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Issa Holder Letter 101011

Issa Holder Letter 101011

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Published by Helen Tansey
October 9, 2011 letter from Rep. Issa to DOJ Holder regarding Fast & Furious. What he knew. When he knew.
October 9, 2011 letter from Rep. Issa to DOJ Holder regarding Fast & Furious. What he knew. When he knew.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Helen Tansey on Oct 11, 2011
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10/11/2011

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DARRELLE.ISSA.CAlIFOANIACHAIRMAN
ONEHUNDREDTWELFTHCONGRESS
ELIJAHE.CUMMINGS,MARYLANDAANKINGMINORITYMEMBERDANBURTON,INDIANAJOHNL.MICA,FLORIDATODDRUSSEllPLATTS,PENNSYLVANIAMICHAEL
R.
TURNER,OHIOPATRICKMcHENRY,NORTHCAROLINAJIMJORDAN.OHIOJASONCHAFFETZ,UTAHCONNIEMACK.FLORIDATIMWALBERG,MICHIGANJAMESLANKFORD.OKLAHOMAJUSTINAMASH.MICHIGANANNMARIEBUERKLE.NEWYORKPAULA.GOSAR.D.D.S.,ARIZONARAUL
R.
LABRADOR.IDAHOPATRICKMEEHAN.PENNSYLVANIASCOTTDESJARLAIS,M.D..TENNESSEEJOEWALSH.ILLINOISTREYGOWDY.SOUTHCAROLINADENNISAROSS.FLORIDAFRANKC.GUINTA,NEWHAMPSHIREBLAKEFARENTHOLD.TEXASMIKEKELLY,PENNSYLVANIA
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MAJoRITY(202)225-5074FACSIMILE{202)225-3974MINORITY(202}225-5051ht:tp://cllersighthouse.gov
EoOLPHUSTOWNS.NEWYORKCAROLYNB.MALONEY.NEWYORKELEANORHOLMESNORTON.DISTRICTOFCOLUMBIADENNIS
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KUCINICH,OHIOJOHNF.TIERNEY.MASSACHUSETTSWM.LACYCLAY.MISSOURISTEPHEN
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LYNCH,MASSACHUSETTSJIMCOOPER,TENNESSEEGERALDE.CONNOLLY.V!RGINIAMIKEQUIGLEY.ILLiNO!SOANNYK.DAVIS.ILLINOISBRUCE
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BRALEY.IOWAPETERWELCH.VERMONTJOHNA.YARMUTH,KENTUCKYCHRISTOPHERS.MURPHY.CoNNECnCUTJACKIESPEIER.CALIFORNIA
COMMITIEEONOVERSIGHTANDGOVERNMENTREFORM2157
RAYBURNHOUSEOFFICEBUILDINGWASHINGTON,
DC20515-6143
LAWRENCE
J.
BRADYSTAFFDIRECTOR
October9,2011TheHonorableEricH.Holder,Jr.AttorneyGeneral
U.s.
DepartmentofJustice950PennsylvaniaAvenue,NWWashington,D.C.20530DearAttorneyGeneralHolder:FromthebeginningofthecongressionalinvestigationintoOperationFastandFurious,theDepartmentofJusticehasofferedarovingsetofever-changingexplanationstojustifyitsinvolvementinthisrecklessanddeadlyprogram.Thesedefenseshavebeenaimedatunderminingtheinvestigation.Fromthestart,theDepartmentinsistedthatnowrongdoinghadoccurredandaskedSenatorGrassleyandmetodeferouroversightresponsibilitiesoveritsconcernsaboutourpurportedinterferencewithitsongoingcriminalinvestigations.Additionally,theDepartmentsteadfastlyinsistedthatgunwalkingdidnotoccur.Oncedocumentaryandtestimonialevidencestronglycontradictedtheseclaims,theDepartmentattemptedtolimitthefalloutfromFastandFurioustothePhoenixFieldDivisionoftheBureauofAlcohol,Tobacco,Firearms,andExplosives(ATF).Whenthateffortalsoprovedunsuccessful,theDepartmentnextarguedthatFastandFuriousresidedonlywithinATFitself,beforeeventuallyalsoassigningblametotheU.S.Attorney'sOfficeinArizona.AlloftheseeffortsweredesignedtocirclethewagonsaroundDOJanditspoliticalappointees.Tothatend,justlastmonth,youclaimedthatFastandFuriousdidnotreachtheupperlevelsoftheJusticeDepartment.Documentsdiscoveredthroughthecourseoftheinvestigation,however,haveprovedeachandeveryoneoftheseclaimsadvancedbytheDepartmenttobeuntrue.
It
appearsyourlatestdefensehasreachedanewlow.Incredibly,inyourletterfromFridayyounowclaimthatyouwereunawareofFastandFuriousbecauseyourstafffailedtoinformyouofinformationcontainedinmemosthatwerespecificallyaddressedtoyou.Atbest,thisindicatesnegligenceandincompetenceinyourdutiesasAttorneyGeneral.Atworst,itplacesyourcredibilityintoseriousdoubt.
 
