Looks like there’s some dissention in the ranks.
Patrick J. Cunningham, a top justice department official was issued a subpoena by the committee investigating the Fast and Furious scandal. We told you about a press release issued yesterday by Congressman Darrell Issa which stated, “Mr. Cunningham’s repeated refusals to testify voluntarily have forced the Committee to use compulsory process.”
Today, through his lawyer, Cunningham is pleading the fifth.
The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is refusing to testify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the federal gun-running scandal that sent U.S. weapons to Mexico.
Patrick J. Cunningham informed the House Oversight Committee late Thursday through his attorney that he will use the Fifth Amendment protection.
I’m sure this means he has nothing to hide.
Further, it appears that there is trouble in Eric Holder’s corrupt little paradise. Cunningham is claiming that he is being set up to take the fall in this scandal, because witnesses that are supporting the Attorney General are either “wrong or lying.”
“Department of Justice officials have reported to the Committee that my client relayed inaccurate information to the Department upon which it relied in preparing its initial response to Congress. If, as you claim, Department officials have blamed my client, they have blamed him unfairly,” the letter to Issa says.
Romero claims Cunningham did nothing wrong and acted in good faith, but the Department of Justice in Washington is making him the fall guy, claiming he failed to accurately provide the Oversight Committee with information on the execution of Fast and Furious.
The report concludes that, “This schism is the first big break in what has been a unified front in the government’s defense of itself in the gun-running scandal.”
Let’s hope so, for the sake of Brian Terry’s family.
Congressman Issa responds, noting that the only information Cunningham is willing to provide is his name and title. Clearly, something is being covered up here.
“The assertion of the fifth amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees. This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department’s motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.
“Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers. Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts? The committee will continue to demand answers.”