WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Darrell Issa today said that Attorney General Eric Holder received at least five weekly memos beginning in July 2010, including four weeks in a row, describing the ill-advised strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious. The memos were to Holder from Michael Walther, the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center.
The Attorney General told Issa during a House Judiciary Committee in May 2011 that he had just learned of Fast and Furious a few weeks before. Yet, on January 31, in a previously scheduled meeting, Grassley personally handed him two letters about Fast and Furious. Grassley and Issa said they find it very troubling that Holder actually knew of Operation Fast and Furious much earlier, and in greater detail than he ever let on.
The memos specifically said that the straw buyers were “responsible for the purchase of 1500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
“With the fairly detailed information that the Attorney General read, it seems the logical question for the Attorney General after reading in the memo would be “why haven’t we stopped them?” Grassley said. “And if he didn’t ask the questions, why didn’t he or somebody in his office?”
“Attorney General Holder has failed to give Congress and the American people an honest account of what he and other senior Justice Department officials knew about gunwalking and Operation Fast and Furious. The lack of candor and honesty from our nation’s chief law enforcement officials in this matter is deeply disturbing,” Issa said.
Grassley and Issa have been leading the investigation into who approved the strategy to allow guns to be purchased by known straw buyers who then often transferred the firearms to Mexican Drug Cartels.