On May 3, 2011 Attorney General Eric Holder testified under oath before the House Judiciary Committee that, "I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." However, newly released documents contradict that testimony and show he was briefed multiple times beginning as early as July 2010.
Fast and Furious was the code name for an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) operation that allowed thousands of weapons to "walk" across the border and end up in the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. Some of those weapons have been linked to the assassination of ATF Agent Brian Terry last December.
In a newly obtained July 2010 memo, Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, told Holder straw gun buyers for Fast and Furious "are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels."
Subsequently, on October 18, 2010 Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division at DOJ and one of the AG's chief deputies, wrote in a memo to Holder that prosecutors were ready to issue indictments in the Fast and Furious scandal.
Holder and the DOJ have tried to distance themselves from Fast and Furious representing it as a rogue ATF operation. However, as CBS reports, a review of DOJ communications "leave[s] no doubt that high level Justice officials knew guns were being 'walked'."
On October 17, 2010 – the day before the Breuer memo – two other high ranking DOJ officials discussed the prosecutions by email and whether to make a public statement about Fast and Furious out of the Department.
Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General also in the Criminal Division with Breuer, wrote "It's a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions." James Trusty, Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit replied, "I'm not sure how much grief we get for 'guns walking.' It may be more like, 'Finally they're going after people who sent guns down there.'"