Rep. Darrell Issa’s office tells Newsmax that a published report claiming the California Republican was briefed about the “Fast and Furious” weapons operation is an “outright lie.”
The Washington Post on Tuesday stated that Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was told of the operation, which allowed automatic weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, at an April 2010 meeting and raised no objection.
But Issa spokesman Frederick Hill told Newsmax on Thursday that “what is reported in the Washington Post is an outright lie.
Representative Issa did not learn about the operation until after the death of [Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] agent Brian Terry” in December 2010.
The "Fast and Furious” operation oversaw the sale of weapons to known and suspected suppliers for Mexican drug cartels. The program was designed to go after drug traffickers, but two of the guns were found at the Arizona crime scene where agent Terry was killed.
Hill told The Hill newspaper that Issa was not briefed at the April 2010 meeting, during a meeting with officials from the ATF — a Justice Department agency — and did not learn about the controversial gun-tracking program until this year.
Spokesman Hill told The Daily Caller that the Justice Department has been shopping the Issa story around town. “We have had people who have contacted us before the Washington Post,” he said. “They told us people in the Justice Department were trying to push this story and I think a number of publications didn’t think it was credible or, for whatever reason, decided not to run it.”
Issa has been sharply critical of the Fast and Furious operation and has called for the resignation of ATF acting Director Kenneth Melson.
Referring to the Justice Department’s alleged efforts to plant the Issa story, Hill told Newsmax: “There are serious questions of integrity at the Justice Department right now.
“There are people within the Justice Department who have to be afraid for their careers now.”
Spokesman Hill also told The Hill: “The Justice Department right now is packed full of people who had knowledge of this operation and they had their careers ended over it, and there’s people out there that have every incentive to lie or do whatever it takes right now to try to discredit this investigation so that they can save their careers by this investigation not being able to expose everybody who was involved in it.”
Hill said Issa did attend a 2010 classified briefing that focused on determining the number of U.S.-made weapons that were later recovered at Mexican crime scenes, and at no time did the gun-tracking operation come up.
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