Thursday, February 02, 2012

New report released by GOP lawmakers suggests top Justice officials had extensive knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious

Top Department of Justice officials had extensive knowledge of and involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, claims a new report released Thursday, hours before Attorney General Eric Holder's scheduled testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The report released by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, top lawmakers investigating the botched gunrunning operation, claims Justice Department officials in Washington and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the coordination in the early stages of the operation. ustice headquarters "had much greater knowledge of, and involvement in, Fast and Furious than it has previously acknowledged," the memo reads. The memo, which contradicts claims by the Justice Department, is based upon interviews, documents and emails involving key players of the operation run by the ATF. The operation allowed some 2,000 weapons cross the border into Mexico and into the hands of cartel members. Two of the weapons linked to the program were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010 as well as other crime scenes in Mexico. Emails released show that Kenneth Melson, former acting director of the ATF, contacted Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and told him that his organization wanted to take a "different approach" to seizing guns going to Mexico. Breuer responded that it was a "terrific idea" and the department assigned a prosecutor from its Criminal Division to work with the ATF in early 2010...more

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