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June 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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House eyes contempt charges against Holder over 'Fast and Furious'

Editorial off base

I take issue with The Times’ Wednesday editorial, “Holder invites fury.” Quite simply, the editorial board doesn’t know what it’s talking about. The editorial is totally irresponsible, ignorant and makes a mockery of your otherwise fine paper.

You don’t understand the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ Fast and Furious program. ATF never did intentionally let firearms cross the border; it simply tried to seize weapons that it had a solid legal case to seize. Weak Arizona laws, weak federal laws and no-guts prosecutors essentially told the agency it could not seize weapons. So it let them go.

The reason Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama are citing executive privilege in order to stop further release of documents (after thousands of pages had already been released) is to protect ongoing criminal investigations on weapons trafficking. It’s Holder and Obama who are sane and right here, not Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Ethics Committee. Issa just wants an NRA-sponsored witch hunt.

— Dan Herman, Ellensburg

Congress has the information

The Times argues that Congress has a right to know what happened in the botched Fast and Furious program, and that Attorney General Eric Holder should hand over all the documents it asks for.

Congress does know what happened in Fast and Furious. It knows how it was authorized, how it was conducted and what went wrong. The documents it wants from Holder date from February 2011, after the program was shut down. They relate to the internal communications in the Justice Department about how to respond to the congressional investigation.

Issa and the Republicans are hoping to catch Holder in some kind of unspecified lie. It’s a waste of time, money and political energy. It represents all that is wrong with current politics.

— Bonny Becker, Seattle

Recalling the Iraq version

I suppose that there should be an investigation of Fast and Furious, considering that as many as 170 of the guns (we have to take the word of the Mexican government on that one), have shown up in the hands of criminal elements in Mexico and that two of the guns (planted by whom and why?) were found at the scene of the killing of Brian Terry, U.S. border agent.

But, my question is: Where was Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., when it became known that some 100,000 AK-47s and 80,000 pistols (New York Times, August 7, 2007) went “missing” in Iraq when George W. Bush was president? Where was the “fury” then? Where was the Republican outrage? Why wasn’t Issa (a man with an extensive arrest record) storming around the halls of Congress looking for someone to hold in contempt for that bit of negligence?

God only knows how many Americans have been killed by terrorists using some of the weapons that went “missing” in Iraq during the Bush presidency. For all we know some of those guns might have ended up in the hands of the Mexican drug lords.

— Gary Nelson, Bellingham

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