The second edition of the Congressional Joint Staff Report on Fast and Furious was released this week.
Workman observes some key statements from the congressional report prologue:
“In the intervening fourteen months since Ken Melson made that statement, the Justice Department has cried foul about the politicization of the congressional inquiry into Fast and Furious. Yet, Melson’s words ring even truer today than they did on Independence Day 2011. The Department’s actions in steering the sinking ship away from political appointees continue to give credence to Melson’s testimony, as the Department has, at all costs, deflected blame away from these political appointees.
“Instead of owning up to its own shortcomings, the Department sought to put the blame on Ken Melson,” the prologue concludes.
And as pointed out by David Hardy over at Of Arms & the Law:
According to the Washington Times, Issa’s latest committee report “divulged for the first time that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s office originally planned for him to go to Arizona to announce the results of the Fast and Furious investigation before Justice Department officials abruptly dropped the idea when guns from the operation showed up at the murder scene of the border agent.”
This confirms that the operation was being treated as a media matter; the logical purpose of an AG press conference is not merely to announce arrests (that could be done in a press release) but to push the theme of “we need more gun laws because American guns are going to Mexican cartels.”
In the same Washington Times article, retired Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson contradicted some assertions made by the administration and the DOJ concerning Fast and Furious:
“So sitting on the plane, reading the wiretap affidavit and one of the wiretap affidavits — in fact, I think more than one, there was a statement in there prepared by the agents — the AUSA and reviewed by the criminal division that suggested there was probable cause to believe that straw purchasers were taking guns across the border,” he added.
“It was apparent to me that they were suggesting that there was probable cause to believe that this information — that these straw purchasers were taking guns across the border,” he continued. “So while on the plane, I drafted an email to our people, and said, you know, you better back off, you better back off this statement, because — the statement in this letter, this Feb. 4 letter to Sen. Grassley, because I don’t believe we can say that in light of the information that our agent was swearing to before a federal district court judge to get the wiretap.”
The Justice Department is still holding firm on the White House claim of executive privilege and even downplayed the power of Congress to subpoena documents in the ongoing court case. Documents the administration currently has under hold could possibly be released next year if the legal battle on behalf of Congress is successful.