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Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith Wants Independent Counsel to Investigate Atty. Gen. Holder; He Denies Any Impropriety

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr./doj file photo

 Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy over  ATF’s Operation and Fast and Furious is roaring once again.

The latest: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the House Judiciary, asked President Obama on Tuesday to appoint a special counsel to investigate Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. as to what and when he knew about the operation, the website Main Justice reported.

“Allegations that senior Justice Department officials may have intentionally misled members of Congress are extremely troubling and must be addressed by an independent and objective special counsel,” Smith wrote in a letter to the president, which was posted on his website.

Under Operation Fast and Furious, the Phoenix Division of ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen or “straw purchasers”, with the hope of tracking the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

The agency lost track of some of the guns, and some surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Once word of the “gun walking” operation became public, there was  outcry and Congressional hearings on the matter in which Holder testified.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler issued a statement Tuesday evening saying Holder did not know the details of the questionable tactics of the program at the time of operation.

“The Attorney General’s testimony to both the House and the Senate was consistent and truthful. He said in both March and May of this year that he became aware of the questionable tactics employed in the Fast and Furious Operation in early 2011 when ATF agents first raised them publicly, and at the time, he asked the Inspector General’s office to investigate the matter.”

CBS News reported that documents show Holder was sent briefings on the matter as far back as July 2010, contradicting testimony before a Congressional committee on May 3, 2011 when he said:

“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.”

Rep. Lamar Smith/gov photo

But Schmaler said that “the weekly reports provided to the offices of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General are compiled each week from entries submitted by 24 divisions and components with offices around the country. These routine reports provide general overviews and status updates on policy and legislative issues, public events, news clips, ongoing cases and investigations as well as key filings, hearings and expected rulings.

“As the documents provided to Congress show, not a single one of these reports referenced the controversial tactics that allowed guns to cross the border, and in fact, in one example provided to Congress consisted of a single sentence referencing a Phoenix-based operation.

“These reports are compiled to provide regular updates to Department leadership and can contain references to hundreds of cases, investigations, filings, court opinions and initiatives going on around the country at any given time. None of the handful of entries in 2010 regarding the Fast and Furious suggested there was anything amiss with that investigation requiring leadership to take corrective action or commit to memory this particular operation prior to the disturbing claims raised by ATF agents in the early part of 2011.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) have been investigating the program and trying to figure out who in Washington gave the ok and knew about the matter.

Read full text of the letter.

 

 


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Comment from noatf
Time October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

WOW!!! What a revelation-Eric Holder and his cronies are a pack of liars. The object was to demonstrate that the US is responsible for violence in Mexico and destroy the second amendment. Only the idiots at ATF were brainless enough to go along with this scheme.

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