OARRELL E.

ISSA, CALIFORNIA CHAIRMAN

ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS

ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, MARYLAND RANKING MINORITY MEMBER EDOLPHUS TOWNS, NEW YORK CAROLYN B MALONEY. NELV YORK ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON . DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DENNIS J KUCINICH, OHIO JOHN F. TIERNEY, h1ASSACHUSETTS WM. LACY CLAY. MISSOURI STEPHEN F. LYNCH, MASSACHUSETTS JIKI COOPER. TENNESSEE GERALD E. CONNOLLY, VIRGINIA MIKE QUIGLEY. ILLINOIS DANNY K. DAVIS. ILLINOIS BRUCE L BRALEY, IOWA PETER WELCH, VERMONT JOHN A. YARMUTH. KENTUCKY CHRISTOPHER 5 MURPHY, CONNECTICUT JACKIE SPEIER CALIFORNIA

DAN BURTON, INDIANA JOHN L MICA. FLORIDA TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, PENNSYLVANIA MICHAEL R TURNER. OHIO PATRICK McHENRY. NORTH CAROLINA JIM JORDAN, OHIO JASON CHAFFETZ UTAH CONNIE h1ACK, FLORIDA TIM IVALBERG, MICHIGAN JAMES LANKFORD OKLAHOMA JUSTIN AMASH. MICHIGAN ANN MARIE BUERKLE, NEW YORK PAUL A GOSAR. D D 5, ARIZONA HAUL R. LABRADOR. IDAHO PATRICK MEEHAN, PENNSYLVANIA SCOTT DssJARLAIS, h1 D., TENNESSEE JOE WALSH. ILLINOIS TREY DOWDY, SOUTH CAROLINA DENNIS A ROSS, FLORIDA FRANK C. GUINTA. NEW HAMPSHIRE BLAKE FARENTHOLD, TEXAS MIKE KELLY, PENNSYLVANIA LAWRENCE J BRADY STAFF DIRECTOR

(Il:ongress' of tlJe Smteb States
Qous'c of Sf pres'nttatib~s'
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING

WASHINGTON, DC 20515 — 6143
I ssuoeiIv 1202I 225-5023 Faesiu is (2 021225-39TS M wohhv l 2 021225-5051 htt pii oiers ght house gou

January 31, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General U.S. Departinent of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder: On October 12, 2011, this Committee issued a subpoena to you for documents regardiilg Operation Fast and Furious. The subpoenaed documents are vital to help Congress fully understand the genesis, implementation, and oversight of Operation Fast and Furious within the Department of Justice. They are also critical in understanding how the Department inishandled its response to Congress and obstructed our investigative responsibilities. Late on Friday, January 27, 2012 — a year into our investigation — the Depaitment produced documents that provide staitling new details about the involveinent of senior Department officials in what appears to be the Fast and Furious cover-up. We now know that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division, promoted the moving of guns to Mexico as a strategy worth pursuing. This dangerous strategy relied on Mexican law enforcement officials to capture the guns and the smugglers who trafficked them. One e-mail reads, "Breuer suggested allowing straw purchasers cross into Mexico so SSP [Secretariat of Public Security] can arrest and PGR [Office of the General Prosecutor] can prosecute and convict. Such coordinated operations between the US and Mexico may send a strong message to arms traffickers."' These new documents show that Breuer made this statement on February 4, 2011, the same day Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Congress denying that the Department allowed guns to walk. The fact that the Departnlent just produced this document on Friday shows the lengths to ivhich you are willing to go to obstruct our investigation and deceive the public. Just inonths ago, the prior administration faced severe cr iticism regarding the ATF Phoenix Field Division's alleged use of similar tactics. Mr. Breuer advocated these same tactics. It is inconceivable that the Department just became aware of this highly damaging document. On October 31, 2011, Mr. Breuer apologized for failing to stop questionable tactics used in Fast and Furious in 2010. Yet, as late as February 2011, he was actively advocating gunwalking. This e-mail casts renewed doubt on the sincerity of Mr. Br'euer's apology and his ability to continue to serve in a leadership role at the Department.

' E-mail from Anthony P. Garcia to Adam Lurie, Bruce Swartz, Kenneth Blanco, Jason Weinstein, et al. (Feb. 4, 2011, 3:49 PM) [HOGR DOJ 005752-54].

