Senator Chuck Grassley is asking more questions regarding Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker). This time he is asking the questions of the head of Customs and Border Protection. He wants if they knowingly let Jaime Avila and two of those arrested in Columbus, NM “walk” with firearms even though Border Patrol agents had stopped all three.
Grassley Presses for More Answers on Operation Fast and Furious, Allowing Guns to “Walk”
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley continues to press the administration for answers about the policy that allowed guns to “walk” over the Mexican border. Grassley began questioning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in January. His requests for information about the involvement of various agencies, including ATF, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection have been stonewalled by the administration.
Grassley is now asking Customs and Border Protection for information about reportedly stopping Blas Gutierrez and Miguel Carrillo near the Mexican border. The two were recently indicted as part of a gun trafficking operation involving the mayor of Columbus, New Mexico. Additionally, Grassley is asking about allegations that Customs and Border Protection stopped Jaime Avila, who was recently indicted as the straw purchaser of weapons found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. In both instances, Border Patrol agents allegedly found the gun runners to be in possession of multiple weapons, but let the suspects proceed for unknown reasons.
“No longer can this administration stand idly by and answer every question by saying that the Justice Department Inspector General is investigating. There is too much at stake. U.S. agents may have been killed because of a tragically ill-advised policy,” Grassley said. “The President said a serious mistake may have been made here, and that, if so, he would hold someone accountable. It is clearer every day that serious mistakes were made. Now it’s time for accountability.”
Grassley’s letter to Customs and Border Protection (March 16, 2011) made a specific request for officials knowledgeable about the agency’s involvement in Operation Fast and Furious be made available at a briefing that was already scheduled to take place with Grassley staff. Customs and Border Protection did not make officials available and there have been no attempts by the agency to schedule a subsequent briefing when officials would be available to answer the questions in Grassley’s letter.
Senator Grassley’s letter to Alan Bersin, Comissioner of Customs and Border Protection, can be found here.