WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today asked Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for information about who at the Department of Justice (DOJ) saw a memo from a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was stationed at the Phoenix field division and was knowledgeable about Operation Fast and Furious. This memo was produced the day before the Department of Justice flat out denied there was a program underway to let guns walk to straw buyers.
In a letter to Attorney General Holder this afternoon, Grassley said the memo traveled rapidly through the chain of command at ATF and was allegedly forwarded to DOJ headquarters on February 3, 2011, in advance of the February 4, 2011, denial by DOJ. Grassley’s office has been told that the substance of the memo “caused such a stir that ATF planned to put a panel together to address the allegations but someone within DOJ suppressed the idea.” The details in the agent’s memo would have provided DOJ officials important information about what, in fact, was happening in Operation Fast and Furious.
Acting ATF Director Ken Melson slipped over to Capitol Hill during the holiday weekend to discuss Fast and Furious. Melson ditched DOJ lawyers, and brought his own attorney to the session with congressional investigators. The DOJ removed Melson as acting director in August 2011.