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June 20, 2012

Holder "Retracts" Claim That Bush Was Briefed About Fast & Furious Gun-Selling

It's amusing that the one additional page of information they released today concerns the Bush-era "Wide Receiver" program.

Grassley released this memo:

To: Reporters and Editors

Re: Second retraction of Fast and Furious Assertions

Da: Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Justice Department has retracted a second statement made to the Senate Judiciary Committee. During a hearing last week, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that his predecessor, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had been briefed about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver. Now, the Department is retracting that statement and claiming Holder "inadvertently" made that claim to the Committee. The Department's letter failed to apologize to former Attorney General Mukasey for the false accusation. This is the second major retraction the Justice Department has made in the last seven months. In December 2011, the Department retracted its claim that the ATF had not allowed illegally purchased guns to be trafficked to Mexico. Sen. Chuck Grassley's letter and the Department's response can be viewed here-1.

In addition, the Justice Department released only one page of additional material prior to the Attorney General's meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. It is a page of handwritten notes by a public affairs specialist for the Deputy Attorney General, which the Department says it "just recently discovered." The notes indicate that when Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein met with senior ATF officials on April 28, 2010, regarding the problem of gunwalking in Wide Receiver, the Deputy Attorney General's public affairs specialist also attended the meeting. These notes can be viewed here-2.

The notes indicate that Fast and Furious was also a topic discussed at the meeting, in addition to Wide Receiver. These notes further corroborate contemporaneous emails in 2010 that show Criminal Division Chief Lanny Breuer and Weinstein seemed to have been more concerned about the press implications of gunwalking than they were about making sure ATF ended the practice. (These emails can be viewed here-3.) The notes also undermine the claim that senior DOJ officials failed to "make the connection" between the gunwalking in Wide Receiver--which Breuer admitted to knowing about--and gunwalking in Fast and Furious. In fact, both cases were discussed by senior Department leadership and senior ATF leadership.

"There's Been A Tendency of this Administration To... Hide Behind Executive Privilege, Whenever Something Shakey Is Taking Place... They'd Be Best Served By Coming Clean."

Yeah, you said it, buddy.

Wait -- you said that?!


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posted by Ace at 01:50 PM

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