Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, says that the Department of Justice has "blood on their hands" following the controversial "Fast and Furious" gunrunning operation. Some of that blood is from Mexican victims, which Issa says is grounds for Attorney General Eric Holder to apologize to families south of the border.
"Yes, he should find a way to make it very clear to our neighbors to the south -- at least to the government and at least publicly -- that there needs to be deep regret for what happened and there needs to be assurances that it can never happen again," Issa told the Daily Caller in an interview. "We can't bring these people back to life, but at least the kind of condolence that eventually came to Mrs. Terry is a minimum that people south of the border are demanding -- and they have a right to."
(Video of the interview above, via the Daily Caller)
"Fast and Furious", which was in operation from 2009 to 2011, was intended to track the illegal arms trade from the United States to Mexican drug cartels. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used a "gunwalking" sting tactic -- allowing lower-level smugglers to bring weapons across the border into Mexico in the hopes of following them to more significant targets among the cartels. In many cases, however, they ended up losing track of a large number of firearms. Brian Terry, a Border Patrol agent, was killed in 2010 by one of the guns lost in the controversial operation.
House Republicans have been highly critical of Holder throughout an investigation of "Fast and Furious," which was launched in the wake of reports that hundreds of guns tracked as part of the program had gone missing and had later been used in a number of murders. Some have maintained that there is an intricate coverup continuing to take place in the Justice Department, and that Holder should be impeached or resign if the matter isn't straightened out sufficiently.
Holder and others in the FBI have denied that any evidence has been hidden from investigators.
Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona, was subpoenaed last week in the probe, but later pleaded the Fifth to avoid providing testimony. Issa has since demanded that Holder provide a new witness in the case.
On Wednesday, "Fast and Furious" brought its first successful convictions, as Jacob Wayne Chambers and Jacob Anthony Montelongo each pleaded guilty in federal court to buying guns that were destined to be smuggled into Mexico.