Holder Informed of Fast and Furious in 2010

Tuesday, 04 Oct 2011 10:41 AM

By Dan Weil

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The scandal surrounding the notorious gun-tracking program Fast and Furious continues to percolate. Attorney General Eric Holder received numerous memos about the operation from senior Justice Department staffers months before he said he first learned of it, documents show, according to The Hill.

holder fast and firiousHolder testified before the House Judiciary Committee in May that he had only recently become aware of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) program.

“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,” Holder said in response to a question from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

But Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer informed Holder of a sealed indictment against accused gun traffickers in Arizona by the DOJ’s organized crime and gang section in a memo from November 2010.

Breuer wrote that the indictment would stay under wraps “until another investigation, Phoenix-based ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ is ready for takedown.”

And Michael Walther, director of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), told Holder in a July 2010 memo that NDIC and a Phoenix drug enforcement task force would assist the ATF with an investigation of a suspected gun trafficker, Manuel Celis-Acosta, as part of operation Fast and Furious.

“This investigation, initiated in September 2009 in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Phoenix police department, involves a Phoenix-based firearms trafficking ring,” the memo read.

“Celis-Acosta and [redacted] straw purchasers are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”

DOJ officials told CBS that Holder misunderstood Issa’s question and that he had surface knowledge of Fast and Furious, but didn’t know the details.

A former DOJ official told Fox News that Holder receives dozens of memos every week and probably doesn’t have time to read all of them.

Fast and Furious involved the sale of thousands of guns in the Southwest to buyers for Mexican drug cartels and may have contributed to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.



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