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Rep. Issa on inspector general's Fast and Furious report

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 19, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BAIER: Let's talk more now about the inspector general's report on Operation Fast and Furious out today. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, Darrell Issa, has led the way into the Congressional probe of this program. He joins us live tonight from Capitol Hill. Congressman, thanks for being here. Your first assessment of this report today.

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R-CA) HOUSE OVERSIGHT/GOVT REFORM CHMN: It's a good report. There were a few things they weren't able to get to, and they're still looking for them, including White House officials who were briefed but not made available to the I.G. But overall, what they did was they outlined what went wrong at ATF, what went wrong in Phoenix, and then went up the chain to show what went wrong all the way to the very top of Justice.

BAIER: You mentioned the top. You have Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general who resigned today, but that's where it stops. It does not go beyond that. This does directly tie to the death of Brian Terry, the patrol agent. Would you want it to go further?

ISSA: Well, certainly, the cover-up goes further. I was with the Terry family in a rural area called Bisbee, Arizona, for the naming of the Brian A. Terry border patrol station yesterday. They want the answers and they want everyone held accountable for the initial failure, but they also want answers on the cover-up where for ten months the American people were told that they don't let guns walk.

Those false statements came from Justice all the way to the very top, including Lanny Breuer, and ultimately, Eric Holder.

BAIER: Eric Holder, the attorney general released a statement, as you know, today. In part it said this, "It is unfortunate that some were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts about these operations -- accusations that turned out to be without foundation, that have caused a great deal of unnecessary harm and confusion."

"I hope today's report acts as a reminder of the dangers of adopting as fact unsubstantiated conclusions before an investigation of the circumstances is completed." Your reaction to that sir?

ISSA: My reaction is, one of the critical people in his office required to brief him, handpicked by him, resigned today, and it's still only the tip of the iceberg. The fact is that just because you're not convicted doesn't mean you're vindicated.

Attorney General Holder didn't ask the questions, didn't read the memos, and up and down the chain, the people that worked for him, the political appointees responsible to him failed to do their job, including denying reading wiretaps that they were responsible for signing. There's no question there needs to be real reform at Justice.

That's something that, I think, in the wake of Brian Terry's murder, we owe it to the family to fix it, to fix the system, and in fact, to hold people responsible. Eric Holder didn't do his job, didn't care enough to even call the family, and today -- today, finally, one of the people that should have been gone a year-and-a-half ago resigned, but only after the I.G. pointed specifically to him.

But he also pointed to others and pointed to areas in which there's still more work to be done, including the unsealing of 14 wiretaps. Things that the attorney general has fought us on. The documents from post February 4th was the reason that the attorney general was held in contempt.  And the I.G. said these needed to be made public.

BAIER: So, now that the I.G. report is finished, do you expect Justice to come forward with those 74,000 documents you've requested? There's still the issue of executive privilege.

ISSA: What's amazing is, there are many documents referred to or used in this report in which they chose to have no executive privilege, and the I.G. was allowed to use them while we were denied them. That's sort of a double standard is just wrong. We're happy that the I.G. had pretty good access.

The I.G., in his report, has gone through a number of areas in which he has to do more work, needs more information. An example is, over at Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Napolitano refused to make available one of the full-time employees of Fast and Furious that happens to fall within her jurisdiction.

As a result, the I.G. was not able interview this individual who was aware and did know about the wiretaps.

BAIER: Congressman, this report seems to indicate that the I.G. didn't find any motive behind the official action of trying to change gun laws. Do you see that?

ISSA: We've never made a statement in any way, shape or form. I know that's been said a lot as a possible motive. We don't know, and perhaps, we'll never know why such a reckless and foolish tactic, not only was done but was continued and then covered up. At the end of the day, though, it was continued, it was covered up, it was knowingly done and people have lied to the American people about it. That's really the reason that this won't end until those people are held responsible. Plus, Bret, I have to mention, having been with the Terry family yesterday, there were still a number of people who were in the chain of actual transport of these guns that killed Brian Terry that have not yet been charged.

So, there are still people who have not been held accountable on the straight criminal side.

BAIER: Congressman Issa, thank you very much for your time tonight.

ISSA: Thank you.

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