Key Findings in OIG Fast and Furious Report

September 20, 2012
***Hearing Today with IG at 9:30 AM***

Key Findings in OIG Fast and Furious Report

On why Attorney General Holder was not aware of Crucial Information about Operation Fast and Furious and Other Gunwalking

“We concluded that the Attorney General’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and the leadership of the Criminal Division failed to alert the Attorney General to significant information about or flaws in those investigations.” (p. 453)

Department’s effort to mislead Congress “Troubling”

“We also concluded that by the date of its May 2 letter to Sen. Grassley, senior Department officials responsible for drafting the letter knew or should have known that ATF had not made ‘every effort to interdict weapons purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico,’ either in Operation Fast and Furious or other firearms trafficking investigations … Given that senior Department officials’ confidence in the accuracy of the February 4 letter was decreasing rather than increasing as their internal review progressed, we found it troubling that the Department’s May 2 response letter to Sen. Grassley included a substantive statement – albeit a qualified one – regarding the Fast and Furious investigation.” (p. 396)
 
Contradicts denials by Holder, Cummings of significant information about reckless tactics in wiretap affidavits
 
(11/8/11) Attorney General Holder: “I don’t have any information that indicates that those wiretap applications had anything in them that talked about the tactics that have made this such a bone of contention and have legitimately raised the concern of members of Congress, as well as those of us in the Justice Department. I – I’d be surprised if the tactics themselves about gun walking were actually contained in those – in those applications.”

(6/5/2012) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings: “[A]ll six of these wiretap applications state explicitly that law enforcement agents on the ground in Arizona did not observe the illegal acts of transferring firearms to unauthorized persons or trafficking firearms across the border to Mexico.”

(9/19/12) DOJ IG rebuke: “We found that the affidavits described specific incidents that would suggest to a prosecutor who was focused on the question of investigative tactics that ATF was employing a strategy of not interdicting weapons or arresting known straw purchasers.”  (p. 277)

“Moreover, a reader of only the 5-page OEO cover memorandum would have learned significant facts [redacted] . . . We concluded that a reader of the OEO cover memorandum would infer from the facts stated that ATF agents did not take enforcement action to interdict the weapons or arrest [redacted].”  (p. 279)

[Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason] Weinstein told us that when he received the first wiretap application he was asked to review for Operation Fast and Furious just two weeks later, on May 18, 2010, he did not review the agent’s affidavit in support of the application. Moreover, although Weinstein told us that he reviewed the OEO cover memoranda accompanying that application, he failed to recognize that the memoranda clearly suggested that ATF agents had monitored purchases of firearms that they knew were illegal, and allowed a known straw purchaser to continue his illegal activities for a gun trafficking organization that sold weapons to a drug cartel in Mexico. (p.456)

Faults conduct of Criminal Division head, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer
 
“Breuer told us that upon learning this information, he told Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein to talk to ATF leadership to make sure that they understood that the Criminal Division planned to move forward with the case, but that the investigation had used “obviously flawed” techniques. Given the significance of this issue and the fact that ATF reports to the Deputy Attorney General, we believe Breuer should have promptly informed the Deputy Attorney General or the Attorney General about the matter in April 2010. Breuer failed to do so.” (p. 455)
 
Office of the Attorney General faulted in response to Agent Terry’s death
 
“Neither the [Office of the Attorney General] or [Office of the Deputy Attorney General] took appropriate action after learning that firearms found at the scene [of the Terry murder] were connected to the Operation.  We believe that an aggressive response to the information was required, including prompt notification of the Attorney General and appropriate inquiry of ATF and the US Attorney’s Office.  However, we found that senior officials who were aware of this information, including Grindler, took no action whatsoever.”  (p. 302)
 
Expresses disagreement with Holder’s laissez-faire approach to Terry Murder
 
“When we asked Holder whether he believed that his staff should have informed him sooner about the connection between Fast and Furious and the firearms found at the scene of the Terry shooting, he said that he would not have expected to receive that information absent some indication that ‘inappropriate tactics’ had been used in the investigation.  However, Holder’s Chief of Staff told us that he believed this information was significant and that it should have been brought to the Attorney General’s attention.  We agree.” (p.303)