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DAG Letter to Issa on Fast and Furious

DAG Letter to Issa on Fast and Furious

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Published by: tpmdocs on Jun 20, 2012
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06/21/2012

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June 19,2012The Honorable Darrell E. IssaChainnanCommittee on Oversight and Government RefonnU.S. House
of
RepresentativesWashington, D.C. 20515Dear Mr. Chainnan:During our meeting today, the Attorney General and I reiterated our concerns about theinappropriate tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious and expressed our appreciation for thewhistleblowers who brought these issues to public attention. The Department also made thegood faith offer
of
an extraordinary accommodation to the Committee that will respond to thesingle outstanding question posed by House Leadership and you in your May 18, 2012 letter tothe Attorney General, namely, whether the Department's February
4,2011
letter to SenatorGrassley "was part
of
a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressionalinvestigation." The answer to that question is an emphatic "no" and we have offered theCommittee the opportunity to satisfy itself that that is so.Today, we offered the Committee documents to answer the question it posed, as well as abriefing, infonnation that would provide greater insight into the documents not being provided,and the ability to ask follow-up questions about these issues. We regret that the Committeerejected our proposal. Our offer would have provided the Committee with unprecedented accessto these documents, many
of
which are not covered by the Committee's subpoenas in this matter.
At
the end
oflast
year, the Department produced documents showing that leaders
of
bothATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office told Department personnel that allegations beingmade about Operation Fast and Furious were false and that Department personnel relied on thoseassertions in drafting the Department's February 4, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley. Eventually,Department leaders concluded that those assertions could not be reconciled with the infonnationbeing provided by Congress and the media, and the Department therefore undertook significantefforts to understand the true facts aboutOperation Fast and Furious. What our review showedwas that Operation Fast and Furious was just one in a series
of
Arizona-based investigationsdating back to 2006 in the prior Administration that had used such tactics. The Department actedreasonably in waiting to fonnally withdraw the February 4 letter to review a large volume
of
electronic materials relating to these matters and to understand the full range
of
the issuespresented.Even before the fonnal withdrawal
of
the February 4 letter, however, Department leaderspublicly indicated that the facts surrounding Operation Fast and Furious were uncertain and that

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