Another Friday Fast and Furious document dump

posted at 3:35 pm on December 3, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Yesterday afternoon, the Justice Department — in yet another late Friday document dump — revealed how DOJ officials came to write a Feb. 4 letter to Congress that Attorney General Eric Holder has since admitted contained false information about the gunrunning scandal Fast and Furious. Roll Call reports:

The documents show that Dennis Burke, then a U.S. attorney who has since resigned, and William Hoover, then the deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who has since been reassigned, principally provided the false information to officials who drafted the letter. But the documents do not shed light on whether either knew the information was false at the time.

In the Feb. 4 letter, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich broadly denied that ATF officials had allowed assault weapons to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels, allowing the guns to escape into the wild. “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico,” Weich wrote.

Grassley’s allegations about Fast and Furious, later revealed to be true, “are based on categorical falsehoods,” Burke wrote in a Jan. 31 email. Faith Burton, a Justice Department official who drafted an early version of the letter, took notes based on a phone conversation with Hoover that read, “ATF doesn’t let guns walk.”

Emails show Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the department’s criminal division, received versions of the letter on four occasions via email. Breuer forwarded the emails to a personal account but told Congressional investigators in a written statement today he “cannot say for sure” whether he viewed the drafts.

Breuer, if you’ll recall, is the official who definitively knew ATF officials had, in the past and without any attempt to interdict them, allowed guns to reach the hands of Mexican drug cartel membersas a part of the Bush-era program Wide Receiver and as a part of Fast and Furious. Breuer supposedly never informed higher-ranking officials of his knowledge of the use of the controversial tactic when allegations about a repeat use surfaced in connection with Fast and Furious. His deputy, Jason Weinstein, also had knowledge of past gunrunning operations, but failed to connect the dots to OF&F.

Burke — the U.S. Attorney who has since resigned — not only denied use of the gunrunning tactic in the Feb. 4 letter to Congress, but actually argued that ATF should more vigorously deny the charge.

“What is so offensive about this whole project is that [Sen. Chuck] Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling [southwest border] gun trafficking operations … but, instead, lobbing this reckless despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a fellow federal law enforcement officer,” Burke wrote in a Feb. 4 e-mail.

The sad irony of that is that guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were eventually traced to Fast and Furious.

As Grassley’s spokeswoman said, these e-mails just raise more questions about OF&F and the DOJ’s lack of cooperation with the Congressional investigation into the program.


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*crickets chirping*

the double standard truly amazing…

cmsinaz on December 3, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Breuer, if you’ll recall, is the official who definitively knew ATF officials had, in the past and without any attempt to interdict them, allowed guns to reach the hands of Mexican drug cartel membersas a part of the Bush-era program Wide Receiver and as a part of Fast and Furious

Wasn’t Lanny Breuer the same fella that went gaga over the “graphs” of the southbound guns from AZ winding up in Mexico and asked if there were similar graphics coming from TX???? Or, was that Kevin O’Reilly, the guy in the White House that will probably be the last American redeployed from Iraq over the next 2 years. At the rate the White House is going, ol’ Kevin will be sweeping the floors and turning off the lights at every FOB around Iraq before he catches the last thing smokin’ back here to the US.

ted c on December 3, 2011 at 3:46 PM

The sad irony of that is that guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were eventually traced to Fast and Furious.

FTFY Tina

ted c on December 3, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Oh Tina. Come on. Have you forgotten already?

The Obama Administration has miraculously remained free of scandal. Not a single solitary one. This whole F&F Gunwalker thing is yet just another simple misunderstanding.

FlatFoot on December 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM

OT: dear leader taking a 17day vacay to hawaii for the holidays…

cripe…

cmsinaz on December 3, 2011 at 3:51 PM

just saw it in the headlines…my bad

cmsinaz on December 3, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Those SOB’s aren’t interested in the truth. They’re interested in covering their fat bureaucratic asses.

And every damned one of them should be in a federal prison.

