The Justice Department has told Republican lawmakers it will be careful about responding to future requests for information about a botched gun-tracing operation after sensitive law enforcement information leaked to the media.
Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ronald Weich wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) Friday, saying that the information appeared in the news after the Justice Department shared it with members of Congress as part of their inquiry into the Fast and Furious operation.
“While we do not know who provided these letters to reporters, we are deeply disturbed that the sensitive law-enforcement information contained in them has now entered the public realm,” Weich wrote, according to a CNN report. “This public disclosure is impeding the departments’ efforts to hold individuals accountable for their illegal acts.”
Last week, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation report was dissected in the news, showing that a top Fast and Furious suspect, Manuel Celis-Acosta, was detained and questioned but ultimately released.
In his letter, Weich said he would be denying the lawmakers’s further requests for documents pertaining to ongoing operations in order to safeguard their integrity.
An Issa spokeswoman told CNN: “It is troubling that the Attorney General continues to express the outlandish view that his compliance with lawful and binding subpoenas is merely optional.”
Fast and Furious, an operation headed by ATF, tracked about 2,000 guns purchased by straw buyers in the United States and smuggled into Mexico. The bureau aimed to follow the guns’ movements to get proof of Mexican drug cartel involvement. The operation backfired, however, and ATF lost track of hundreds of weapons. Two AK-47s from the operation were found at the scene of a shootout between Mexican drug cartel members and U.S. Border Patrol agents in December 2010. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry was killed in the gunfire.
The House Oversight Committee, of which Issa is chairman, is conducting its own investigation of the Justice Department’s handling of the botched gun-tracing operation. Earlier this month, the Justice Department handed over hundreds of documents related to Fast and Furious. Attorney General Eric Holder has called gun-walking flawed and has ordered the end of such tactics.
Update: This story was updated to clarify which type of document requests the Justice Department will be complying with in the future.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
DOJ is upset because they can’t obstruct justice for the House and Senate and how both the House and Senate knew about the illegal operation… The criminal enterprise continue with its death and destruction… Start Impeachment of the House and Senate members that knew right along with the DOJ officials that participated… Question is will there be anyone left in Washington???