All indications are that Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley are planning to escalate their investigation of the Obama administration's responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious in September and that they have laid a trap for the administration.
According to one of the bloggers who first exposed Operation Fast and Furious, David Codrea, Issa and Grassley have been waiting "to get the Department of Justice Inspector General report on the record and then, if it is a whitewash, to blow it out of the water with additional documents and witnesses already in the hands of the Issa committee."
The report was finished August 21 and is expected to be made public on Sept. 10. Issa has already requested that the DOJ's Inspector General appear to testify before the House Oversight Committee on September 11.
Issa wrote to the DOJ IG Michael Horowitz: "Under normal circumstances, the Department has two weeks to complete this review, which would make its response due by September 4, 2012. It would be regrettable if senior Department officials applied political pressure on you to delay publication of this report. Given the considerable public interest in this case and the Attorney General's own purported interest in learning the recommendations set forth in your report in order to make important management changes, it is incumbent upon you to release this report as soon as practicable."
According to CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, the report is indeed a whitewash. She writes that the Inspector General (IG) draft report on Fast and Furious heaps blame on the Phoenix-based staff of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) according to those familiar with the document.
"Those familiar with the contents say ATF Phoenix officials shoulder much blame, including then-Special Agent in Charge Bill Newell, the lead Fast and Furious case agent Hope MacAllister, and group supervisor David Voth."
She also points out that "Since the controversy was first exposed, a divide has developed between the ATF staff in Phoenix who oversaw and implemented Fast and Furious; and their supervisors at ATF headquarters and the Justice Department. The Phoenix officials say higher-ups approved of the case. But the higher-ups say it was all the brainchild of rogue ATF officials in Phoenix."
This divide has sparked speculation that a whitewash of the top echelons of the Obama administration combined with criminal referrals against some individuals could encourage some individuals to provide information about higher ups.
In this connection, Rep. Issa himself stated that William McMahon, the former Assistant Director of the ATF, now working for JP Morgan in the Philippines while still collecting a full salary at ATF will "probably be referred for criminal prosecution" having "perjured himself before the Congress."
The fact that McMahon is now working for JP Morgan in the Philippines may be part of the coverup. Earlier, former National Security Council official Kevin O'Reilly was sent to Iraq to prevent his testimony.
The House Oversight Committee has prepared a three-part report on Operation Fast and Furious. Part 1 has already been released and focuses primarily on the Phoenix and ATF aspects of the operation. Part 2 has already been prepared and will focus on the responsibility of high-level officials in the Obama administration especially the Department of Justice. This report will undoubtedly be released in September to counter the IG's whitewash.
Part 3 will deal with the coverup by the administration and will not be released until the House receives the documents withheld by Obama's assertion of executive privilege.
As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has pointed out, Obama's assertion of executive privilege means one of two things: "Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the Attorney General to the committee, or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation."
On August 8, the Committee on Oversight and the U.S. House of Representatives filed suit against Eric Holder in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia who was held in contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a lawful subpoena.
Senator Grassley told the Daily Caller, if he the federal judge doesn't overturn Obama's executive privilege assertion, "it's going to be the most sweeping abuse of executive privilege in the history of executive privilege."
It is also expected that Holder will be called back to Capitol Hill for more hearings.