USA –-(Ammoland.com)- “[A]s a professional courtesy, and to avoid needless preparation by the Committee and its staff for a deposition next week, I am writing to advise you that my client is going to assert his constitutional privilege not to be compelled to be a witness against himself,” attorney Tobin Romero, representing Patrick J. Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, advised House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa in a January 19 letter obtained by William LaJeunesse of Fox News.
“Romero claims Cunningham did nothing wrong and acted in good faith, but the Department of Justice in Washington is making him the fall guy, claiming he failed to accurately provide the Oversight Committee with information on the execution of Fast and Furious.”
Cunningham had earlier backed off from his agreement to cooperate with the Committee, provoking a subpoena issued by Issa’s committee as reported yesterday by Gun Rights Examiner. The day before, this correspondent posted information from a confidential source that he would be resigning “effective January 27.”
This could be huge: The monolithic front presented by the administration is crumbling. Career law enforcement personnel are in fear of being charged as criminals and are looking to protect themselves. That could mean ultimately implicating higher-ups, as opposed to falling on their swords and taking one for the team.
“FOX breaks the story I knew was coming yesterday,” Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars told his readers in an early post this morning. “Readers may well wonder why we didn’t cover the subpoena of reluctant witness Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, whose resignation on 27 January was broken by David Codrea on Wednesday.”
“It is simple in that I knew more was coming on the story of Cunningham and didn’t want to go until I had something to write about.” he continued.
In fact, Vanderboegh and this correspondent were on the phone last night anticipating receipt of the letter and planning a joint report for this morning, but Fox got it first. It’s actually reassuring to know at least a few committed investigative reporters like LaJeunesse are out there filling the vital role of journalist, as opposed to what the majority of lickspittle media has acted like throughout the Gunwalker cover-up. Regardless, Vanderboegh offers further insights and concerns found nowhere in the “mainstream press,” meriting our vigilant attention:
The Issa Committee investigators may indeed simply be playing a deep game here with the final goal of taking on all of the powerful players in the Gunwalker Conspiracy. Or, it could be that the fix is in for the “modified, limited hangout.” Time, and the actions of the committee, will tell.
UPDATE FROM THE COMMITTEE:
DOJ Official Asserts Fifth Amendment Right in Refusing to Testify in Probe of Operation Fast and Furious
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Patrick Cunningham, the chief of the criminal division in the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s office, has informed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he intends to exercise his fifth amendment right not to incriminate himself next Tuesday at his deposition. Cunningham’s response, made through his lawyer, to a subpoena issued by the committee is extremely rare. More alarming is how broad Cunningham intends to rely on the Fifth Amendment. His lawyer has informed the committee that the only information Cunningham would provide is his name and title at the Department of Justice.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued the following statement:
“The assertion of the fifth amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees. This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department’s motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.
“Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers. Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts? The committee will continue to demand answers.”
The only legally valid reason for asserting the fifth amendment is fear that testimony could aid one’s own criminal prosecution. In his response to the Committee, Cunningham’s lawyer rejected assertions made by other senior Justice Department officials in Washington that his client held key responsibility for reckless tactics in Operation Fast and Furious and false information provided to Congress.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at DavidCodrea.com.