -- but none is required. Mr. Issa should understand better than most that being made aware of a program's existence is not the same as being apprised of the operational details of a plan that has gone terribly wrong.  At least two previous ATF operations, undertaken during the Bush Administration, used the same ‘gun walking’ tactics that failed in Fast and Furious, but my GOP colleagues were never heard to complain about them.

“I spent six years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and one of the most potent weapons in a prosecutor's arsenal is the ability to roll lower level defendants against those higher up in their organization. Unfortunately, in the case of gun trafficking, straw purchasing carries such a minimal penalty that defendants have little incentive to make a deal in exchange for their testimony and assistance dismantling these criminal organizations. Without a serious penalty for straw purchasers, investigators have no hope of gaining their cooperation and testimony against the major gun traffickers. If the House majority is truly concerned about violence in Mexico and not just scoring political points, I suggest they support stronger penalties on firearm traffickers who supply vicious Mexican drug cartels with thousands of weapons.”