Grassley: Justice Has Been 'Deceitful' on Fast and Furious

Tuesday, 06 Dec 2011 05:22 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. Charles Grassley says months after Congress first queried the Justice Department on Fast and Furious, the federal agency is starting to admit it was “deceitful” on what it knew about the gunrunning operation. The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday Justice is now saying it provided “false information” on the plan to track guns smuggled to Mexican drug cartels.
“Well, OK, what happened was basically they did not want to admit that there was an operation like Fast and Furious going on, and they would say at that time they didn’t know that — but we've got plenty of evidence that they did know it,“ Grassley said. “We had not only evidence that people in the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms knew it, but we know that people within the Justice Department knew it.

“It looks like now they are being deceitful from this standpoint that we knew that they knew about it — they sent us a letter and said that none of this was true,” the Iowa senator continued. “They sent us basically two letters that none of it was true and finally it was nine months before the hearing that — before our Judiciary Committee — that they admitted that that letter of February 4th contained false information.”

Attorney General Eric Holder is preparing to appear before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday to explain the gunrunning scandal. More than 50 members of Congress are demanding that Holder resign because of Fast and Furious.

Van Susteren asked why Grassley believed Justice finally sent a letter Dec. 2 admitting there were inaccuracies in its February communication.

“Well, they wanted to finally cover themselves. But basically what they are saying is something — idiocy, that we are withdrawing the letter — this is on my websites and is probably on 100 websites around town,” Grassley said. “You can’t withdraw a letter — what would they think if I said to them we are going to withdraw our support or a nomination for somebody we supported a year ago? You can’t do that — this is in the public domain.

“And the reason for doing it I think they — if we bring it up again, they want to be able to say, well, that letter is no longer in the public domain,” he said. “But it is in the public domain — you can’t do away with letters that were written.”

Grassley said Justice has been “stonewalling” the Senate because Fast and Furious has created a “politically difficult situation for them.”

“Just understand what Fast and Furious is: It’s saying to licensed gun dealers — federally licensed gun dealers — that we in the Justice Department up here in Washington want you to illegally sell guns to straw purchasers so we can follow them across the border,” he said. “We’re a government based upon the rule of law — and we have our own Justice Department advising people to violate the law . . . it doesn’t meet the common-sense test.”

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