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Additional Questions Arise In The Operation Fast And Furious Probe: Who Knew What And When
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Additional Questions Arise In the Operation Fast And Furious Probe: Who Knew What And When

The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee will be seeking special counsel to look into allegations that Attorney General Eric Holder may have lied during testimony in May of this year and that he has been covering up his knowledge of problems with Operation Fast and Furious for nearly a year.

Representative Lamar Smith, R-Texas, in a letter to the President stated that the allegations being leveled that the Justice Department officials intentionally misled Congress are “extremely troubling” and requested that they be thoroughly investigated. Special counsel may be the only way to accomplish a thorough investigation at this point, with all agencies pointing fingers at each other and no one trusting anyone else.

In a twist that sounds like it belongs in a Hollywood blockbuster, leaked documents have surfaced not only on Capital Hill but to the CNN newsroom as well. Those documents seem to be very damning proof that Holder did know about the operation much earlier than his sworn testimony indicates. Holder’s statements have conflicted with one another at times, but at no point does he admit knowing as far back as January. Included in the documents are a number of emails, some dating from last year, all discussing the operation.

Holder testified in May that the special operation known as Fast and Furious had come to his intention “ a few weeks prior” to that investigation. But, Senator Charles Grassley, from Iowa himself testified that Holder knew as far back as the end of January when his office directly asked the Attorney General for a number of documents for its own investigation into Fast and Furious.

Operation Fast and Furious is the name of a joint operation from a number of agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The intention was to allow several illegal gun sales to be made between agencies in Phoenix, Arizona to Mexico in the hopes that they would be able to track the gun sales back to the violent drug cartels that are holding Mexico and much of the US border hostage. Operation Fast and Furious came under fire from both Mexican officials as well as critics in the US especially after guns in the program were linked to violent murder scenes in both nations.

In December, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was found murdered. Two weapons recovered at the scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious.

Operation Fast and Furious is not the only black eye for the Department of Justice, however. In February of 2010, Vicente Zambada Niebla was extradited to the US for drug trafficking. Niebla is the son of Ismail Zambada Garcia, the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel. At the time of his arrest, Niebla claimed that he had the authority to traffic in cocaine because he was providing intel on the cartel’s rivals and had been doing so for five years. The DOJ immediately disavowed any knowledge of the arrangement but later admitted that contact had been made with a lawyer representing Niebla as far back as 2009.


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