M E M O R A N D U M
To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Fortune magazine piece on Fast and Furious
Da: Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Fortune magazine piece on Operation Fast and Furious is problematic in several respects. Sen. Chuck Grassley began investigating the circumstances of the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry 18 months ago after whistleblowers came to him with concerns. The following statement is from Grassley’s office. Supporting documents are available here.
“The Fortune piece conspicuously ignores the most important fact in this case: ATF encouraged cooperating dealers to sell guns to known traffickers. That fact is key to understanding how ATF made a strategic choice to track the guns instead of stop them. The central claim of the article, that there was nothing ATF could have done to stop the illegal sales, is simply incompatible with the evidence. If it is true that ATF could not interdict and seize weapons due to legal hurdles beyond its control, then ATF had no business telling gun dealers to go ahead with the sales.
“The Fortune article asks the reader to believe that sworn statements by whistleblowers who put their careers on the line to expose the truth for Brian Terry’s family are merely conspiratorial fabrications for the sole purpose of getting back at their boss. It asks the reader to believe that the ATF Director, the Attorney General, the White House, and Congress all fell victim to the fabrication and completely misinterpreted or misunderstood the thousands of pages of documents that corroborate the whistleblower allegations. The Justice Department retracted its previous denials of those allegations last December 2. If the Fortune article is accurate, the Justice Department’s December 2 retraction would itself be a false capitulation under political pressure aimed at protecting senior DOJ officials at the expense of ATF field office personnel in Arizona.
“The Fortune article inexplicably credits the self-serving statements of the supervisors in Arizona responsible for overseeing Fast and Furious. There is no explanation as to why, given their obvious motive to claim there was no gun-walking to save themselves from criticism and punishment. That’s why the written records, the interviews on the record, and obtaining and weighing all evidence is so important. We can only draw fair, informed conclusions from the facts.”