On Monday, the Department of Justice was forced to once again retractinformation provided to Congress about the Fast and Furious scandal.
OnJune 12th, Attorney General Holder had a heated exchange with Sen.Cornyn during congressional testimony. Senator Cornyn offered a litanyof complaints with AG Holder’s performance and then concluded by askingfor his resignation. Ironically, Holder responded by saying Sen.Cornyn’s statement was “breathtaking in its inaccuracy,” then went on tooffer an inaccurate response (Holder’s remarks begin at 4 minutes):
If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the AttorneyGeneral that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fastand Furious. An Attorney General who I suppose you would hold inhigher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operationcalled Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them – nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance. [emphasis added]
Senator Grassley’s staff jumped on this statement and sent the DOJ a letter asking for clarification of what AG Holder was claiming:
This is a serious charge. However, as far as I’m aware, theJustice Department has produced nothing to date that indicates anyformer Attorney General was briefed on Operation Wide Receiver…
If the Justice Department has documentation about Operation WideReceiver which it has not yet produced and which indicate a higher levelof awareness of gunwalking than has previously been indicated, suchevidence should be produced immediately.
It turns out Justice couldn’t produce anything to back up Holder’sclaims, so they were forced to retract his statement in a letter datedJune 18th, just two days before his contempt proceeding:
As we explained in a letter to Chairman Issa on March 16th, 2012,and as you note, this briefing paper concerned the case of FidelHernandez, not Wide Receiver as the Attorney General inadvertently stated at the hearing. [emphasis added]
Attorney General Holder’s references to Wide Receiver during histestimony have been anything but inadvertent. In testimony on June 7,2012, Rep. Jason Chaffetz read an October 2010 email written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein which said, “Do you think we should have Lanny participate in press when Fast andFurious and Laura’s Tucson case are unsealed? It’s atricky case, given the number of guns that have walked, but itis asignificant set of prosecutions” (emphasis added).
Incredibly, Holder’s response is thatthe email which mentions Fast and Furious by name was about WideReceiver. It truly has to be seen to be believed. Chaffetz is clearlystunned by the response (start at 4 minutes again).
This is not the first time DOJ has been forced to retract statementsto Congress about Fast and Furious. Last year, the DOJ sent a letter toCongress claiming that gunwalking was not sanctioned by the ATF. That claim turned out to be false, and the DOJ later retracted the letter and offered documents to explainhow the false information made its way to Congress.