Skip to content

Official in botched ‘Fast and Furious’ gun program refuses to testify

WASHINGTON — A US Justice Department employee considered a key figure in a botched US program to track guns into Mexico has refused to testify to Congress, claiming a constitutional right.

Patrick Cunningham, head of the criminal division of the Arizona state Attorney General’s office, said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, according to a letter to Congress from his lawyer, revealed Friday.

“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,” lawyer Tobin Romero wrote to Republican congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

On Wednesday, Issa subpoenaed Cunningham to testify no later than next Tuesday after several failed attempts to question him.

According to Republican lawmakers, Cunningham played a key role in approving the tactics of the ‘Fast and Furious’ program, which allowed people linked to drug gangs to buy automatic weapons in the United States in order to track their trafficking routes.

Cunningham’s lawyer said they had “blamed him unfairly” and underlined that his client took his post in Arizona in 2010, when the operation already was under way.

Issa said in a statement it was the first time a government official had refused to testify in the probe.

“The assertion of the Fifth Amendment by a senior justice official is a significant indictment of the (Justice) Department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious,” he wrote.

He said it “raises questions” about whether President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the operation, a charge they have denied.

The sting, which ran between November 2009 and the end of 2010, observed some 2,000 weapons pass into Mexico, losing trace of many of them.

It has caused an uproar in Mexico, where rising drug-related violence has left some 50,000 dead in the past five years.

Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Investigations & Inquiries, Legal Matters.

Tagged with Congress, Fifth Amendment, guns, Mexico, Republican.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Any support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks is all it takes to help keep the servers running and #altnews alive!

Please remember I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has been taken offline by their original hosters which would be unavailable for viewing if it wasn't for this site. Therefore I would kindly ask you to help support me so that the site can continue doing what I think is an important job as well as reporting on stories the mainstream media would rather you didn't know about. I personally think it is important to host material such as removed reports that show that even FOX News once repoted on Israeli spy rings following the 9.11 hijackers before September 11th Or publishing the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was removed from their site once they enacted some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power.

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation, especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful!

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.