Chuck Grassley On The Released Gunwalker Tapes

Sen. Chuck Grassley was interviewed by Ginny Simone of NRA News about the secret tape recordings of ATF Agent Hope McAllister and Lone Wolf Trading Co. owner Andre Howard. He made an interesting point that the tapes would need to be shared with the straw purchasing defendants under the Brady Rule at some point. However, he went on to say that the trials were a long way in the future and that due to that they shouldn’t have been shared with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona until then. As it is, he said, this will make their investigation harder.

Where Is Rose Mary Woods When Holder Needs Her?

Rose Mary Woods was President Richard Nixon’s personal secretary. She was the one officially responsible for the infamous 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes. Whether she was the one who accidentally erased the tape or whether it was really an accident will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of the Watergate affair.

Woods demonstrating how she accidentally erased the tape.

Given the newest batch of recordings released by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News of ATF Agent Hope McAllister and gun store owner Andre Howard, Attorney General Eric Holder is probably wishing that a Miss Woods or a modern equivalent had erased these tapes.

Watergate Redux

It was under questioning by Minority Counsel Fred Thompson at the Watergate hearings that presidential aide Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of tape recording devices in both the Oval Office and the President’s office in the Executive Office Building. These tapes provided the nail in the coffin to Nixon’s presidency.

Now more tapes are leaking out of the conversations between ATF agents and the owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company Andre Howard. These tapes seem to indicate a strong effort to conceal the details of Operation Fast and Furious as well as a strong disdain for Senator Grassley. The one item that was mentioned that I find particularly interesting was the assertion by ATF Agent Hope McAllister that she had a file that would cover her if the operation went sour. I wonder if she is still in possession of that file and, if so, have copies been provided to Congressional investigators.

The more  I see and read of Project Gunwalker the more it reminds me of Watergate. Of course, no one died in Watergate nor was the press complicit for the most part in hushing up the scandal.

The excerpts of the tape and transcript are from CBS News.


Dealer: Question: do your people have any confidence that you can forestall subpoena? Or is it still up in the air?

Agent: No, my understanding is person, the only people that can request a congressional hearing has to be a majority party. Grassley is a Republican.

Dealer: I know.

Agent: And as of right now…

Dealer: In the Senate right.

Agent: Yeh. And as of right now we don’t have any interest from anybody in the majority party to the extent that he’s shown interest. So even if you wanted to at this point unless he gets CUTS OUT somebody from the majority party to jump on board, he can’t…

Dealer: Not on his own no but you know Leahy and rest of ’em these people are snakes, they’ll do anything they can…

Agent: My understanding also is that the Attorney General’s office is supposed to come out little bit stronger…um…

Dealer: I understand that.

Agent: position…which may or may not, um, you know, help.

Dealer: I’ll tell you what I’ll give him that, he’s got f—ing b—s making that statement. I don’t wanna even go there.


Dealer: Until something else happens they’re not stupid, Hope, they connect the dots.

Agent: No and you know and all that’s fine if Senator Grassley wants to come in and tell us show us how to work these cases more efficiently more effectively by all means.

Dealer: Don’t think Grassley, think Leahy.

Agent: Well, him too. I… I welcome him to come down and work…

Dealer: He’s an arrogant b—–d

Agent: So is Grassley though

Dealer: Chuck probably and I don’t know a thing about him other than from somebody else I’ve heard seems to be just somebody who’s hitching his wagon to any star to.. for his own aggrandizement.

Agent: Yeh

Dealer: You know that. He’s an arrogant

Agent: Yeh

Dealer: individual. Look he’s a United States senator there it is right there.


Agent: That’s kind of what my suggestion but nobody thought that was funny like if I were a P.I. I’d put him on Grassley, I’m sure there’s a lot would go away. Actually my one suggestion was just tell him in a registered Republican. I’m sure if he knew that everything would be fine, they didn’t like that either.

Dealer: Well.

Agent: Alright.

Dealer: You gotta be, watch your back. I don’t trust these people around you one bit. You’ve been very lucky so far.

Agent: Again I’ll be more than happy to talk to somebody, they won’t let me, but more than happy to talk to anybody about the decisions we made.

Dealer: Hope, stay off the screen. You don’ t need this sh–. Neither does your husband.

Agent: Believe me I have…

Dealer: You gotta have a f—–g life man.

Agent: I have a file and…

Dealer: shhh

Agent: It’s all, it’s all public stuff I dont’ care.

Dealer: Well don’t even convey it in that. I’m sure you do. Hopefully this thing will subside…

Agent: You keep saying that but ?

Dealer: I know.

Dealer: You and I both know how bad it’s gonna get I won’t bull—t you you don’t bull—t me

Agent: Ha ha.

Dealer: my a– is up here and yours is here here but you’re covered I’m out in the open

Agent: Ha ha.

Dealer: God.

Project Gunwalker – Let’s Go To The Tape

Andre Howard of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, AZ is not stupid. After being forced to cooperate with the ATF agents runnings Operation Fast and Furious, he took the smart step to record some of his conversations with one of the lead agents in the operation, ATF Agent Hope McAllister.

These tapes have been turned over by Mr. Howard to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General and to Congressional investigators. In the tape below obtained by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, Howard and McAllister are discussing the third firearm that turned up at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder. The transcript of the tape can be found on the CBS News website above.

If you may recall, President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich have all said that that the DOJ Office of Inspector General should be the lead investigator into whether there was any wrongdoing in Operation Fast and Furious. Sharyl Attkisson reports today that the OIG is reported to have passed these tapes along to one of the subjects of the investigation – the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Arizona.

Law enforcement sources and others close to the Congressional investigation say the Justice Department’s Inspector General obtained the audio tapes several months ago as part of its investigation into Fast and Furious.

Then, the sources say for some reason the Inspector General passed the tapes along to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona: a subject in the investigation. It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation. The Inspector General’s office had no immediate comment.

I am speculating here but one explanation as to why OIG turned over evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office would be so as to coach their testimony whether before OIG investigators or before Congressional investigators.

The role of OIG in this investigation is and has been tainted from the very start. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recognized this early on which is why he called for an assignment to an outside Inspector General in a letter to the head of Integrity Committee of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency back in March.

UPDATE: The DOJ OIG sent a response to CBS on why the tapes were given to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona:

A spokesman from the Office of the Inspector General today said, “The OIG officially provided the United States Attorney’s Office with a copy of the recordings in question so that the USAO could consider them in connection with the government’s disclosure obligations in the pending criminal prosecutions of the gun traffickers. Prior to receiving the tapes, the OIG made clear that we would have to provide a copy of the recordings to the United States Attorney’s Office because they would need to review them to satisfy any legal disclosure obligations.”