Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rep. Issa Subpoenas Holder in 'Fast and Furious' Probe




By FOX News

WASHINGTON - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a subpoena Wednesday to Attorney General Eric Holder as part of his investigation into the gun trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious."

"Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged," he said in a statement. "The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It's time we know the whole truth."

The subpoena seeks, among other things, all communications regarding the operation from 16 top Justice Department officials, including Holder, his chief of staff, Gary Grindler, and the head of the department's criminal division, Lanny Breuer, as well as correspondence on specific dates to and from the former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix field division, William Newell.

It also asks for all documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including any correspondence outlining the details of Zapata's mission at the time he was murdered.

Congressional investigators are also demanding information regarding the investigation into the death of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two guns found at Terry's crime scene were linked to the failed operation that allowed more than 2,000 weapons to "walk." The program encouraged gun stores throughout the southwestern US to sell weapons to known and suspected straw buyers in the hopes of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels.

The subpoena also asks for correspondence that Justice Department officials had with the White House about the gun trafficking operation, as well as what information was shared by Justice officials in Mexico.

This subpoena follows the first one issued in March to the ATF.

Asked about the development Tuesday, Holder said his department would "undoubtedly comply" with the subpoenas, noting that Justice officials have already sent "thousands of pages of documents up to the Hill."

But Holder would not answer whether he or anyone else at the department knew about the controversial tactics.

The new subpoena follows a week of back and forth between congressional investigators and Justice Department officials about "who knew what, when." Under scrutiny was Holder's testimony from May 3 when he told Issa that he "probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks."
Documents addressed to Holder as early as nine months before that testimony described the concept of Fast and Furious.

In addition to the congressional investigation being led by Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is calling for a special counsel to look into the matter.

Read more: www.foxnews.com



Issa Subpoenas Holder and DOJ for Fast and Furious Documents

Attorney General Holder subpoenaed for documents in ATF "Gunwalker" Fast and Furious case

By Sharyl Attkisson
 
 
 
 
Attorney General Eric Holder is seen at a press conference, October 11, 2011.
Attorney General Eric Holder is seen at a press conference, October 11, 2011.
(Credit: CBS News)
 
Today, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee sent a wide-ranging documents subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder. It asks for all communications regarding Fast and Furious or any other Phoenix-based firearms trafficking case involving Holder and 15 other senior Justice Department officials.
As CBS News has reported, Fast and Furious and a number of other ATF trafficking operations as far back as 2006 allegedly used a controversial tactic called "letting guns walk." That means agents allowed the weapons to be sold to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels without interdicting them. The idea was to eventually get enough evidence to take down a cartel.

Holder responds to critics on Fast and Furious 
 
Today's subpoena seeks documents that Justice Department hasn't provided voluntarily over the past months. It also asks for many specific communications among Justice Department officials, ATF officials and the Arizona U.S. Attorney's office.

Memos contradict Holder on "Fast and Furious"
 
Yesterday at a news conference on an unrelated topic, Holder told reporters "We have sent thousands of pages of documents up to the Hill. We'll look at the subpoenas. I'm sure we will undoubtedly comply with them."

Holder added that in dealing with the Fast and Furious inquiry, it will not detract his agency from important business it has to do.

(Watch Holder's statement to Congress in May, 2011 below)



CBS NEWS

Ten Arizona Sheriffs Call for Special Counsel to Probe Fast and Furious

Oversight Committee Subpoenas Attorney General for ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ Communications and Documents








WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced the issuance of a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. for Justice Department documents related to the "Operation Fast and Furious" gun walking scandal.
"Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged," said Chairman Issa. "The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It's time we know the whole truth."
The subpoena seeks the following:
In accordance with the attached schedule instructions, you, Eric H. Holder Jr., are required to produce all records in unredacted form described below:
  1. All communications referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jacob Chambers case, or any Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) firearms trafficking case based in Phoenix, Arizona, to or from the following individuals:
a. Eric Holder Jr., Attorney General;
b. David Ogden, Former Deputy Attorney General;
c. Gary Grindler, Office of the Attorney General and former Acting Deputy Attorney General;
d. James Cole, Deputy Attorney General;
e. Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General;
f. Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General;
g. Kenneth Blanco, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
h. Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
i. John Keeney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
j. Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
k. Matt Axelrod, Associate Deputy Attorney General;
l. Ed Siskel, former Associate Deputy Attorney General;
m. Brad Smith, Office of the Deputy Attorney General;
n. Kevin Carwile, Section Chief, Capital Case Unit, Criminal Division;
o. Joseph Cooley, Criminal Fraud Section, Criminal Division; and,
p. James Trusty, Acting Chief, Organized Crime and Gang Section.
2. All communications between and among Department of Justice (DOJ) employees and Executive Office of the President employees, including but not limited to Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any other firearms trafficking cases.
3. All communications between DOJ employees and Executive Office of the President employees referring or relating to the President's March 22, 2011 interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision.
4. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) failed to interdict weapons that had been illegally purchased or transferred.
5. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where ATF broke off surveillance of weapons and subsequently became aware that those weapons entered Mexico.
6. All documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including but not limited to documents and communications regarding Zapata's mission when he was murdered, Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony (FD-302), photographs of the crime scene, and investigative reports prepared by the FBI.
7. All communications to or from William Newell, former Special Agent-in-Charge for ATF's Phoenix Field Division, between:
a. December 14, 2010 to January 25, 2011; and,
b. March 16, 2009 to March 19, 2009.
8. All Reports of Investigation (ROIs) related to Operation Fast and Furious or ATF Case Number 785115-10-0004.
9. All communications between and among Matt Axelrod, Kenneth Melson, and William Hoover referring or relating to ROIs identified pursuant to Paragraph 7.
10. All documents and communications between and among former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., former Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any OCDETF case originating in Arizona.
11. All communications sent or received between:
a. December 16, 2009 and December 18, 2009, and;
b. March 9, 2011 and March 14, 2011, to or from the following individuals:
      • Emory Hurley, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
      • Michael Morrissey, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
      • Patrick Cunningham, Chief, Criminal Division, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
      • David Voth, Group Supervisor, ATF; and,
      • Hope MacAllister, Special Agent, ATF.
12. All communications sent or received between December 15, 2010 and December 17, 2010 to or from the following individuals in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona:
a. Dennis Burke, former United States Attorney;
b. Emory Hurley, Assistant United States Attorney;
c. Michael Morrissey, Assistant United States Attorney; and,
d. Patrick Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division.
13. All communications sent or received between August 7, 2009 and March 19, 2011 between and among former Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual; Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer; and, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz.
14. All communications sent or received between August 7, 2009 and March 19, 2011 between and among former Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual and any Department of Justice employee based in Mexico City referring or relating to firearms trafficking initiatives, Operation Fast and Furious or any firearms trafficking case based in Arizona, or any visits by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to Mexico.
15. Any FD-302 relating to targets, suspects, defendants, or their associates, bosses, or financiers in the Fast and Furious investigation, including but not limited to any FD-302s ATF Special Agent Hope MacAllister provided to ATF leadership during the calendar year 2011.
16. Any investigative reports prepared by the FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) referring or relating to targets, suspects, or defendants in the Fast and Furious case.
17. Any investigative reports prepared by the FBI or DEA relating to the individuals described to Committee staff at the October 5, 2011 briefing at Justice Department headquarters as Target Number 1 and Target Number 2.
18. All documents and communications in the possession, custody or control of the DEA referring or relating to Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta.
19. All documents and communications between and among FBI employees in Arizona and the FBI Laboratory, including but not limited to employees in the Firearms/Toolmark Unit, referring or relating to the firearms recovered during the course of the investigation of Brian Terry's death.
20. All agendas, meeting notes, meeting minutes, and follow-up reports for the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys between March 1, 2009 and July 31, 2011, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious.
21. All weekly reports and memoranda for the Attorney General, either directly or through the Deputy Attorney General, from any employee in the Criminal Division, ATF, DEA, FBI, or the National Drug Intelligence Center created between November 1, 2009 and September 30, 2011.
22. All surveillance tapes recorded by pole cameras inside the Lone Wolf Trading Co. store between 12:00 a.m. on October 3, 2010 and 12:00 a.m. on October 7, 2010.
###

