House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) told CNSNews.com in an interview that he believes the Justice Department is covering up information relevant to a congressional investigation of an operation in which the department knowingly allowed intermediaries of Mexican drug cartels to purchase guns at licensed firearms dealers in the United States and then get away without being arrested or the guns being retrieved.
Last December, two of those guns ended up at the scene of the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was killed by alleged agents of the Mexican drug cartels.
Issa pointed to two things he says indicates a Justice Department cover up. First, he cites a letter that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, head of the Justice Department’s office of legislative affairs, sent to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 4, 2011. Issa characterizes that letter as a “lie.”
Secondly, Issa says the Justice Department made excessive and unjustifiable redactions in documents it provided to his committee.
Additionally, Issa says he does not believe Attorney General Eric Holder testified accurately in the Judiciary Committee on May 3, when he told Issa (who also serves on that committee) that he had only learned of the gun-running operation—called “Operation Fast and Furious"--a few weeks before that.
...CNSNews.com asked Issa if he would say that the Justice Department has been covering up in the face of the congressional probe. “Yes I would,” said Issa, pointing to the DOJ letter to Sen. Grassley and the excess redaction of documents.
“There are two kinds of cover ups,” he said. “There is one in which you lie to people in order to mislead them. That letter represents that type of coverup. There’s also the one in which you delay and deny in an attempt to simply not have the facts come out. Clearly they’ve done that with Sen. Grassley, first, and then with our committee, because some of the things that they redacted, we have the unredacted versions from whistleblowers. We believe they did excess redacting, which again is denying us that which would be reasonable to deliver us. We’re hoping that that’s changed. We hope that what was said yesterday, there is in fact a change in the administration’s view in order to not be embarrassed.”
In his Feb. 4, 2011 letter to Sen. Grassley, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, had denied that the Justice Department knowingly “sanctioned” the sale of guns to people they believed were going to deliver them to Mexican drug cartels.
“At the outset, the allegation described in your January 27 letter--that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico--is false,” Weich wrote. “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”
At a hearing in Issa’s Oversight Committee on Wednesday, two ATF agents gave sworn testimony directly contradicting Weich’s letter.
“This is not a matter of some weapons that had gotten away from us or allowing a few to walk so that we could follow them to a much larger, more significant target,” ATF Special Agent John Dodson told the committee. “Allowing loads of weapons that we knew to be destined for criminals was the plan, this was the mandate.”
According to Issa, Justice Department documents secured by his committee also contradicted Weich’s letter.
Read the link and watch the interviews. This whole episode is a disgrace. Compounding that is the possibility there was an agenda by the Regime into letting these gunrunners let guns bought in the US be smuggled into Mexico....it would prove the point made in the early days of the Regime, that 90 percent of guns used by drug cartels came from the United States. The claim was false, but the Regime sait it was true anyway, and were never held to question for it. The "Gunrunner" project would help prove that point, and sound the calls for more gun control, which the liberal gun-grabbers wanted.
The Head of the ATF may still resign, but this goes further up than him.