The 1 lonorable 1=.ric H. Holder. Jr. January 31, 2012 Page 2
During > our testinion> before thc I-louse Judicial Coininittee on Decei»ber II. 2011. you stated
that the Departiiieiit of Justice «il l iiot produce an> respo»sive docui»ents created alter Februai> 4, 2011 regarding Operatioii I ast and I.urious. Y our testimon> «as the first assertioii of'this positioii to Con i e ss. In no uncertain terms, >ou stated that:

[W]ith regard to the Justice Department as a «liole — and I'm certainl> a inci»ber
o f the Justice Departnient — «e « ill not proa ide memos after February the 4th. . . e-inails, i»enios — consistent « ith the «ay iii «h i ch the Departnient of Justice has al«a> s condiicted itself' iii its interactions. You again iinpressed tliis point upon Coininittee Menibcrs later in the hearing: Well, « i t l i t li e regard to provision of e-mails, I thought I' ve inade it clear that

atter Februar> the 4th it i s not our i ntention to provide e-mail inforntation
consistent « it h t lie « a y i n « h i c l i the Justice Depaitnient has al«a>s co»ducted

i tsel I'.
Your tcstimon> indicates that the Departi»e»t has no intention of tully coiiiplving «:ith the Cominittee's subpoena. Tliis position is entirely unacceptable. For tliree i»ontlis after Senator Grassle>" s initial letters, the Departinent «as in denial that the congressional investigation had any i»crit. No t u»til a May 5, 2011, ineeting « ith Committee staff did tlie Depar.tnient finally admit that "there's a there. there."

1 he actions of the Department folio« ing February 4 are crucial in detertnining> «hether it lias concealed
i»fort»atio» froi» Coii<>r.ess in c l u ding subpoe»aed infol'lll<ltion — and to «hat extent it has obstructed our «'ork. During a transci ibed interview oii December 14, 2011, voui. chief of staff, Gar> Grindler, broadened the Depaiti»ent>s position «'ith respect to sharing doc»»tents created alter I.ebruary 4. 2011.

The Associate Deputy Attorne> General sen ing as Departinent counsel refused to allo«Mr. Grincller to ans«'er an> questions relating to conversations that he had « ith >ou or an> one else in tlie Department regarding I.ast and Furious after I.ebruary 4, 2011:
What I ant saviiig is that the Attorne> General i»ade it clear at his testil»on>' last «eel' that « e ai'e not providing information to the coinmittee subsequeiit to the February 4tli letter.'

Depart»tent counsel expanded the position > ou articulated regarding docui»entary evidence at the Judiciary Cominittee heariiig to include testintonial evidence as «ell.' Given thc initial response b> the
Depai1ment to the congressional inquiry earlier tliis > car. the coi»ments by thc Associate Deputy Attorney General create a barrier preventing Congress 1'roi» obtaining vital iiifonnation about I.ast and Furious. The Del)artinent has also ntaintaincd this position during additional transcribed intcrvie«s. I n all

intervie«« ith Deputy Assistant Attornc> General Jason Weinstein on January 10, 2012. in response to a
question aboiit Mr. Weiiistein's interactions «'ith the Arizona U.S. Attorne>''s Office, Departinent counsel

Oi ersiglii Hea>i»g> vji (he United 5ra(es Del> a> ime>a of Jastice of (lie H. Comm. on (lie li(<li ciai>', 112th CQIlg. (Dec. 8, 2011) (testimon> of Att'v Gen. Fric H. Holder, Jr.) [hereinafter 11older Testimony]. ' I<i Transcribed Intervie«of'Gai> Grindler, Chief of Staff to the Att'y Gen. (Dec. 14. 2011) at 22. ' l<l,

1 he Honorable Eric H, Holder, Jr. January 31. 2012 Page 3
.6 prohibited aii entire line of questioning b> claiming it "iniplicatcs the post-February 4th period."

Departinent cou»sel cited a -coiistitiitional prii ilege" in support of this position, «it hout elaborating fuither. T o d a te, tlie Dcpartinent has not provided an> tt»1hcr detail as to the scope ot'this position. «hich «' as at odds «'ith ivlr. i<'einstein's «'illingness to ans«'cr the Connnittee's questions:

[Ajs I said, I perso»ally «ould be more than happ> to ans«er questions about
post-I-'cbruar> 'Ith, but I ain not authorized to do so. S

