Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley’s opening statement on Operation Fast & Furious

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Operation Fast and Furious with Attorney General Eric Holder on Nov. 8, 2011

Transcript of Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) opening statement:

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). IMAGE SOURCE: Judiciary.Senate.gov

“This is a very important hearing, Mr. Chairman. There is a lot of issues to bring up. However, over the time the Attorney General was last here, I’ve concentrated my oversight on Operation Fast and Furious.

“Just over nine months ago Attorney General Holder sat in my office, and I handed him two letters I’d written to Acting Director Kenneth Melson of ATF. My letter mentioned (1) the death of Border Patrol Agent [Brian] Terry; (2) the allegations that ATF had sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to straw buyers; (3) the allegations that two of those weapons have been found at the scene of Agent Terry’s death; and (4) the allegations that the whistleblowers who provided this information were already facing retaliation from the agency. Just four days later, the reply from the department explicitly stated that the whistleblower allegations were false. It also claimed that ‘ATF makes every effort to interdict every weapon that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.’

“In the nine months since then, mounting evidence has put the lie to that claim. Documents contradicting the department’s denial came to light. Then six ATF agents testified powerfully at dual House Oversight hearings. They also confirmed that gun walking had occurred in Operation Fast and Furious.

“Just last week, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer admitted in this room that the department’s letters to me in February was absolutely false. But it gets worse. Mr. Breuer also admitted that he knew all along it was false. He could not recall whether he helped edit it. However, he knew it was false because he was aware of previous gun walking operations called ‘Wide Receiver.’ Yet he remained silent for nine months. He was aware that Congress had been misled yet made no effort to correct the department’s official denial.

“Much has been said recently about guns being walked in Operation Wide Receiver during the Bush era. It doesn’t matter for me when it happened. We need answers. Bush era prosecutors refused to bring the case. However under Mr. Breuer’s leadership, headquarters revived it despite the gun walking issues. It was Mr. Breuer’s responsibility to clearly communicate that gun walking was unacceptable and to institute oversight and safeguards to ensure that it did not happen again. He did not do that.

“Mr. Breuer admitted before this committee last week that one of his deputies informed him of gun walking in Wide Receiver [in] April 2010. He also admitted that the same deputy approved at least one of the wiretap applications at Operation Fast and Furious. In order to justify the tapping of a phone of a private citizen, the law requires an agency to show that they have tried everything else first. But the very same facts that would show the need to obtain the wiretap would also show that the department knew these individuals were trafficking in weapons. The government should have stopped the flow of guns to these criminals. Anyone reviewing the wiretap affidavits would probably know that was not happening.

“I would also add that this tragedy should not be used to call for new gun control. The straw buyers in Fast and Furious were also breaking the law; they should have been interdicted and arrested nearly a year earlier than they were. The phony statistics cited by some about U.S. guns in Mexico includes U.S. weapons sold to foreign militaries, weapons that were transferred into Mexico years ago, guns from Fast and Furious, stolen weapons, and many other sources.

“As we learn more about the other failure to enforce our existing gun laws in Fast and Furious, I’m eager to hear from the Attorney General who he plans to hold accountable. I also want to know how he plans to prevent another tragedy like this in the future.

“But let me be clear: the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how many laws we pass if those responsible for enforcing them refuse to do their duty, as was the case in Fast and Furious.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

###

 

Learn More:

11 Comments on “Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley’s opening statement on Operation Fast & Furious

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. John Cornyn's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  3. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  4. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Richard Blumenthal's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  5. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley's Q&A with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer on Operation Fast and Furious | What The Folly?!

  6. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Schumer's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  7. Pingback: Transcript: Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  8. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Diane Feinstein's Q&A with Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer on Operation Fast and Furious | What The Folly?!

  9. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Mike Lee's Q&A on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

  10. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley's Q&A on Operation Fast and Furious | What The Folly?!

  11. Pingback: Transcript: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy's opening statement on Operation Fast & Furious | What The Folly?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>