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Subpoena Expected in 'Fast & Furious' Probe

"Gunwalking" subpoena for AG Holder imminent

By Sharyl Attkisson



Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill before a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing in this May 3, 2011 file photo. (AP)

(CBS News) 

CBS News has learned a congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder could go out as early as Tuesday, ordering him to turn over documents to lawmakers about when he was aware of a controversial gun smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious.


CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and "gunwalking."

Video: AG Holder may be subpoenaed by Congress
ATF gunwalking subpoenas may be sent this week
Video: Ariz. sheriff seeks independent gunwalking investigation

The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson - more than a dozen of them - by name.
In Fast and Furious, the ATF allegedly allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to see where the weapons ended up, and take down a cartel. But the guns have been found at many crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.


A source familiar with the Oversight Committee's plans tells CBS News the subpoena request was prompted by the Justice Department dragging its feet in voluntarily turning over information to investigators, and new documents obtained by CBS News last week which seem to contradict Holder's account of when he learned of the operation.




More questions were raised by the documents reported on last week, which indicate senior officials at the Justice Department knew at least something of Fast and Furious, and memos were sent directly to the Attorney General as long as ten months before he told Congress he first heard of the case. (Watch a full report on the memos at left)

Holder sent a letter to Congress late Friday that said he never read those memos mentioning Fast and Furious, that those are read by others who decide whether to tell him and they didn't. And he says even those who knew of Fast and Furious, including his current Chief of Staff, didn't know about the controversial tactic of "letting guns walk" into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Issa to Holder: “You Own Fast and Furious”








WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder responding to his letter of October 7. The text of Chairman Issa's letter to Attorney General Holder is below:

Dear Attorney General Holder:

From the beginning of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations to justify its involvement in this reckless and deadly program. These defenses have been aimed at undermining the investigation. From the start, the Department insisted that no wrongdoing had occurred and asked Senator Grassley and me to defer our oversight responsibilities over its concerns about our purported interference with its ongoing criminal investigations. Additionally, the Department steadfastly insisted that gunwalking did not occur.

Once documentary and testimonial evidence strongly contradicted these claims, the Department attempted to limit the fallout from Fast and Furious to the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). When that effort also proved unsuccessful, the Department next argued that Fast and Furious resided only within ATF itself, before eventually also assigning blame to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona. All of these efforts were designed to circle the wagons around DOJ and its political appointees.

To that end, just last month, you claimed that Fast and Furious did not reach the upper levels of the Justice Department. Documents discovered through the course of the investigation, however, have proved each and every one of these claims advanced by the Department to be untrue. It appears your latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in your letter from Friday you now claim that you were unaware of Fast and Furious because your staff failed to inform you of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to you. At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt.

Following the Committee's issuance of a subpoena over six months ago, I strongly believed that the Department would fully cooperate with Congress and support this investigation with all the means at its disposal. The American people deserve no less. Unfortunately, the Department's cooperation to date has been minimal. Hundreds of pages of documents that have been produced to my Committee are duplicative, and hundreds more contain substantial redactions, rendering them virtually worthless. The Department has actively engaged in retaliation against multiple whistleblowers, and has, on numerous occasions, attempted to disseminate false and misleading information to the press in an attempt to discredit this investigation.

Your letter dated October 7 is deeply disappointing. Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Department's responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program. You claim that, after months of silence, you "must now address these issues" over Fast and Furious because of the harmful discourse of the past few days. Yet, the only major development of these past few days has been the release of multiple documents showing that you and your senior staff had been briefed, on numerous occasions, about Fast and Furious.