TheHonorableEricH.Holder,Jr.October9,2011Page2FollowingtheCommittee'sissuanceofasubpoenaoversixmonthsago,IstronglybelievedthattheDepartmentwouldfullycooperatewithCongressandsupportthisinvestigationwithallthemeansatitsdisposal.TheAmericanpeopledeservenoless.Unfortunately,theDepartment'scooperationtodatehasbeenminimal,HundredsofpagesofdocumentsthathavebeenproducedtomyCommitteeareduplicative,andhundredsmorecontainsubstantialredactions,renderingthemvirtuallyworthless.TheDepartmenthasactivelyengagedinretaliationagainstmultiplewhistleblowers,andhas,onnumerousoccasions,attemptedtodisseminatefalseandmisleadinginformationtothepressinanattempttodiscreditthisinvestigation.YourletterdatedOctober7isdeeplydisappointing.InsteadofpledgingallnecessaryresourcestoassistthecongressionalinvestigationindiscoveringthetruthbehindthefundamentallyflawedOperationFastandFurious,yourletterinsteaddidlittlebutobfuscate,shiftblame,berate,andattempttochangethetopicawayfromtheDepartment'sresponsibilityinthecreation,implementation,andauthorizationofthisrecklessprogram.Youclaimthat,aftermonthsofsilence,you"mustnowaddresstheseissues"overFastandFuriousbecauseoftheharmfuldiscourseofthepastfewdays.
I
Yet,theonlymajordevelopmentofthesepastfewdayshasbeenthereleaseofmultipledocumentsshowingthatyouandyourseniorstaffhadbeenbriefed,onnumerousoccasions,aboutFastandFurious.TheMexicanCartelsAmonthafteryoubecameAttorneyGeneral,youspokeofthedangeroftheMexicandrugcartels,andtheSinaloacartelinparticular.Thecartels,yousaid,"arelucrative,theyareviolent,andtheyareoperatedwithstunningplanningandprecision.t"Youpromisedthatunderyourleadership"thesecartelswillbedestroyed.:"YouvowedthattheDepartmentofJusticewould"continuetoworkwith[its]counterpartsinMexico,throughinformationsharing,trainingandmutualcooperationtojointlyfightthesecartels,bothinMexicoandtheUnitedStates.,,4Underyourleadership,however,OperationFastandFurioushasproventhesepromiseshollow.Accordingtooneagent,OperationFastandFurious"armedthecartel.
It
isdisgusting.I"FastandFurioussimplyservedasaconvenientmeansfordangerouscartelstoacquireupwardsof2,000assault-styleweapons.Ontopofthat,theGovernmentofMexicowasnotinformedaboutFastandFurious,Infact,DOJandATFofficialsactivelyengagedinhidinginformationaboutFastandFuriousfromnotonlyMexicanofficials,butalsoU,S.lawenforcementofficialsoperatinginMexicoforfearthattheywouldinformtheirMexican
I
LetterfromAtt'yGen.EricHoldertoChairmanDarrellIssaetal.(Oct.7,2011)[hereinafterHolderLetter].2StatementbyU.S.Att'yGen.EricHolder,AttorneyGeneralEricHolderattheXcelleratorPressConference(Feb..25,2009),availableat
http://www.
i
ustice.gov
/ag/speeches/2009/ag-speech-090225.
html[hereinafterHolderStatement].
3
AssociatedPress,Mexicancartels'drugs,mayhemhisU.S.cities,Feb.26,2009,availableathttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29389404/ns/worldnews-americas/t/mexican-carteIs-drugs-mayhem-h
i
t-
us
-ci
ti
es/.
4
HolderStatement,
supra
note2.
5
TranscribedInterviewofATFActingAttachetoMexicoCarlosCanineat25.
 
