Three days before he is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder came under intensified criticism by Rep. Darrell Issa as the California congressman announced he is launching an investigation of the Drug Enforcement Administration for alleged money laundering.
According to an Issa press release:
The New York Times reported that the DEA employed similar tactics with money laundering as were seen in ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, where guns were allowed into the hands of low level straw purchasers in hopes that they would lead to drug kingpins.
Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has not scheduled another hearing on Operation Fast and Furious — for which Holder is under fire, and will be in the hot seat come Thursday — but Issa and two of his committee colleagues serve on the Judiciary panel.
According to the New York Times article, which appeared Sunday:
Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials…
The laundering operations that the United States conducts elsewhere — about 50 so-called Attorney General Exempt Operations are under way around the world — had been forbidden in Mexico after American customs agents conducted a cross-border sting without notifying Mexican authorities in 1998, which was how most American undercover work was conducted there up to that point.
In a Monday letter to Holder, Issa stated that “The existence of such a program calls your leadership into question. The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes.”
Because of this new bombshell disclosure, Holder now has two potential scandals for which he will almost certainly be questioned Thursday, not only by Issa, but by Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), both of whom have been detailed in their interrogations earlier this year of witnesses appearing before the Oversight Committee.
My colleague, Dan, the National Gun Rights Examiner, writes about this new development here.
Tuesday could bring more developments in this unfolding story.
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