In late December 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a member of the Border Patrol's elite Search, Trauma and Rescue team was on patrol with three other agents. He was ten miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border when a gun fight broke out with as many as five illegal aliens and Agent Terry was shot and killed.
Weeks later we would all learn that two of the guns used to murder Agent Terry were traced back to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Operation Fast and Furious, which was a sting operation initiated by ATF to track the illegal firearms trafficking along and across the southwest border between the U.S. and Mexico. Unbelievably, during the operation, the questionable sales of at least 2,000 firearms were allowed by ATF. These guns have been linked to approximately 200 crime scenes in Mexico and Agent Terry's murder in Arizona.
For the past sixteen months, Congress has been demanding answers from the Department of Justice, the agency that oversees ATF, regarding the handling of Operation Fast and Furious. But, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has refused to provide any information regarding the knowledge that leaders in the Obama Administration had in this scandal. As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have taken every opportunity to question Attorney General Holder and other high-ranking officials regarding their involvement in this disastrous program.
The Justice Department's lack of cooperation with the Congressional investigation has only magnified Americans' frustration and lack of confidence in Attorney General Holder. Due to his repeated stonewalling, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was forced to issue a subpoena requiring the Justice Department to hand over all internal documents related to the Fast and Furious Operation. After eight months, the Justice Department has failed to produce all the documents that were subpoenaed and so the Committee scheduled a hearing to begin contempt proceedings against Attorney General Holder. Minutes before the committee hearing began President Obama asserted Executive Privilege over these documents, thus blocking all access to the documents in question. Following this announcement, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found the Attorney General in contempt for failing to comply with the Congressional subpoena and it is expected that the full House of Representatives will have the opportunity to vote on this contempt resolution in the coming days.
I have repeatedly expressed my dismay with Attorney General Holder and his actions following this tragedy. His non-responsiveness to the requests from Congress and his unwillingness to take responsibility when things went wrong is why I maintain that it is time for him to step down as our nation's Attorney General. You can be assured that I will continue to challenge his mismanagement of the Justice Department at every step and work to uncover the truth regarding Operation Fast and Furious.