Issa rips Obama's silence on ATF gun-tracking matter

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) denounced President Obama for refusing to comment on a controversial gun-tracking program that is under investigation.

Issa, who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Obama did not express the necessary “urgency” that is called for in investigating who approved of the “Fast and Furious” operation, which may have contributed to the death of at least one federal agent.   


At a press conference Wednesday, Obama reiterated that Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEx-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results Tyson Foods suspends Iowa plant officials amid coronavirus scandal Money can't buy the Senate MORE did not order the gun-tracking program, which was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and allowed known and suspected straw purchasers to buy thousands of weapons in hopes of tracking them to members of Mexican drug cartels.

Holder called for the Inspector General to investigate the matter to determine who approved of the operation. Obama said he would comment further on the issue once the investigation is completed.

“My attorney general has made clear that he certainly would not have ordered gun running to be able to pass through into Mexico,” Obama said.

“The investigation is still pending. I'm not going to comment on a current investigation. I've made very clear my views that would not be an appropriate step by the ATF, and we've got to find out how that happened.

“As soon as the investigation is completed, I think appropriate actions will be taken,” Obama said.

But Issa, who held a charged hearing on the issue earlier this month, has indicated that responsibility for the operation rests with some of the highest officials at the Justice Department and the ATF.

At the hearing, members of slain ATF Agent Brian Terry’s family testified. Two of the guns found at the Arizona crime scene where Terry was killed last year were sold through the Fast and Furious operation. It remains unclear whether the guns were used to kill Terry. 

“President Obama's remarks today on Operation Fast and Furious were disappointing,” Issa said in a statement.

“There was no sign of urgency to provide answers or explain why no one at the Justice Department has accepted responsibility for authorizing an illegal gunwalking operation six months after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's murder. 

“The American people expect more from the President than unsubstantiated assertions that the Attorney General didn't know about this reckless program and no explanation about who authorized it,” Issa said.