By PAUL D. THACKER
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) briefed the Department of Justice (DOJ) about the "Fast and Furious" program on March 12, 2010, according to a slide show acquired by POGO. This pushes back the timeline for when DOJ officials claim they were notified of the program by several months.
The House Republican investigation of "Fast and Furious" is unrelenting. Yesterday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-FL) called on President Obama to appoint a special counsel to determine if Attorney General Eric Holder lied during testimony he gave during a congressional hearing last May.
During the hearing, Mr. Holder testified that he had not learned of "Fast and Furious" until a few months prior. However, according to reports yesterday, a memo dated July 2010 shows that Holder was told that straw buyers in the program were “responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels.”
During the program, ATF agents allowed straw buyers to purchase weapons illegally in the United States, so that agents could learn the routes by which weapons were sold to drug cartels in Mexico. Agents normally arrest straw buyers when they are identified, but during Fast and Furious, guns were "allowed to walk."
At least one weapon that was allowed to walk has been implicated in the slaying of a border agent by Mexican drug dealers. And the Los Angeles Times reported last month that firearms allowed to walk from the program may be linked to at least 150 people killed or wounded in Mexico.
DOJ declined to comment on the slides and did not respond to questions from POGO regarding whether Mr. Grindler briefed Mr. Holder on the program.
The slide show acquired by POGO is titled "ATF Monthly Meeting with the Acting Deputy Attorney General" and is dated Friday, March 12, 2010. A slide titled "Operation The Fast And The Furious” shows what appears to be a theater poster from the action movie “Fast & Furious". Another slide discusses total cost of firearm purchases. The final slide shows a picture of AK-47 type rifles laid out on the ground. Handwriting appears on multiple slides.
Most of twists and turns in "Fast and Furious" have been covered by CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson. She disclosed yesterday that White House spokesman Eric Schultz screamed and cursed at her on the phone for reporting on the scandal.
Paul D. Thacker is a POGO Investigator
Image via Gene Hunt