TheHonorableEric
H.
Holder,Jr.October9,2011Page3counterparts.ThisstrategyisinappositeandcontradictsthepromisesyoumadetotheAmericanpeople.YourSeptember7,2011StatementOnSeptember7,2011,yousaidthat"[t]henotionthat[FastandFurious]reachesintotheupperlevelsoftheJusticeDepartmentissomethingthatatthispointIdon'tthinkissupportedbythefactsandIthinkonceweexamineitandoncethefactsarerevealedwe'llseethat'snotthecase."Unfortunately,thefactsdirectlycontradictthisstatement.LannyBreuer,theAssistantAttorneyGeneralfortheCriminalDivision,clearlyamemberoftheDepartment'sseniorleadership,knewaboutFastandFuriousasearlyasMarch2010.Infact,IhavelearnedthattheamountofdetailsharedwithBreuer'stopdeputiesaboutFastandFuriousissimplyastounding.Forexample,ManuelCelis-Acostawasthe"biggestfish"ofthestrawpurchasingringinPhoenix.FromthetimetheinvestigationstartedinSeptember2009untilMarch15,2010,ManuelCelis-Acostaacquiredatleast852firearmsvaluedataround$500,000throughstrawpurchasers.Yetin2009,Celis-AcostareportedanArizonataxableincomeofonly$15,475..BetweenSeptember2009andlateJanuary2010,139ofthesefirearmswererecovered,81inMexicoalone.Someofthesefirearmswererecovered
lessthan
24
hoursaftertheywerebought.
Thisinformation,andhundredsofpagesworthofadditionalinformation,wasincludedinhighlydetailedwiretapapplicationssentforauthorizationtoBreuer'stopdeputies.Itismyunderstanding,theDepartmentappliedtotheUnitedStatesDistrictCourtfortheDistrictofArizonafornumerouswiretapsfromMarch2010toJuly2010.ThesewiretapapplicationswerereviewedandapprovedbyseveralDeputyAssistantAttorneyGenerals,includingKennethA.Blanco,JohnC.Keeney,andJasonM.Weinstein.Breuer'stopdeputiesapprovedthesewiretapapplicationstobeusedagainstindividualsassociatedwiththeknowndrugcartels.AsIunderstandit,thewiretapapplicationscontainrichdetailoftherecklessoperationaltacticsbeingemployedbyyouragentsinPhoenix.AlthoughBreuerandhistopdeputieswereinformedoftheoperationaldetailsandtacticsofFastandFurious,theydidnothingtostoptheprogram.Infact,onatriptoMexicoBreuertrumpetedFastandFuriousasapromisinginvestigation.
6
GaryGrindler,thethen-DeputyAttorneyGeneralandcurrentlyyourChiefofStaff,receivedanextremelydetailedbriefingonOperationFastandFuriousonMarch12,2010.Inthisbriefing,GrindlerlearnedsuchminutiaeasthenumberoftimesthatUrielPatino,astrawpurchaseronfoodstampswhoultimatelyacquired720firearms,wentintoacooperatinggunstoreandtheamountofgunsthathehadbought.WhenformerActingATFDirectorKenMelson,acareerfederalprosecutor,learnedsimilarinformation,hebecamesicktohisstomach:
6
Ed,
at22-23.

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