Any claim “that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico is false,” Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote to Grassley on Feb. 4, 2011. “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation into Mexico.”
Not every effort, it seems. Because nine months later, after weeks of stone-walling and attempts to find “dirt” on the whistleblowers, Justice Department officials finally came clean. On Nov. 8, 2011, Attorney General Holder admitted under oath that gun-walking had, in fact, occurred. The Feb. 4 denial was rescinded.
But it’s not over yet. According to the Justice Department, there are approximately 140,000 pages of Fast and Furious-related documents. How many have officials turned over to Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.), head of the House Oversight Committee? 7,600. And many were so heavily redacted as to be practically useless.
The administration continues to drag its feet, culminating in a June 28 declaration by President Obama that many of the documents were shielded by executive privilege.
Small wonder that Congress wants answers. The administration has no business engaging in such a shameful and outrageous cover-up. Congress should continue to make every effort to get to the bottom of this reckless and irresponsible operation -- and take immediate steps to ensure that it never happens again.
When President Obama took office, he vowed that his administration would be “the most open and transparent in history.” For the sake of those who died because of Fast and Furious, let’s hope he remembers -- and honors -- that promise.