The chairman of the House Oversight Committee will use the power of the subpoena to learn if a federal gun-tracking program contributed to the killing of a Border Patrol agent.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is planning to issue a number of subpoenas to federal officials with ties to the controversial program, which was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).The move by Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, comes on the tail end of a series of interviews with government officials and witnesses that the panel’s investigators conducted last month. Sources said the interviews produced a plethora of new evidence and information regarding who gave the ultimate go-ahead for ATF’s “Fast and Furious” operation.
“Fast and Furious” was part of the five-year-old Gunrunner program. It authorized local U.S. gun stores to sell thousands of semiautomatic rifles to suspected and known straw-purchasers for Mexican drug cartels.
By allowing people to illegally purchase large quantities of the weapons from gun dealers, officials hoped to trace the firearms to the upper ranks of the drug cartels and prosecute them. But ATF whistleblowers allege that officials lost track of the guns.
Two of the guns from the operation were found at the scene of an Arizona gun battle in December between U.S. law enforcement and members of a drug gang. The firefight killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, but officials have not revealed whether the bullet that struck him came from the guns the ATF was supposed to be tracking.
In addition, guns from the Fast and Furious operation might have been used in an attack on a Mexican government helicopter that was grounded after being fired upon by suspected members of a drug cartel two weeks ago, according to a Monday news report by CBS.
The subpoenas, which Issa said will be issued to key Washington-based government officials with ties to the operation, are slated to serve as a launching pad for a new series of hearings on the matter.
Read more here: Subpoenas are coming in probe of Dept. of Justice gun-tracking program - TheHill.com