The Mexican Cartels

A month after you became Attorney General, you spoke of the danger of the Mexican drug cartels, and the Sinaloa cartel in particular. The cartels, you said, "are lucrative, they are violent, and they are operated with stunning planning and precision." You promised that under your leadership "these cartels will be destroyed." You vowed that the Department of Justice would "continue to work with [its] counterparts in Mexico, through information sharing, training and mutual cooperation to jointly fight these cartels, both in Mexico and the United States."

Under your leadership, however, Operation Fast and Furious has proven these promises hollow. According to one agent, Operation Fast and Furious "armed the cartel. It is disgusting." Fast and Furious simply served as a convenient means for dangerous cartels to acquire upwards of 2,000 assault-style weapons. On top of that, the Government of Mexico was not informed about Fast and Furious. In fact, DOJ and ATF officials actively engaged in hiding information about Fast and Furious from not only Mexican officials, but also U.S. law enforcement officials operating in Mexico for fear that they would inform their Mexican counterparts. This strategy is inapposite and contradicts the promises you made to the American people.

Your September 7, 2011 Statement

On September 7, 2011, you said that "[t]he notion that [Fast and Furious] reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that at this point I don't think is supported by the facts and I think once we examine it and once the facts are revealed we'll see that's not the case." Unfortunately, the facts directly contradict this statement.

Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, clearly a member of the Department's senior leadership, knew about Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. In fact, I have learned that the amount of detail shared with Breuer's top deputies about Fast and Furious is simply astounding.

For example, Manuel Celis-Acosta was the "biggest fish" of the straw purchasing ring in Phoenix. From the time the investigation started in September 2009 until March 15, 2010, Manuel Celis-Acosta acquired at least 852 firearms valued at around $500,000 through straw purchasers. Yet in 2009, Celis-Acosta reported an Arizona taxable income of only $15,475. Between September 2009 and late January 2010, 139 of these firearms were recovered, 81 in Mexico alone. Some of these firearms were recovered less than 24 hours after they were bought.

This information, and hundreds of pages worth of additional information, was included in highly detailed wiretap applications sent for authorization to Breuer's top deputies. It is my understanding, the Department applied to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona for numerous wire taps from March 2010 to July 2010. These wire tap applications were reviewed and approved by several Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals, including Kenneth A. Blanco, John C. Keeney, and Jason M. Weinstein. Breuer's top deputies approved these wiretap applications to be used against individuals associated with the known drug cartels. As I understand it, the wire tap applications contain rich detail of the reckless operational tactics being employed by your agents in Phoenix. Although Breuer and his top deputies were informed of the operational details and tactics of Fast and Furious, they did nothing to stop the program. In fact, on a trip to Mexico Breuer trumpeted Fast and Furious as a promising investigation.

Gary Grindler, the then-Deputy Attorney General and currently your Chief of Staff, received an extremely detailed briefing on Operation Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010. In this briefing, Grindler learned such minutiae as the number of times that Uriel Patino, a straw purchaser on food stamps who ultimately acquired 720 firearms, went in to a cooperating gun store and the amount of guns that he had bought. When former Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, a career federal prosecutor, learned similar information, he became sick to his stomach:

I had pulled out all Patino's -- and ROIs is, I'm sorry, report of investigation -- and you know, my stomach being in knots reading the number of times he went in and the amount of guns that he bought. Transcribed interview of Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson at 42.

At the time of his briefing in March of last year, Grindler knew that Patino had purchased 313 weapons and paid for all of them in cash. Unlike Melson, Grindler clearly saw nothing wrong with this. If Grindler had had the sense to shut this investigation down right then, he could have prevented the purchase of an additional 407 weapons by Patino alone. Instead, Grindler did nothing to stop the program.

Following this briefing, it is clear that Grindler did one of two things. Either, he alerted you to the name and operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case your May 3, 2011 testimony in front of Congress was false; or, he failed to inform you of the name and the operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case Grindler engaged in gross dereliction of his duties as Acting Deputy Attorney General. It is fair to infer from the fact that Grindler remains as your Chief of Staff that he did not engage in gross dereliction of his duties and told you about the program as far back as March of 2010.

