For years the White House has argued it had nothing to do with Operation Fast and Furious while it was active and certainly wasn't involved the fallout and cover-up that followed after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in 2010 by Mexican bandits carrying guns from the lethal program.
Now years later, a Vaughn Index describing Fast and Furious documents being held from the American people and Congress under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege shows White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett played a key role in Attorney General Eric Holder's changing testimony to Congress.
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Practically lost in the 1,000-plus pages of records is an index that shows Jarrett was brought in to manage the fact that Holder lied to Congress after the story about the disastrous gun-running operation broke in the media.
The files received by JW include three electronic mails between Holder and Jarrett and one from former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to Jarrett. The e-mails with Holder are all from October 4, 2011, a significant date because, on the evening of October 3rd, Sharyl Attkisson (then at CBS news) released documents showing that Holder had been sent a briefing paper on Operation Fast and Furious on June 5, 2010. The paper was from the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, Michael Walther.
This directly contradicted Holder’s May 3, 2011 testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, during which he stated that he, “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” The October 4, 2011 date may also be significant because it came shortly after the August 30, 2011 resignation of U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke and reassignment of acting ATF director Kenneth Melson to the position of “senior forensics advisor” at DOJ.
The description of one of the e-mails, written from Jarrett to Holder, reads, “re: personnel issues.” Another, also from Jarrett, reads, “outlining and discussing preferred course of action for future responses in light of recent development in congressional investigation.” Unfortunately, the index is vague and that’s all the information we have about them. Nevertheless, given the timing and subject of these e-mails, it seems clear that Jarrett quickly became a key player in the Fast and Furious cover-up in the immediate aftermath of the revelation that Holder had lied to Congress.
Despite evidence showing Attorney General Eric Holder lied about when he became aware of Operation Fast and Furious and about the extent of his involvement with the initiation of the program, he has maintained that the testimony he gave under oath to Congress was "truthful and accurate." As a reminder of the timeline of Holder's inconsistent testimony:
In a late Friday afternoon dump, Attorney General Eric Holder has sent a letter to the House Overight Committee addressing Operation Fast and Furious and the allegations that he lied to Congress on May 3 when he said he had only known about Fast and Furious for "a couple of weeks." Memos released this week show Holder was briefed and sent direct memos on the program at least five times in July and August 2010, nearly a year before Holder admitted under oath.
In the letter Holder sent to Congress, which is mentioned above, he said the following:
"Much has been made in that past few days about my congressional testimony earlier this year regarding Fast and Furious. My testimony was truthful and accurate and I have been consistent on this point throughout. I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious or hearing its name prior to the public controversy about it. Prior to early 2011, I certainly never knew about the tactics employed in the operation and it is my understanding that the former United States Attorney for the District of Arizona and the former Acting Director and Deputy Director of ATF have told Congress that they, themselves were unaware of the tactics employed."
Jarrett is President Obama's closest advisor at the White House.