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Attorney General Holder did no crime: White House

June 30, 2012 15:28 IST

Inspite of the Congress's contempt citation of Attorney General on a botched gun-running operation, the White House and US Justice department have said that Eric Holder will not face criminal prosecution.

In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, the Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the Justice department had "determined that the attorney general's response to the subpeona issued by the Committee on oversight does not constitute a crime".

"Therefore the department will not bring Congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general," Cole said, CNN reported.

American legal experts said that in the run up to Thursday's vote, President Barack Obama had cited executive privilege in the case to assert that there could be no criminal prosecution.

The Deputy Attorney General reminded the House Committee Chairman that former Republican presidents Ronald Reagen and George W Bush had used the same privilege in their dealings with the Congress.

The refusal by the administration came after US lawmakers took the controversial step of holding Holder in contempt over the gun-tracking operation known as 'fast and furious'.

The 'fast and furious' was launched in Arizona by the agents of the Bureau of Alcohol as a sting operation to track weapons purchase by front buyers of the Mexican drug cartels.

Issa who led the investigation that made Congress slap contempt on the Attorney General said that he wanted to know who in the government knew about the operation and whether there was a cover up.

The contempt resolution was adopted 255-67 in the House of Representatives where the Republicans have a majority, with dozens of Democrats refusing to participate in the vote.

The contempt charge was the first against a sitting member of Obama's cabinet and immediately the White House branded it as a "political stunt".

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