Issa tries to bolster case for placing Holder in contempt

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday tried to bolster the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt by stating that he retracted comments he made to Congress about his predecessor’s knowledge of gun-walking tactics during the Bush administration. 

But Holder did not exactly retract those comments.

Rather, in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder clarified remarks he made before the panel in June. Holder said he incorrectly referred to one gun-tracking program instead of another, both of which occurred under former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

“An attorney general who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them, nothing,” Holder said before the Judiciary panel. “Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.”

Holder has since written the Judiciary Committee to clarify his remarks, stating that he meant to refer to an operation called Hernandez, and not Wide Receiver. Both operations are similar to Operation Fast and Furious, which Issa has been investigating for the past 16 months. 

Hernandez was an operation operated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in 2006 and 2007 that let guns “walk” across the border into Mexico under Bush’s administration. Wide Receiver was a 2006 operation that also let firearms “walk” in an attempt to dismantle gun-trafficking routes.

At a markup of the contempt measure against Holder on Wednesday, Issa referenced Holder’s comments and, in an attempt to gain support for his resolution, stated that the attorney general had retracted his comments.

Democrats have long attempted to bring Mukasey before the committee to testify about how much he knew about “gun walking” during the previous administration, but Republicans have refused.