- (Photo: Reuters/Alonso Castillo)
Two Republican lawmakers claim there was an attempt by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona to cover up a connection between the December 2010 death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the government operation known as Fast and Furious, CBS reported.
Fast and Furious is a weapons trafficking program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Through this program the government intentionally sells guns to Mexican cartels and gangs in order to ignite clashes between them. Two assault riffles that killed Terry were a part of this program. The operation allowed more than 2,000 guns to get into the hands of Mexican gangs, many of which were later found in violent crime scenes.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reported to CBS that there's evidence that officials at ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office sought to hide the association between the weapons and Terry’s death.
The two lawmakers wrote to the U.S. Attorney in Arizona Thursday detailing that Emory Hurley, the lead prosecutor of the Fast and Furious program learned that the firearms involved in the killing were in connection with his program. In the hours after Terry died, Hurley decided not to reveal the connection saying in an email, "this way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case" according to CBS.
Late Thursday it was revealed that 21 more Fast and Furious guns had been involved in crimes in Mexico. According to Grassley, that number is expected to rise as the investigation continues.
In an intense letter to the new U.S. attorney for Arizona, Anne Scheel, the House Oversight Committee requested interviews, emails, memos and even handwritten notes from members of the U.S. attorney's office that played key roles in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program, according to Fox.
“The level of involvement of the United States Attorney’s Office … in the genesis and implementation of this case is striking,” Issa and Grassley wrote.
“The Justice Department has been less than forthcoming since day one, so the revisions here are hardly surprising, and the numbers will likely rise until the more than 1,000 guns that were allowed to fall into the hands of bad guys are recovered – most likely years down the road," Grassley said in a statement released Thursday.
"What we’re still waiting for are the answers to the other questions the Attorney General failed to answer per our agreement. The cooperation of the Attorney General and his staff is needed if we’re ever going to get to the bottom of this disastrous policy and help the ATF and the department move forward.”
When contacted by The Christian Post, the Department of Justice had no comment.