Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) issued a statement today regarding the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious. He notes that much of what was contained in the report had already been reported by Sen. Grassley and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Grassley noted that the wire tap applications still have not been made public nor have much of what was hidden under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege. Grassley called Obama’s actions “merely thumbing his nose” at Congress.
The full statement is below:
Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the
Judiciary, which has jurisdiction over the Justice Department, made the
following comment after the Inspector General for the Justice
Department released its long awaited report on Operation Fast and
Furious. Grassley first began investigating alleged gunwalking in
January 2011 after whistleblowers came forward to alert Congress about
gunwalking in Arizona. The Justice Department and Attorney General Eric
Holder initially denied gunwalking occurred.
“At first glance, the Inspector General’s report reaffirms virtually
everything that Congressman Issa and I have already reported. Operation
Fast and Furious was the height of irresponsibility on the part of a
number of people from the ATF Phoenix field office all the way up to the
Justice Department headquarters. And, we still don’t know the full
extent of any White House involvement because they refused to be
transparent and provide documents requested by the Inspector General.
“It’s clear that both the ATF and the Justice Department failed to
provide meaningful oversight of Operation Fast and Furious. They
ignored warnings from employees, and frankly, failed to do their jobs.
It took the death of our own Border Patrol Agent, action by a courageous
whistleblower, and intense scrutiny from Congress before they even took
note of what was happening under their own eyes. Even then, they
wouldn’t come clean with how bad it really was until after they had sent
a false letter and retracted it eight months later.
“It’s particularly discouraging that this all could have been stopped
early on if people had just read the wiretap applications. The
Inspector General noted that anybody reading those documents should have
seen the red flags. The law requires that certain senior officials
authorize those applications, and the Inspector General found that they
did so without reading them. I’m glad that the OIG is joining me and
Chairman Issa in urging the Justice Department to move to unseal the
wiretap applications so that the American people can read them and make
up their own minds.
“The President also appears to be abusing his authority to exert
executive privilege. The White House rightly allowed the Inspector
General to make public a small subset of the documents withheld from
Congress under his claim of Executive Privilege, but it continues to
shut out Congress’ access to the rest of the documents. It proves that
this subset of documents could have been released earlier, and the
President was merely thumbing his nose at Congress by claiming Executive
Privilege on the eve of the contempt vote against Attorney General
Holder for withholding the documents.
“It’s time to hold people accountable. Attorney General Holder is out of excuses for action.
“We’ll be reading the report in more detail. We’ve already noticed that
the report contains a factual error that lets Assistant Attorney
General Lanny Breuer off the hook. The report accepts Breuer’s version
of events, claiming that he hadn’t “proposed edits, commented on the
drafts or otherwise indicated he had read them.” In fact, emails show
that he received drafts of the February 4 letter and commented on them
before it was sent, which he later denied to Congress.
“Last but not least, I hope the report helps answer questions for the
Terry family. They deserve more answers than they’ve received up to
this point from their government.”