When Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley was told in February that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was not allowing guns to cross the border, it wasn’t true and the Justice Department knew it, and he said so in a Monday night interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
“It’s a lie.”—Sen. Charles Grassley
In a typically candid eight minute interview, Grassley told Van Sustern that the Justice Department has been “misleading to me,” and that the agency has known all along that Operation Fast and Furious had done exactly what Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich insisted they weren’t doing in his Feb. 4, 2011 letter to the senator.
“At the outset, the allegation described in your January 27 letter – that ATF “sanctioned” or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico – is false.”—Ronald Weich, assistant attorney general
Grassley, who was interviewed by this column last week, is growing more upset every day. According to congressional sources close to the senator’s investigation of Fast and Furious, investigators have interviewed ATF Special Agent David Voth, former supervisor of Group VII in Phoenix, who was discussed by this column on Monday. His name is prominently featured in a new revelation about a separate gun trafficking case involving whistleblower agent John Dodson.
Whether Voth will be asked to appear before Congressman Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform remains to be seen. Voth now appears to be a central figure in the Fast and Furious fiasco, which critics insist can no longer be referred to as a “botched operation” because it now appears the ATF’s plan all along was to let hundreds, if not thousands of guns to flow across the border into Mexico, where they could be recovered at crime scenes.
But why? Some 200 Mexican citizens have apparently been killed as “collateral damage” to this operation, and Border Patrol agent Brian Terry died in December.
Grassley pulled no punches in his assessment of the operation and the apparent cover-up by the Obama administration.
There’s something sinister going on…They want to do everything they can to avoid this issue. They want to string us along. They want to stonewall us.—Sen. Charles Grassley
The Capitol Hill veteran also told Van Susteren that he is not getting the cooperation from Attorney General Eric Holder that he was promised after agreeing to lift his block of a crucial Justice Department appointment earlier this year.
None of this deters Grassley, however. He “made his bones” on Capitol Hill by sniffing out government waste, fraud and misconduct, and he hasn’t been partisan about it, either. Asked by Van Susteren if he plans to stick with the investigation, Grassley replied:
‘We’re going to keep on it until we get to the bottom of it…
We’re going to find out who gave the approval for this fast and furious and hopefully get that person fired.’
There are a lot of people rooting for him.
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