GarandFan on December 3, 2011 at 3:54 PM

“What is so offensive about this whole project is that [Sen. Chuck] Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling [southwest border] gun trafficking operations …

Yeah, that’ll work. Because everyone knows the “Gun Lobby” (capitalized, no less) is eager to destroy its reputation for honesty in order to accomplish its goal of … encouraging illegal cross-border gun running and arming drug cartels? Wait, WHAT? And a U.S. Senator went along with the plan and put his political career on the line because he can get rich off the few thousand a year the NRA can donate to him?

I think even Hollywood would be embarrassed to make a movie based on that plot line.

Socratease on December 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Yeah but if they’re not careful Darrell Issa is gonna send a strongly worded memo to the WH. Or something

darwin-t on December 3, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Who’s that guy “Ed” who wrote the referenced post?

unclesmrgol on December 3, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Looks like another modified limited hangout. They are just fleshing out admissions that had previously been made after the emerging facts made clear they had been lying all along. I said long ago that Burke was an obvious candidate for sacrifice, and therefore also for flipping. Reportedly he is now cooperating with the House Oversight Committee. sp we’ll see about that.

I question the timing, which appears to be designed to distract from the sealing of the records in the Brian Terry murder case. They are trying to draw attention away from breaking news that the rip crew who murdered Brian Terry was run by an FBI informant who was exploiting information he got from the FBI to hit a shipment. The FBI and the DEA knew that crew would be in Peck Canyon that night, but they didn’t inform Border Patrol. Then the border Patrol guys walked in with beanbag loads.

That is why the FBI “disappeared” the third rifle from the Terry murder scene. It was an SKS purchased by the informant in Texas, and carried by him that night. He might even be the one who murdered Brian Terry.

See:

http://pjmedia.com/blog/fbi-criminal-informant-complicit-in-brian-terrys-death-pjm-exclusive/

novaculus on December 3, 2011 at 4:08 PM

allowed guns to reach the hands of Mexican drug cartel membersas a part of the Bush-era program Wide Receiver

With the very large difference that Mexican officials were informed of that operation and supposedly were supposed to track what happened once the guns got past the border. Also, those guns were [ineptly] fitted with tracking devices with the intent of tracking them. Not exactly the same thing and certainly not with the same intent as F&F to work gun control “under the radar” with the approval of the administration. I have little doubt ATF agents were thinking this could help further gun control legislation since many of them are staunch anti-second amendment people, but at least there was a modicum of attempt to inform the foreign government and to track the firearms. Also, since OWR was such a failure, it is mind-boggling that ATF would try it again on a bigger scale. As one of the people on Issa’s panel put it, “Making the play ‘that the Bush administration did it too’ reeks of desperation”

AZfederalist on December 3, 2011 at 4:12 PM

I have no idea, but I do know that you guys come up with really cool names for your fake scandals.

crr6 on July 10, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 3, 2011 at 4:19 PM

If someone does not go to jail on this, then obama should be impeached

ConservativePartyNow on December 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

More damning is this

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/69680_Page2.html

We are playing defense with this low-tone response,” Burke complained about drafts of the letter sent to Grassley. At one point, Burke — the chief federal prosecutor in Arizona and former chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano — threatened to come to Washington for “an audience” with top Justice officials if the response letter was watered down.

“Please send soon. Every version gets weaker,” Burke complained in one email. “We will be apologizing to [Grassley] by tomorrow afternoon.”

In internal emails, Burke unloaded at Grassley and his aides.

What is so offensive about this whole project is that Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling [southwest border] gun trafficking operations … by not uttering one word of rightful praise and thanks to ATF — but instead lobbing this reckless despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a fellow federal law-enforcement officer,” Burke wrote in a Feb. 4 email to Weich and other top officials. “No commentary by Grassley on the lax laws, nor greedy gun shop owners, nor careless straw purchasers, and not boo about the evil gun traffickers for the Cartels. Just demonize ATF w/a strategically timed repulsive letter emailed to the entire press world before we ever saw it.”

