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Fast and Furious: Political Appointees "Responsible" for Approving Lethal Tactics

Back in February 2012, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa in partnership with Senator Grassley and Rep. Meehan requested DOJ assistance in obtaining the wiretap applications used and approved during Operation Fast and Furious. Issa requested these documents in an effort to further determine which senior DOJ officials knew and approved of the lethal program. Attorney General Eric Holder has said under oath in Congressional testimony that nobody at the Justice Department "has lied" and about Fast and Furious despite his own Assistant General Lanny Breuer approving a letter to Congress in February 2011 denying gunwalking tactics and knowledge about Fast and Furious. That letter was so full of falsehoods, it had to be withdrawn. Holder has also said his Department is in no way engaged in a cover-up.


Now, after obtaining six copies of Fast and Furious wiretap applications and seven wire intercepts, senior DOJ official claims, including Holder's, that this was a "low level" "rogue agent" operation that senior DOJ officials knew nothing about, are further proven false. Wiretap applications, which require excruciating detail about a case to be provided before being approved, were approved not once, but multiple times throughout 2010. Remember, not one single DOJ official admits to knowing about Fast and Furious while it was ongoing and active throughout 2010. 

"The wiretap applications show that immense detail about questionable investigative tactics was available to the senior officials who reviewed and authorized them. The close involvement of these officials - much greater than previously known- is shocking. These six applications were approved by senior Justice Department officials in March, April, June and July 2010. Each application included a memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer to Paul M. O'Brien, Director, Office of Enforcement Operations, authorizing the wiretap applications on behalf of the Attorney General. The memorandum from Breuer are marked specifically for the attention of Emory Hurley, the lead prosecutor for Operation Fast and Furious," Issa wrote in a letter to Holder while slamming senior Department officials for not taking "public safety into account when they approved the wiretap applications."


The letter also documents extensively the repeated denials of the DOJ officials including:

Department consistently denying that any senior officials were provided information about the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious.

Wiretaps didn't talk about tactics of Fast and Furious


Holder on September 7, 2011 during a press conference: 

The notion that somehow or other this thing reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that... I don't think is supported by the facts. It's kind of something I think certain members of Congress would like to see, the notion that somehow or other high-level people in the department were involved. As I said, I don't think that is going to be shown to be the case.

Holder under oath in front of Congress February 2, 2012:

I think, first off, there is no indication that Mr. Breuer or my former deputy were aware of the tactics that were employed in this matter until everybody I think became aware of them, which is like January February of last year. (Another inconsistency: Holder said in May 2011 he had only known about Fast and Furious for "a couple of weeks")



"The new information contained in the wiretap applications places us in a position to begin the process of assigning accountability among senior Department officials, some of whom were responsible for approving wiretap applications. After having reviewed these applications, we now understand why the Department has been resisting our efforts to secure full cooperation and compliance with the subpoena. It is because, as former ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson testified, "it appears thoroughly to us that the department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the department," Issa wrote as contempt charges for Holder are looming. "With the wiretap applications in possession of the Committee, the Department can no longer push such information away from its political appointees. These appointees were responsible for approving the reckless tactics used during Fast and Furious. Because of the wiretap applications, we now know which senior Department officials made these serious mistakes. It is time for your commitment to Congress and the American people by holding these individuals accountable."

The walls are closing in on Mr. Holder, who will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.



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