CBS News recently got their hands on secret recordings of conversations about Fast and Furious that took place between an ATF agent and a gun store owner, both of whom were located in the Phoenix area (and both of whom were thoroughly acquainted with Fast and Furious).
The recordings captured agent Hope McAllister talking with Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company, at a time when Howard was noticeably worried that Fast and Furious was going to become public knowledge or be put under the microscope of a congressional investigation. Howard especially feared that Senator Charles Grassley might push for an inquiry of some kind. Thus at least four times in the recordings he can be heard mentioning Grassley, and one of those four times it’s to say someone needs to tell Grassley “to sit [his] a–down.”
What’s also interesting about the recordings is that although they were made in mid-March 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder’s name comes up quite a bit. And his name doesn’t come up because they’re afraid he’s going to find out about Fast and Furious but because he was the one they were counting on to deflect attention from it.
In other words, he was well aware of the operation by mid-March 2011, and this is somewhat ironic because in answering questions from Congressman Darrell Issa on May 3 he said he only learned of Fast and Furious “over the last few weeks.” This means he led Issa to believe the earliest he knew anything about the operation was sometime in April. Yet on the recordings (from mid-March), it is clear Holder was the one Howard hoped would stop the investigative momentum by responding to a letter regarding Fast and Furious from the House Oversight Committee:
HOWARD: “Holder has to respond to this tomorrow.”
McALLISTER: “Yeah, he’s gonna respond.”
HOWARD: “I know he is. And I assure you the media isn’t gonna like his response, because basically it’s gonna mirror what he’s told Grassley.”
HOWARD: “He can’t deviate.” (Italics added.)
As Howard continues to express concern over what Holder will say, Agent MacAllister tries to calm him by saying she believed Holder & Co. would “come out with [something a] little more um b—-y…than they [had] in the past.”
In the next portion of the recording, former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke’s name is referenced. This is where agent MacAllister admits Burke had been more tenacious in handling Fast and Furious inquiries than Holder would be:
McALLISTER: “Well if, I mean, I’ve seen a rough copy of what our U.S. attorney here has sent up. Whether or not [Holder] has the balls to actually use it or not, I doubt it. But I mean, it’s pretty aggressive. The way I see it, our local U.S. attorney is extremely aggressive. [But] when it gets to D.C. …”
HOWARD: “Who, Emory [Hurley]?”
McALLISTER: “No, the U.S. attorney.”
HOWARD: “Burke, yeah, used to work under Clinton. …Talking about [Dennis] Burke?”
McALLISTER: “Mmm hmm.”
It’s somewhat surreal to hear Holder’s name, and to come to the immediate recognition that some of his answers to Issa don’t add up.
And it strikes a strange chord within one’s psyche to hear Burke’s name thrown around as the go getter and the hard hitter on Fast and Furious, and then to remember he’s the one who denied victim of crime status to the family of U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry. (God bless the family of Brian Terry.)
Hopefully these recordings will pull back the sheets on this massive cover-up once and for all.