Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, has been investigating the government law enforcement strategy of allowing guns to “walk” across the Mexican border to drug traffickers for the past 18 months. He and his staff have obtained several key documents through their investigation. Links to key documents with a description of the importance of each follows here.
2. January 8, 2010, Briefing Paper:
ATF briefing paper that explicitly states ATF’s strategy to “allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place.” It is unknown how high up in ATF and/or the Justice Department this briefing paper was provided. A source other than the Justice Department provided it long after Senator Grassley started asking questions. The Justice Department didn’t produce it until June 13, 2011.
5. February 3, 2011, ATF Special Agent Memo
: A memo from an ATF agent in Dallas who had previously been a part of Group VII in Phoenix, the ATF group responsible for Operation Fast and Furious. The agent had substantiated the claims of other whistleblowers to Senator Grassley’s staff, and the agent produced the memo to document what he had told staff. It is known that some in ATF leadership received the memo but not known who else in ATF or the Justice Department received it. The memo should have served as a red flag to the Justice Department not to send its February 4, 2011, letter the next day. A source other than the Justice Department provided the memo to Senator Grassley long after he started asking questions. The Justice Department has never produced this memo, only making it available to view in camera in November 2011.
7. March 9, 2011, Deputy Attorney General Cole reiteration of gunwalking policy
: The Deputy Attorney General email represents the Justice Department’s policy change that supposedly ended gunwalking, but doesn’t necessarily address the problem of ATF’s failing to seize guns that agents have probable cause to interdict based on information from cooperating gun dealers providing ATF with contemporaneous notice of sales.
8. April 13, 2011, Letter from Senator Grassley to DOJ regarding gun dealer emails
: This letter quoted and attached emails from a gun dealer who expressed concerns to what ATF had been asking him to do and, because he had “some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ,” wanted reassurances that the guns he had been encouraged by ATF to sell wouldn’t “ever end up south of the border or in the hands of bad guys.” The emails show ATF assuring the gun dealer that ATF was monitoring the suspects, and organizing a visit of the Assistant U.S. Attorney to the gun dealer’s store to “put [him] at ease.” This gun dealer was not the main gun dealer in Fast and Furious, but corroborated that gun dealer’s testimony. Senator Grassley’s letter attaching these emails also asked, in light of these emails, if the Justice Department stood by its February 4, 2011, denial of gunwalking allegations.
14. List of documents not produced by DOJ
: On June 21, 2012, White House press secretary Jay Carney stated, “[W]e have provided Congress every document that pertains to the operation itself.” This list indicates just a sampling of documents that the Justice Department has never produced but that investigators are either aware exist or have confidentially obtained copies of from whistleblowers.