In the summer of 2010, at the latest, you were undoubtedly informed about Fast and Furious. On at least five occasions you were told of the connection between Fast and Furious and a specific Mexican cartel – the very cartel that you had vowed to destroy. You were informed that Manuel Celis-Acosta and his straw purchasers were responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. Yet, you did nothing to stop this program.
You failed to own up to your responsibility to safeguard the American public by hiding behind "[a]ttorneys in [your] office and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General," who you now claim did not bring this information to your attention. Holder Letter, supra note 1. As a result of your failure to act on these memos sent to you, nearly 500 additional firearms were purchased under Fast and Furious.

The facts simply do not support any claim that Fast and Furious did not reach the highest levels of the Justice Department. Actually, Fast and Furious did reach the ultimate authority in the Department – you.

Your May 3, 2011 Statement

On May 3, 2011, I asked you directly when you first knew about the operation known as Fast and Furious. You responded directly, and to the point, that you weren't "sure of the exact date, but [you] probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." This statement, made before Congress, has proven to be patently untrue. Documents released by the Department just last week showed that you received at least seven memos about Fast and Furious starting as early as July 2010.

In your letter Friday, you blamed your staff for failing to inform you about Operation Fast and Furious when they reviewed the memos sent to you last summer. Your staff, therefore, was certainly aware of Fast and Furious over a year ago. Lanny Breuer was aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010, and Gary Grindler was also aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. Given this frequency of high level involvement with Fast and Furious as much as a year prior to your May 3, 2011 testimony, it simply is not believable that you were not briefed on Fast and Furious until a few weeks before your testimony. At the very least, you should have known about Fast and Furious well before then. The current paper trail, which will only grow more robust as additional documents are discovered, creates the strong perception that your statement in front of Congress was less than truthful.

The February 4, 2011 Letter

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this intransigence is that the Department of Justice has been lying to Congress ever since the inquiry into Fast and Furious began. On February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that "ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transport into Mexico." This letter, vetted by both the senior ranks of ATF as well as the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, is a flat-out lie.

As we understand it, in March 2010, top deputies to Lanny Breuer were informed that law enforcement officers intercepted calls that demonstrated that Manuel Celis-Acosta was conspiring to purchase and transport firearms for the purpose of trafficking the firearms from the United States into Mexico. Not only was ATF aware of this information, but so was the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This information was shared with the Criminal Division. All of these organizations are components of the Department of Justice, and they were all aware of the illegal purchase of firearms and their eventual transportation into Mexico.

These firearms were not interdicted. They were not stopped. Your agents allowed these firearms purchases to continue, sometimes even monitoring them in person, and within days some of these weapons were being recovered in Mexico. Despite widespread knowledge within its senior ranks that this practice was occurring, when asked on numerous occasions about the veracity of this letter, the Department has shockingly continued to stand by its false statement of February 4, 2011.

Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.

Operation Fast and Furious was the Department's most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives – destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.

Sincerely,

Darrell Issa

Chairman

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guns From Operation Fast and Furious Reportedly Found in Home of Suspected Mexican Drug Cartel Enforcer




Assault weapons lost under the Fast and Furious gun surveillance program have been found in the Mexican home of the alleged leader of a massive drug cartel, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Forty high-powered assault weapons were found in the Ciudad Juarez home of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a "feared" leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel in that city, according to the Times. The Sinaloa cartel is considered the most powerful drug trafficking organization in the world.

"These Fast and Furious guns were going to Sinaloans, and they are killing everyone down there," one knowledgeable US government source told the Times.

The guns were part of a stash of weapons that went missing in Operation Fast and Furious, which was initiated in October 2009. Under the program, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraged gun stores throughout the southwestern US to sell weapons to known and suspected straw buyers in the hopes of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels.

Instead, more than 2,000 weapons were trafficked along the US-Mexico border, many to the Sinaloa cartel, and some guns were used in violent crimes in Mexico.

