Fred Lucas, CNSNews.com
A senior Senate Republican has accused the Justice Department of a “cover-up” by limiting information to Congress about a botched gun running program along the southwest border.
“I think they’re trying to cover up now by not giving us all the information that we want,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNSNews.com.
“In regard to criminality, this is quite obvious there is criminal activity when our own government suggests our own laws ought to be broken,” he said. “Isn’t it just as criminal if we do that, as [it would be] if Chuck Grassley did it as a private citizen?”
Grassley is investigating a gun running operation led by the Phoenix division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and also involving the Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI.
“Operation Fast and Furious,” saw federal law enforcement officials knowingly allow guns to be sold to straw purchasers for the purpose of tracing the firearms, which included AK 47s assault rifles, to Mexican drug trafficking gangs.
The initiative began in September 2009, but was halted after two of the weapons were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder in December 2010. Although Operation Fast and Furious ended with the indictment of 20 straw purchasers, no-one from the drug cartels – the primary target of the program – was brought to justice.
The Justice Department assigned the Office of Inspector General to conduct an internal investigation into the affair.