Sen. Charles Grassley said Monday there is evidence the U.S. government sold guns to the underworld in a scheme similar to the Fast and Furious gun-running operation — where federal agents tried to determine which of the weapons sent to Mexico were used in crimes — and the Senate is being stonewalled in its investigation.
“It’s hard to distinguish between the two, but evidence has come out that the orders came down from Justice that our agents were supposed to take taxpayers money, buy guns that shouldn’t have been sold, get them to the underworld,” the Iowa Republican told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “The sale was made to the underworld. It happens to be that in this particular case, the federal government made a little bit of money, but that’s not the main issue.
“The main issue is that you would think they would arrest the people that bought them illegally — no, they were told to just follow the guns — they followed the guns to a storehouse. They would not have 24-hour surveillance except for one of the agents decided to stay there six days,” Grassley said. “And I don’t know when — but anyway — a truck came along to load up the guns. They called for help to arrest them in the process of transferring the guns, but they wouldn’t send anybody to arrest them, so the guns got over — got some place, maybe over the border — and they were never traced, which was the purpose of the operation in the first place.”
Vans Susteren said she had a letter from the Justice Department to Grassley saying that allegations the government sold guns to a “straw purchaser” who forwarded them to Mexico are false.
“It is a false statement from the Department of Justice — they knew about this — I made reference to this in my first letter as they indicated, and the order came directly to an ATF agent to make the sale,” Grassley said. “He had the money to make the sale — he bought the guns — he transferred them to another person of the underworld. That other person actually paid more for the guns than what the taxpayers paid to buy the guns in the first place, and then they went to a storehouse.
“It’s a lie — it’s a lie — and just to make things clear for your listeners: The ATF ordered this ATF agent to purchase these guns and in turn sell them, and supposedly track them,” he said. “But he was a lone wolf in the operation — they wouldn’t give him any help for 24-hour surveillance.”
Van Susteren then asked whether not thwarting the operation going was an issue of bureaucracy or something “sinister” happened.
“There’s something sinister going on —they’re doing everything they can to avoid the issue — they want to stonewall us and string us along,” Grassley said. “And we’re not getting the cooperation that I was promised when I let the deputy attorney general go to confirmation in the United States Senate, which was the lever that I used to get the agreement with the attorney general.”
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