Sunday, January 22, 2012

Federal Prosecutor Takes the Fifth in Fast and Furious

Essentially an admission that he thinks he might have stopped over the line
The chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona has cited his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing on Friday to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in its ongoing investigation into the failed “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and committee chairman, said the prosecutor, Patrick J. Cunningham, had been subpoenaed by the committee to testify on Tuesday but his attorney notified the panel that Mr. Cunningham intended to exercise his right not to incriminate himself at his scheduled deposition.

“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,” Mr. Issa said. “The former head of the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] 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,” he said.
Issa should offer him immunity in return for his testimony.  Getting to the top of the chain of command in this fiasco publicly, and determining the motives of the top players is more important than collecting the scalps.

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