“I am so personally outraged by Senator Grassley’s falsehoods. It is one of the lowest acts I have ever seen in politics,” Burke wrote in a separate email to Melson that also called the Fast and Furious case a “tremendous investigation.”

William Amos on December 3, 2011 at 4:38 PM

If someone does not go to jail on this, then obama should be impeached
ConservativePartyNow on December 3, 2011 at 4:27 PM

False choice.

Impeach Obama, then throw his skinny, vacationing butt in the slammer.

He deserves nothing less.

turfmann on December 3, 2011 at 4:56 PM

The sad irony of that is that guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were eventually traced to Fast and Furious.

Sad irony? Often, the words we would use to describe purposefully supplying high power guns to known murderers and drug runners “accessory to murder”, a crime, but you can describe it as “a sad irony” if you want to.

MTF on December 3, 2011 at 5:02 PM

When in doubt: Blame Bush.

nazo311 on December 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

“This is all fine and good…

… but did you hear that Hermain Cain suspended his campaign and Newt has baggage!” – MSM

Seven Percent Solution on December 3, 2011 at 6:06 PM

After the 2012 election, I expect blanket pardons for everyone in the Obama administration except for the “rats” who come clean and tell the truth.

KW64 on December 3, 2011 at 6:21 PM

This distraction is not the distraction of the distraction that you
tink will distract you.Uhhh,,, us,,, them,,, somebody.

DISTRACTION!!!

Caststeel on December 3, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Issa already told Holder not to worry about it….wants him to hang around, take his time and “fix things”.

Honest to God…..our leadership just Blows.

Think Boner.

Think Issa.

Think of the rest of the establishment republicans that voted to ban cheap, effective light bulbs in favor of mercury-laden flicker-bombs that cost eight-times more.

Then think about Boner some more.

Again…OUR LEADERSHIP BLOWS!!

Tim_CA on December 4, 2011 at 1:25 AM

As AZFederalist pointed out, the comment about Wide Receiver is an *error* in the article.

Wide Receiver did not “let guns walk,” it was intended to interdict all the guns but “went wrong.”

Unlike Fast and Furious, which *deliberately* and over the objection of ATF agents let the guns get into the hands of the cartels.

Either somebody didn’t do their homework, or somebody didn’t care. Neither alternative is very appealing.

Merovign on December 4, 2011 at 5:55 AM

Every lie is designed to cover Holder and ultimately Obama who started this whole gun tracing operation as he recommended gun tracing even as a candidate (on videos). This is why the whistle blowers are punished while the top administrators got promotions or at least comfy transfers: they have to be well treated or they might squeal.

Truly scary this criminal administration.

Chessplayer on December 4, 2011 at 8:00 AM

But in the MSM world it’s not lying; it’s inaccurate information!

The Justice Department on Friday provided Congress with documents detailing how department officials gave inaccurate information to a U.S. senator in the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the Southwest border.

In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally. In connection with Operation Fast and Furious, both statements turned out to be incorrect.

“Double standard” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Paul_in_NJ on December 4, 2011 at 11:01 AM

In the end, no officials will go to jail, no one will lose his job, and no apologies will be made by anyone to anyone. Such is the way of Washington.

That’s how confident I am in this process, and I base that on the ‘forgive and forget’ mentality which plagues D.C.

madmonkphotog on December 4, 2011 at 1:05 PM

“What is so offensive about this whole project is that [Sen. Chuck] Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling [southwest border] gun trafficking operations …

I think even Hollywood would be embarrassed to make a movie based on that plot line.

Socratease on December 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM

I was going to agree with you, but then I remembered Michael Moore.

I wouldn’t doubt that he’s already producing another fake documentary to spin this story into an anti-NRA/pro gun conrtol issue.
Also, maybe he’ll try to do some “damage control” for the Obama administration with such a “documentary”.

listens2glenn on December 4, 2011 at 9:12 PM