New Fast & Furious audio: Border Patrol agent killed by F&F weapons was "collateral damage"

It’s not an ATF agent who utters those magical words, it’s the Arizona gun dealer who was working with the ATF on Fast & Furious. He utters them to an ATF agent, though, to which she replies with a cryptic “mm-hmm.” Callousness — or strategy?

However, the lawyer representing the Lone Wolf Trading Co. says owner Andre Howard made the tapes only after he suspected he was being lied to, and his language is meant to get Hope MacAllister, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to implicate herself and her agency in their illegal gun running scheme.

“He became very suspicious and in his own defense would tape key conversations with Ms. MacAllister and try to get her to make admissions about the truth of the matter,” said Dallas attorney Larry Gaydos. “Andre was trying to get her to admit that indeed they let guns go to Mexico.”…

Howard made the tapes in March 2011 after a meeting he and his attorneys held with federal officials. In that meeting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley continued to insist the guns Lone Wolf sold were stopped and seized before reaching Mexico.

But ATF officials are quoted in a Washington Post article and the Spanish language daily La Opinion saying just the opposite — blaming Lone Wolf for “selling guns to the cartels” with no mention that Howard was operating under the federal government’s direction, encouragement and approval.

The “collateral damage” exchange comes in the first clip below. The second clip, also between Howard and MacAllister, was posted yesterday at CBS and apparently shows MacAllister this time suggesting that the DOJ would have to tell Chuck Grassley to “sit your ass down” if he insisted on calling a hearing and demanding more info on F&F. And that’s where we’re at today in the curious case of an American law enforcement official shot dead by guns provided to drug cartels by the Department of Justice — aong with 200-300 Mexican citizens, of course. Exit question: Anyone covering this story anymore except CBS and Fox News?

Update: New from Reuters, just as I’m posting this. Is the DOJ’s probe of Fast & Furious actually a way to derail the House’s investigation?

In a letter released on Wednesday to Acting Justice Department Inspector General Cynthia Schnedar, they expressed deep concern over her decision to turn over to U.S. prosecutors in Arizona audio recordings obtained during her investigation.

Representative Darrell Issa, head of the House Oversight Committee, and Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Schnedar apparently did not consider the significant harm caused by giving the recordings to those under investigation.

They criticized the move as potentially obstructing the congressional probe into the operation because potential witnesses may have colluded about what to tell investigators

The letter described how an ATF supervisor, in discussing the congressional inquiry, allegedly said, “We are all on the same sheet of music. And if we stay on the same sheet of music, we will be all right.”