Grassley: Who at Justice Saw Key Fast and Furious Memo?
Seper, Jerry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know who at the Justice Department saw a memo from an ATF agent in Phoenix outlining questionable tactics in the Fast and Furious operation that was sent to Washington a day before the department denied any weapons had been walked to Mexico.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Sen. Chuck Grassley, who first began the Fast and Furious investigation in 2010, said the memo traveled rapidly through the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and possibly was forwarded to Justice in Washington on Feb. 3, 2011.
On Feb. 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich told the Iowa lawmaker in a letter that allegations of gunwalking were false.
Mr. Grassley said his office was told that agent Gary Styers' memo caused such a stir that ATF planned to put a panel together to address the allegations, but someone within DOJ suppressed the idea. He said the memo would have given Justice Department officials important information about what was happening in Fast and Furious.
He told Mr. Holder that discovering who in the chain of command had reviewed the memo has not been easy and that his requests to interview officials who might corroborate accounts have been denied. He said the Justice Department may have withheld relevant documents from what it said were the deliberative materials used to draft Mr. Weich's Feb. 4 denial letter.
Without the complete, documented set of facts, fair and informed conclusions can't be drawn, and the Justice Department's lack of transparency about what it knew and when about Operation Fast and Furious is unacceptable, especially in light of the connections to the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and an unknown number of Mexican citizens, Mr. Grassley said.
The House voted for contempt charges against Mr. Holder last week, but has not stopped its Fast and Furious investigation. A senior Justice Department official told reporters the department will respond appropriately to the Grassley letter. …