The House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee is planning to subpoena Attorney General Eric Holder this week to determine who in the Justice Department knew about the program and the missing guns, FOXNews.com reported Sunday. Holder maintains he knew nothing of the botched program until April.
Mexican police found the guns in Torres Marrufo's home in April 2011, but the suspected cartel member was not home at the time.

Torres Marrufo, who has eluded capture, has been indicted in El Paso. He is alleged to be the enforcer for Sinaloa cartel chief Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman.


New Subpoenas Prepared in 'Fast and Furious' Probe





The House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee is planning on issuing new subpoenas this week to determine who in the Justice Department knew what about "Operation Fast and Furious" -- the plan to let thousands of guns sold in the U.S. get into Mexican drug cartel hands -- and when they knew it.

The subpoenas, expected to address an array of Obama administration officials, aims to get at the heart of the authorization for the program, and when the people in charge decided the program was a problem.


"When did they know it wasn't the right way to do it and why (did) they keep doing it?" asked committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.,

Issa, who is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee where Attorney General Eric Holder testified in May that he'd only learned of the program a few weeks earlier, told "Fox News Sunday" that "people in the top" of the Justice Department knew about the operation, were "well-briefed about it, and seemed to be the command and control and funding for this program."

Issa said those officials, which may or may not include Holder, would have known that the program was facing objections from law enforcement personnel in the field, but appeared to continue to let guns "walk" across the border.

"We didn't just have a few (guns) not be tracked. The whole program was about not tracking them until they were found in the scene of crimes. And they didn't just allow. They facilitated just one guy buy, one straw buy, over 700 weapons," Issa said.

On Friday, Holder issued a stern response to calls for a special counsel to probe the matter, saying he told the truth when he informed Congress he only heard about the program for the first time in April 2011. He added that earlier mentions of the program listed in at least five memos dated to 2010 did not indicate on first blush any problems with the program.

"I do not and cannot read them cover to cover," Issa wrote. "Here, no issues concerning 'Fast and Furious' were brought to my attention because the information presented in the report did not suggest a problem."

Freshman Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said he can understand someone at Holder's level not reviewing every document that reaches his desk, but that when Holder knew he was going to testify about "Fast and Furious" to a House panel, he should have gotten brushed up on the program and its impact, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Guns linked to Fast and Furious were found at Terry's crime scene.

Labrador told Fox News that the response from Holder leaves him with no option but to conclude dishonesty or incompetence.

"By the time Officer Terry had been killed, there were other crimes linked to these guns. Why did he to not do the research and find out how much his office knew? He was either lying or willfully neglecting to do his due diligence before he came before Congress," Labrador said.

"If, in fact, a border patrol agent has been murdered, 2,000 weapons have gone, this program has completely gone off of the rails, why didn't he know?" Issa asked.

In his response to House Republicans, Holder said that his critics have political motivations and added that he takes issue with the allegation that federal agents were "accessories to murder."

"Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms," Holder wrote. "Those who serve in the ranks of law enforcement are our nation's heroes and deserve our nation's thanks, not the disrespect that is being heaped on them by those who seek political advantage."

But Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu said his state's elected sheriffs, of whom nine out of 15 are Democrats, support a special counsel.

"My deputies and officers across the southwest could face the barrel of a gun that our own government, Eric Holder and the president, put into the hands of these criminals," Babeu told Fox News. "Whoever approved this should be criminally held to account for this."

Issa said a special counsel should be appointed because "Eric Holder cannot investigate himself," but he said he's not going to let that get in the way of his investigation, which has been conducted in conjunction with Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa.

"Our investigation, along with Senator Grassley has to get to the bottom of this sooner, not later, because the American people and people in Mexico don't trust their government right now," he said.

Labrador said whoever came up with the Fast and Furious program "needs to be
fired."

"Anybody who failed to do their duty, because of this program, needs to be fired as well," he said.


Fox News

Issa Announces Fast and Furious Subpoenas of Holder and the DOJ