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Labrador Calls for Resignation of Attorney General Holder Over "Fast and Furious" Testimony Discrepancies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Idaho First Congressional District Congressman Raúl R. Labrador called for the resignation of United States Attorney General Eric Holder after evidence of discrepancies in his previous testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary was brought to light by a national media outlet.

Mr. Labrador has been critical of potential abuses of the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BAFTE) since his March 17, 2011 letter to Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa urging his committee to conduct in-depth investigations into allegations of weapons being sold, with federal government complicity, to Mexican cartels.  Over 1,500 such weapons remain unaccounted for and already one was found at the scene of the death of an American law enforcement officer.

Labrador stated, “I first learned about Fast and Furious early this year from several of my constituents.  I then asked Chairman Issa to hold hearings on the topic.  As I attended the hearings and reviewed the evidence, I was careful to not jump to any conclusions about the extent of Mr. Holder’s involvement.  However, the recently published documents that directly link Mr. Holder to Fast and Furious have convinced me that he is either lying or grossly incompetent.”

Rep. Labrador continued, “The Attorney General of the United States has an obligation to provide truthful and accurate testimony to Congress. When Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress on May 3, his statements were either untrue or deliberately misleading.  It is clear from recently-released documents that Mr. Holder did in fact know about Fast and Furious well before he publicly admitted.  Attorney General Holder has a troubling pattern of failed cooperation with the legislative branch. Because of this intentional stonewalling and his misleading testimony, I now call for Mr. Holder’s resignation.  It is clear he has not been honest about the extent of his involvement with the failed Fast and Furious program and should not be entrusted with managing the Department of Justice.“

“He cannot avoid responsibility for his involvement with a government program that directly led to the tragic death of a decorated U.S. Border Patrol agent.  As our nation’s top enforcer of the principles of law and justice, Mr. Holder has lost all credibility and should step down immediately. The question now is if Mr. Holder is he only protecting himself or is he also protecting others - perhaps all the way to the top of the administration,” Labrador concluded.

Documents linking Eric Holder to Fast and Furious can be seen at CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-201

Key Facts about Fast and Furious from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Joint Staff Report (full report available online) http://oversight.house.gov/images/stories/Reports/ATF_Report.pdf:


•    ATF agents are trained to “follow the gun” and interdict weapons whenever possible.


•    Operation Fast and Furious required agents to abandon this training.


•    ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.


•     Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.


•    Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.” Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.


•    Jaime Avila was entered as a suspect in the investigation by ATF on November 25, 2009, after purchasing weapons alongside Uriel Patino, who had been identified as a suspect in October 2009. Over the next month and a half, Avila purchased 13 more weapons, each recorded by the ATF in its database within days of the purchase. Then on January 16, 2010, Avila purchased three AK-47 style rifles, two of which ended up being found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The death of Border Agent Brian Terry was likely a preventable tragedy.


•    Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell’s statement that the indictments represent the take-down of a firearms trafficking ring from top to bottom, and his statement that ATF never allowed guns to walk are incredible, false, and a source of much frustration to the agents. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, DOJ continues to deny that Operation Fast and Furious was ill-conceived and had deadly consequences