Fast & Furious mystery: Holder’s absent e-mails

United States Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference to announce the arrests of 110 Mafia suspects in the Northeast, in Brooklyn, New York, 20 Jan 2011. Photo: Reuters
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United States Attorney General Eric Holder; Photo: Reuters Courtesy of VOA News


That stunning admission came from the embattled attorney general under questioning from Arizona Congressman Trent Franks during Thursday’s sometimes volatile hearing by the House Judiciary Committee that focused on Operation Fast and Furious. Franks was following up on a line of questioning that began with California Rep. Darrell Issa.


It was an embarrassing revelation that could spell big trouble for Holder, who is under intense scrutiny over his handling of Fast and Furious, or what might be better described as his hands-off approach to the gun trafficking operation that has become a scandal.

Holder continued to insist that he was not aware of the particulars of the operation, and he further maintained that nobody within the Justice Department has lied to Congress. Instead, they’ve merely been “inaccurate.”

Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was clearly miffed during the hearing. He asked Holder if he was aware that by withholding documents that had been requested as part of his committee’s investigation that Holder was possibly in contempt of Congress.

Things began unraveling for Holder when Issa referred to some 5,000 documents that were mostly e-mails. But Issa raised a curious point: Not one of the e-mails was from Holder. He posed this question:

Don’t you think it’s a little conspicuous…that there’s not one e- mail to or from you related to Fast and Furious in any way, shape or form?

A bit later in the hearing, Franks came back to that issue and it was then that Holder admitted that materials dated later than Feb. 5 of this year…

“…have not been produced and it is not our intention to produce them…”

Throughout the investigation, reams of documents have surfaced, some provided by the Justice Department and others produced by whistleblowers and confidential informants. There have been countless e-mails released as attachments to letters written by Issa and/or Senator Charles Grassley, who is also investigating Fast and Furious. Several of those e-mails show redacted recipient addresses, suggesting that someone who did the redacting decided that those concealed identities did not need to become public.

This raises a serious question: Why not?

Thursday’s Judiciary hearing opens a new avenue for the investigation that may zero on the “conspicuous absence” of any Holder e-mails in documents provided to Issa’s investigators.





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