Rep. Cummings Attacks Rep. Issa: Calls His Allegations About FBI and Fast and Furious “Reckless” and “Baseless”

Rep. Elijah Cummings/govt. photo
By Allan Lengel

The political tension inside the Beltway over the Operation Fast and Furious appeared to escalate on Monday, one day after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) went on CBS’ Face the Nation and criticized Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and the FBI.

On Sunday, Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, tried to imply that the FBI might be hiding the fact that a third gun linked to Operation Fast and Furious may have been recovered at the murder scene last December of Border Agent Brian Terry, who was killed near the Arizona border. The flawed operation encouraged guns dealers to sell to middlemen or “straw purchasers”, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels.

Rep. Issa/gov photo

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)  issued a press release late Monday attacking Issa, saying there was no third gun, and then chastised him for trying to besmirch the reputation of the FBI.

The release stated:

“Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a statement expressing serious concerns with statements made by Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa in a Sunday interview on CBS’s Face the Nation.

“During that interview, Issa irresponsibly fueled baseless speculation that the FBI tampered with evidence to conceal a third gun that he alleges was recovered at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. Issa did not disclose that the FBI had already dispelled these claims repeatedly both in public and in closed briefings with Committee staff.

Cummings stated: “It is unbelievably reckless for Chairman Issa to go on national television and repeat these baseless accusations, which attack the integrity and credibility of entire law enforcement agencies and undermine the prosecution of those responsible for Agent Terry’s death. In a closed briefing with Committee staff earlier this month, the FBI dispelled any allegation that they recovered a third gun at the scene, and the Committee has no evidence to the contrary.”

Cummings release noted that Face the Nation Host Bob Schieffer noted that “two guns connected to this operation were found at the scene of the crime,” and explained that the “FBI has said the evidence was inconclusive as to whether those guns were the ones responsible for this murder.”

Cummings noted that Schieffer then asked Issa about his claim that the FBI is withholding evidence about a third gun found at the scene:

“Are you suggesting that maybe that might be the gun, that evidence shows was the murder weapon, and for some reason the FBI has not disclosed that?”

Issa responded: “Well, we certainly want to know in some cases, as you know, there are investigations where there’s materials that people feel are very sensitive.

Issa added that “the FBI has a history in some cases of working with felons and criminals and hiding their other crimes.”

Cummings release concluded: “Issa’s statements on Sunday continue an unfortunate pattern of reckless actions, including leaking a document that had been ordered sealed by a U.S. Federal District Court, interviewing a potential trial witness in the ongoing prosecution, and publicly discussing the use of confidential informants in ongoing investigations.”


Leave a Reply