“The level of involvement of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona in the genesis and implementation of this case is striking,” the letter states. It continues:
Whew! That letter should make it perfectly clear. If AG Eric Holder seriously thought shuffling the players would shush the investigation, he should think again.
Operation Fast and Furious was a prosecutor-led Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force case. The congressional investigation has revealed that your office, and specifically Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Emory Hurley, played an integral role in the day-to-day, tactical management of the case. In fact, Mr. Hurley served as a prosecutor on this case until very recently.
Witnesses have reported that AUSA Hurley may have stifled ATF agents’ attempts to interdict weapons on numerous occasions. Many ATF agents working on Operation Fast and Furious were under the impression that even some of the most basic law enforcement techniques typically used to interdict weapons required the explicit approval of your office, specifically from AUSA Hurley. It is our understanding that this approval was withheld on numerous occasions. It is unclear why all available tools, such as civil forfeitures and seizure warrants, were not used in this case to prevent illegally purchased guns from being trafficked to Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. We have further been informed that AUSA Hurley improperly instructed ATF agents that they needed to meet unnecessarily strict evidentiary standards merely in order to temporarily detain or speak with suspects.
It is essential for Congress to fully understand your office’s role in Operation Fast and Furious. … In addition, it is imperative that the Committee have an opportunity to discuss the facts above with individuals in your office who are familiar with the details of this operation. It is not our intention to second guess day-to-day decisions of your staff, but rather to make sense of them. The Attorney General has said that “letting guns walk is not something that is acceptable. … We cannot have a situation where guns are allowed to walk, and I’ve made that clear to the United States Attorneys as well as the agents in charge of various ATF offices.” Operation Fast and Furious is unique in that guns were allowed to walk with the apparent knowledge of, and authorization by, officials in your office.
I've no doubt that the transfers and shufflings and 'promotions' had two purposes:
1. To try and protect those people, as much as possible, so as to keep them from testifying/being questioned without DoJ lawyers present to try to protect the bigshots in hazard, and
2. "Maybe if we fire and transfer Melson it'll let them put some of the main blame on him and stop digging. And we can explain away the promotions for Newell and the others."
Fat chance on both points.
CBS News has a link(here) to "an internal ATF email dated the day after Terry's death reveal[ing] the quick decision to not disclose the source of the weapons found at the murder scene: "... this way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case."
The link to the email on the CBS News site results in a "page not found" message. Fortunately, Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars obtained a copy from another source and it has been posted on this reporter's Scribd page. In it many names that have become familiar to those following this story will surface, including two recently "reassigned" figures, former Phoenix Filed Office Special Agent in Charge William Newell and former ATF Supervisor David Voth, as well as former Phoenix Assistant SAC George Gillette.
Especially relevant to prior reports in this column: Much of the correspondence focuses on straw purchasing suspect Jaime Avila, and a memorandum from AUSA Hurley to his then-boss, just-resigned U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, specifically opens detailing Avila's connection to the guns found at the Brian Terry murder scene. Burke, regular readers will recall, filed a motion with the court in the Avila case to deny victim status to Agent Terry's parents citing lack of a link between Avila's straw purchases and their son's murder.
Just days after Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Ken Melson was forced into a make-work job at the Justice Department and long-time Janet Napolitano confidant U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke abruptly resigned, the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious rapidly gained momentum with evidence of a coverup instigated within hours of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death.
Also, the Justice Department begrudgingly revealed that Fast and Furious guns were recovered at the scene of more than twice as many violent crimes as they has originally told congressional investigators.
And in the latest bombshell, emails reveal that the White House had indeed been briefed directly about Operation Fast and Furious while the operation was still walking thousands of guns to the Sinaloa cartel.
Which means there's solid proof that Holder lied to Congress, and Obama lied to Congress; they need to hand Holder a subpoena and put his corrupt ass under oath and see what comes out.
Sipsey brings us this from the LA Times:
Three national security officials were given some details about the operation. But an administration official says the emails do not prove that anyone in the White House was aware of the covert tactics of the program.
Newly obtained emails show that the White House was better informed about a failed gun-tracking operation on the border with Mexico than was previously known.
Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons.
But the senior administration official said the emails, obtained Thursday by The Times, did not prove that anyone in the White House was aware of the covert "investigative tactics" of the operation.
"The emails validate what has been said previously, which is no one at the White House knew about the investigative tactics being used in the operation, let alone any decision to let guns walk," said the official, who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. "To the extent that some [national security staff members] were briefed on the top lines of ongoing federal efforts, so were members of Congress."
Except, as Sipsey notes,
"The emails were sent between July 2010 and February of this year before it was disclosed that agents had lost track of hundreds of guns." Serrano himself knows that this statement is false. Even ignoring the fact that David and I have been on this story since the first of the year, Charles Grassley's letters to the administration began on 27 January.