In fact, folio«'ing the I'ebruar>' 'I, 2011, letter, Mr. hei»stein. at the behest ot Mr. Breuer< prepared an
aiialytical revie« o t I . ast and I-urious. M r . V<'eiitstein inter> ie«:ed Einoiy I liirle> aiid patrick Cunningham of tlie Arizona V.S. Attor»e> 's oflice iii conducting this revi e « T he d o c u m ent tltat

resiilted from Mr. Wei»stein's anal>sis specificall> discussed issues relevant to tlie case. To date. tlie
Departi»eiit has not protluccd this docuineiit to the Coinmittee, despite the fact that it is responsive to the

subpoena.
At the Decei»ber 8 hearing, >ou also stressed, on multiple occasions, that the Departinent's decision to pi oduce doctiments related to the February I. 2011 letter to Senator Grasslcy «' as unprecedented, and reflected an effort to bc transparent. il S u c h c omincnts, ho«'e~er, coinpletely belie the I'acts aiid are inisleading. F irst and fore»tost, I ca»iiot uiideremphasizc that the Departinent's February 'I, 2011, letter to Coiigress contained talse information. Yo u decided to release inaterials related to the letter only atter Coininittee staff inforntcd Departinent Ia«>'ers that the Coi»mittee vvas considering a criminal referral. It is disingenuous to claiin that this «as a xoluntar> eftort to be transparent. V n f o rtunatel>', the

Departi»ent's dela>s in docunient production reflect a recurring pattern throughout this investigation. To
put it bliiiitl>. tlte Departinent has been irresponsible in failing to take congressional oversight of Fast and

Furious seriously.
The Cot»t»ittce issued its first subpoena tor documents on March 31, 2011. In response, the Departs»ent produced zero pages of non-public doc»i»cuts until June 10. 2011, ovei. t«<o months later, and on tile ci c of the Committee's first hearing into Fast and Fui ious. 'I hat hearing featured constitutional

scholars «ho e<plained thc Dcparti»ent's clear obligations to coinpl> «:itli the subpoena and highlighted
congressional nieclianisins to contpel pioduction. Faced «ith tlie possibilit> of conteinpt proceedings, the Depai tment began to pr.oduce docuincnts. Over tlte next tive inonths. Senator Grassley and I repeatedl> asked for infori»ation surrounding the creation of tlie Depar.ti»ent's February 4. 2011 letter. The Dcpai tinent llatl> refused these requests. It «' as iiot until in> Noa eniber 9, 0 1 1 letter to Assista»t Attonie> General Ronald Weich — «hich raised the possibility of criniinal cliarges for the false statetncnts tnade in the Februar> 'I letter — that the Depaitment finally sa«' fit to give Congress the»taterials «'e had been requesting for inonths. Contrary to state»tents you inade during tlie Deceinber 8 heariiig, >ou did not release these materials voluntarily. I n stead. the

Depaitment prox idcd the»> because it had no alternative. As I stated in»» No>ember 9, 2011 letter to Assistant Attorne> General reich, understanding

tlie Dcpartinent's actions after Congress began its investigation is crucial. Even after the Departi»ent
Transcribed I»tervie«' of Jason Wei»stei», Deputy Assistant Att'y Ge». (Ja». 10, 2012) at 177. I(I. at 178. I(I. at 227, Transcribed I»tervie«' of Dennis K. Burke at 158-60 (Dec. 13, 2011). '" I(l. at 158-59.
" Holdei Testil»oily, sl(p(((»ote 2.

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. January 31, 2012 Page 4
began to recognize the full effect of the problems resulting from Fast and Furious, it still failed to come forward and share with Congress what it had learned. Since the Department initially misrepresented the facts and misled Congress, it is necessary to investigate the Department's response to our investigation. Your actions lead us to conclude that the Department is actively engaged in a cover-up. It is essential for the Department's Office of Legislative Affairs to facilitate the production of documents we have requested so we can complete our investigation. The Department's persistent delay tactics make this task increasingly and unreasonably difficult. In short, the Committee requires full compliance with all aspects of the subpoena, including complete production of documents created after the Department's February 4, 2011 letter. As such, provide all documents pursuant to the October 12, 2011 subpoena as soon as possible, but by no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 9, 2012. Should you choose to continue to withhold documents pursuant to the subpoena, you must create a detailed privilege log explaining why the Department is refusing to produce each document. If the Department continues to obstruct the congressional inquiry by not providing documents and information, this Committee will have no alternative but to move forward with proceedings to hold you in contempt of Congress.

Sincerely

Ne ss Chairman

CC:

The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Minority Member Committee on Oversight and Government Reform The Honorable Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary

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