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 states:
I also want to be very clear that protecting American citizens from the devastating effects of gun violence is among the most important responsibilities of the Department of Justice. Likewise, ensuring that weapons sold here do not flow south to Mexico is of paramount importance.
Yet under Holder's watch, at least 2,000 guns were deliberately trafficked into Mexico under orders from his Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohal, Tobacco and Firearms, which Holder also has jurisdiction and responsibility for overseeing. Operation Fast and Furious has resulted in the deaths of at least one federal agent and 200 innocent Mexico citizens, at minimum.
“Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals, this was the plan. It was so mandated.” –Special Agent John Dodson ATF Phoenix Field Division.
Damning new evidence from Capitol Hill shows that ATF Directors and Justice Department Officials knew about and encouraged the purposeful trafficking of thousands of weapons across the southern border, despite strong objections from ATF agents. Thousands of innocent lives were taken as the result, including those of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE Agent Jamie Zapata.
And yes, Holder is still denying he knew of the "tactics" used in Operation Fast and Furious:
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.
FLASHBACK: The former United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, Dennis Burke, and the former Acting Director of ATF Kenneth Melson absolutely knew about the tactics employed throughout Operation Fast and Furious.
New emails released by House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa show that ATF Director Kenneth Melson was briefed weekly about Operation Fast and Furious and watched a live feed of straw purchasers (who serve as middle men, purchasing guns and giving them to cartel members) in Arizona gun shops from his cozy Washington D.C. office. Emails also show that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was enthusiastic about the operation.
“An e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants,” Chairman Issa said in his opening statement.
Holder also had the nerve to call for more gun control in his letter, re-enforcing the idea that Operation Fast and Furious was carried out to push more gun control onto the American people.
I'm not really sure what Holder is complaining about with his long gun reporting requirement, he got that back in July 2011. Also,
Eric Holder May 3, 2011: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."
Eric Holder July 5, 2010: Memos addressed directly to Eric Holder about Operation Fast and Furious.
Nice try, Holder. We're not buying it.