July 29, 2011

MICHAEL WALSH: Lethal Fiasco: A Justice Department “Fast and Furious” Coverup?

Operation Fast and Furious — the Obama administration’s lethal gun-running fiasco — keeps getting uglier and uglier.

In a series of hearings, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley have been systematically dismantling the administration’s preposterous claim that no one in the Justice Department — which oversees the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — knew anything about the so-called gun-tracking operation. . . . On Tuesday, the ATF agent in charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, told Issa’s House committee that he discussed the operation with the national-security director for North America, Kevin O’Reilly, an old friend, in the form of a “you didn’t get this from me” e-mail in September 2010. (The White House insists the e-mail had nothing to do with Fast and Furious, but instead concerned the larger, legitimate Project Gunrunner gun-tracking program.)

We already knew that the debacle also involved the FBI and the DEA (both part of DoJ), but Newell also revealed that even more agencies were part of the program, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Homeland Security) and the IRS.

It gets worse. Issa and Grassley also have identified a dozen Justice Department officials who they say knew about the program, including former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

Yet President Obama insists that Holder & Co. knew nothing about it.

Color me skeptical. We need a special prosecutor.

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