Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday she did not know about Operation Fast and Furious until a firearm linked to the gun-walking operation was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Napolitano was questioned about her knowledge of the operation by Republican congressmen at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on DHS.
Napolitano said that she was never briefed about the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation — and added that she did not know why — even though she acknowledged that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were told by the ATF to allow guns to be trafficked into Mexico on two occasions in 2009.
“ATF said that these are part of a larger investigation. Stand down,” Napolitano said in response to questions from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
Napolitano, a former U.S. Attorney, also said that she has never spoken to Attorney General Eric Holder about Fast and Furious.
She refused to answer questions from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) about whether or not Department of Justice officials approved of the operation, saying that the matter is being investigated by the department’s Inspector General.
She told Gowdy that she first heard about Fast and Furious after the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, when a gun used in the operation was recovered at the scene of the crime.