Boehner: White House ‘Not Willing To Show the American People the Truth’ About Fast and Furious

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 27, 2012 | 1:56 PM EDT

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the White House was unwilling to “show the American people the truth” about the botched gun-walking program Operation Fast and Furious, which was halted after U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry was killed, in December 2010, and two guns from the operation were found at the crime scene.

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Following a Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Boehner was asked about a Contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder by the full House, which is scheduled for Thursday.

A reporter asked Boehner,  “Tomorrow when the House takes up the contempt vote against Eric Holder, it will only be one week since the committee voted to hold him in contempt.  It’s also happening on the same day as the health care ruling is coming down, which will obviously take up a lot of the airtime.  What is the rush, first of all?  And are Republicans trying to bury this, so that, for some reason to just get past it?”

Boehner said, “This vote was scheduled last week. We’d really rather not be there, we’d really rather have the attorney general and the president work with us to get to the bottom of a very serious issue.”

“The United States government ran a gun-running operation that has resulted in hundreds of deaths,” the Republican leader added.  “Brian Terry’s family has the right to know what happened.  The American people have a right to know what happened, and we’re going to proceed.”

“We’ve given them ample opportunity to comply, even as late as yesterday,” he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“The White House sat down with some of our staff to outline what they would be willing to do and, unfortunately, they’re not willing to show the American people the truth about what happened,” said Boehner.

“It’s an unfortunate place where we are,” he said.  “But our members raise their right hand and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States -- we’re going to do our job.”

After more than a year of investigation, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 23 to 17 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress on June 20.  Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) contends that the attorney general is withholding key documents regarding the gun-walking operation.

President Barack Obama claimed Executive Privilege over the documents hours before the initial contempt vote last week.

The entire House of Representatives will take up the contempt charge on Thursday.

Operation Fast and Furious, a Justice Department program under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), began in September 2009 and allowed nearly 2,000 guns to flow into Mexico with the apparent intent of tracking the guns to drug cartel leaders.  The operation was halted when two of the guns in the operation were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010.