USA –-(Ammoland.com)- “During your testimony before the Committee last week, you pledged to work with Congress to find a way to make the wiretap applications from the Fast and Furious investigation available for congressional review,” Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Patrick Meehan, and Ranking Member Charles Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday.
“The contents of the wiretap applications are central in determining the level of involvement of senior Department officials during the pendency of Operation Fast and Furious,” their letter continues.
Citing requirements to determine “legal sufficiency to make an application,” they advise Holder “The federal wiretap statute describes what this legal sufficiency entails, requiring that the application include “a full and complete statement of facts and circumstances justifying the application.”
They also remind Holder his testimony “that wiretap applications ‘don’t always go into all of the techniques that are used in a particular investigation’” falls far short of that standard.
“[A] wiretap application must include precisely this type of information in order to meet the legal sufficiency standard required by the Criminal Division in its review,” they maintain. “Therefore, law enforcement officials would have to include these procedures, and possibly others, in the wiretap applications to meet the statutory requirement and obtain the Criminal Division’s approval.”
Also included in the letter are concerns about “violations of ATF and Department of Justice Policy,” particularly:
If the Fast and Furious wiretap applications mention ATF breaking off surveillance or allowing illegally purchased guns to be transferred in an uncontrolled manner, then the Criminal Division approved the applications in direct conflict with ATF policy. If the Fast and Furious wiretap applications mention guns crossing the border with ATF’s foreknowledge, then the Criminal Division approved the applications in direct conflict with Department of Justice policy.
“We seek to determine whether wiretap applications were approved in contravention of either ATF or Department policy,” they advise Holder, providing a list of 12 specific questions for which they claim “it is highly likely that information contained in the wiretap applications will provide answers to.”
Recognizing that “requests for wiretap applications are intrusions into the privacy of individuals,” and being “mindful of the sensitive nature of the information associated with the individuals mentioned in the applications,” Issa, Meehan and Grassley nonetheless maintain “the grave public concern over Fast and Furious weighs in favor of providing this information in furtherance of our oversight interests under the Constitution,” and request “in the event that the wiretap applications are sealed…that the Department of Justice seek leave of court to unseal them for the purpose of facilitating congressional review.”
To facilitate that, the signatories offered to provide a subpoena if required. Holder has been given a deadline of “no later than noon on February 15, 2012” to produce the applications.
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 www.DavidCodrea.com.