Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer Questions for the Record received December 2, 2011 and letter from Attorney General Eric Holder, October 7, 2011
The February 4th Response - The Justice Department can’t have it both ways
• Attorney General Holder letter to Senator Grassley, Congressman Issa, October 7, 2011: “Senator Grassley has suggested that I was aware of Operation Fast and Furious from letters he provided to me on or about January 31, 2011 that were addressed to the former Acting Director of ATF. However, those letters referred only to an ATF umbrella initiative on the Southwest Border that started under the prior Administration -- Project Gunrunner -- and not to Operation Fast and Furious.”
• Senator Grassley: “Did your Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) Jason Weinstein review the Department’s February 4, 2011 letter to me?”
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, December 2, 2011: “Yes, DAAG Weinstein reviewed the letter; he also participated in its drafting.”
“Based on the documents being produced by the Justice Department, I understand that two emails attaching drafts of the letter were sent to me by DAAG Weinstein on February 2, while I was in Mexico (February 1-3), and that I forwarded one of those emails to my personal email account on that day; I also understand that on February 4, after I had returned from Mexico, I received two emails attaching signed versions of the letter, including the final version, and that on February 5, I forwarded both emails to my personal email account. However, as I testified, I cannot say for sure whether I saw a draft of the letter before it was sent to you.”
The letter which Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein participated in drafting, and which Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer was sent drafts of, stated: “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” Weinstein knew this was clearly false because he knew about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver, which he brought to Breuer’s attention in April 2010. Had Breuer read this letter (he is unclear if he read it), he would have known this sentence was false as well.
Like Senator Grassley’s January 27 letter, the Justice Department’s February 4 letter applied to all of Project Gunrunner, of which both Operation Wide Receiver and Operation Fast and Furious were a part. The Attorney General can’t simultaneously claim that Senator Grassley’s January 27 letter was too broad for him to be aware that Grassley was talking about of Fast and Furious but that their response was so narrow as to only apply to Fast and Furious, which is never specifically named in the Justice Department’s February 4 letter.
Documents supporting the FACTS.