Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are pressing the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for answers to their agencies’ involvement in Operation Fast and Furious. This is amid reports that some of the targets of the ATF in Project were actually paid FBI informants.
While Issa and Grassley are pressing for information, I fully expect at the FBI to try and stonewall them.
Grassley, Issa Press for Answers from FBI, DEA in Fast and Furious Investigation
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa are pushing for additional information and documents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in relation to the two agencies roles in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reckless strategy known as Operation Fast and Furious. The strategy employed by the ATF allowed firearms to be purchased by known straw buyers and then transferred to third parties where the guns often crossed the border to Mexican drug cartels.
The letters are a follow-up to a recorded, transcribed interview with Acting ATF Director Ken Melson. The Acting Director was interviewed by congressional investigators on July 4 where he corroborated several details that included other agencies involved in Operation Fast and Furious.
In the letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Grassley and Issa asked about the “veracity of claims” regarding the possible involvement of paid FBI informants in Operation Fast and Furious and “specifically at least one individual who is allegedly an FBI informant” and “might have been in communication with, and was perhaps even conspiring with, at least one suspect whom ATF was monitoring.”
The letter to DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart requested a briefing by DEA staff as well as “the number of informants or cooperating informants handled by other agencies identified in the course of any investigations related to Operation Fast and Furious.”
In addition, both letters (to Mueller and Leonhart) asked for communications of several members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force who were working in coordination with the ATF to conduct Operation Fast and Furious.
The full letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart can be found here.
The full letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller can be found here.
Both letters are detailed in the information sought. The Leonhart letter specifically asks about any communications regarding Fast and Furious by the heads or assistant heads of the DEA offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, and Yuma. This letter also asks for any information relating to Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta who is the lone person in custody who can be linked to the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The Mueller letter is broader in scope than the Leonhart letter. It seeks info on confidential informants, the investigation into the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, and any communications between ATF and certain FBI officials including ones in Phoenix, El Paso, and Tucson. They especially are looking to see if ATF and the FBI agent in charge of the Terry murder investigation have had any communications.
If they get the information they request, things could heat up very quickly and even the mainstream media would not be able to ignore it like most of them have been doing these last few months.