As reported on these pages two days ago, Eric Holder lied in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on May 3, 2011 when he said, "I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." Documents now in the public domain indicate that Holder was extensively briefed numerous times months before the May 2011 Congressional hearing by DOJ officials and had received an official request for an investigation of the ATF gunrunning operation from the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on March 9.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has been under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice since 2003, and thus is Holder's direct responsibility. The Attorney General's assertion that he had only just learned of Operation Fast and Furious simply doesn't hold up against the facts. Further, it invites the obvious question; "What was he trying to hide, and why?"
Michael Walther, Director of the National Drug Intelligence Center, gave at least five weekly briefings to Holder regarding Fast and Furious beginning in July 2010 according to documents released by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). In the first memo, Walther told Holder straw gun buyers for Fast and Furious "are responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to the Mexican drug trafficking cartels."
Serial numbers were used to trace some of those weapons to the assassination of ATF Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010 south of Tucson, Arizona.
In February of 2011, CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson blew the cover on Fast and Furious. (Video here) Aided by anonymous interviews with distraught ATF agents, and whistleblower Agent John Dodson, Attkisson explained the extent of the operation – 2500 weapons according to one agent, including 50 caliber and AK-47 type assault rifles. Repeatedly, agents and cooperating gun dealers raised concerns but were told by superiors to "stand down" and let the massive numbers of weapons "walk" across the border into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels.