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DOJ: Issa's 'Recycled' Charges That Holder Lied About ATF's Fast And Furious Are 'Baseless'

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"The Department will continue to cooperate with both the Inspector General and congressional investigations, In the meantime, what the American people deserve is less partisan showboating and more responsible solutions to stopping gun violence on the Southwest Border."

One key tidbit from Issa's letter to Holder:

Gary Grindler, the then-Deputy Attorney General and currently your Chief of Staff, received an extremely detailed briefing on Operation Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010. In this briefing, Grindler learned such minutiae as the number of times that Uriel Patino, a straw purchaser on food stamps who ultimately acquired 720 firearms, went in to a cooperating gun store and the amount of guns that he had bought. When former Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, a career federal prosecutor, learned similar information, he became sick to his stomach:

"I had pulled out all Patino's -- and ROIs is, I'm sorry, report of investigation -- and you know, my stomach being in knots reading the number of times he went in and the amount of guns that he bought."

There's a noteworthy omission and some slight-of-hand going on here: it was actually Melson himself who gave Grindler the 2010 briefing. The "sick to my stomach" line? That came after Melson, in the words of Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), "learned the full story" -- nearly a year later, when the controversy became public. Here's a description, from a previous letter that Issa and Grassley sent to Holder:

According to Mr. Melson, it was not until after the public controversy that he personally reviewed hundreds of documents relating to the case, including wiretap applications and Reports of Investigation (ROIs). By his account, he was sick to his stomach when he obtained those documents and learned the full story. Mr. Melson said that he told the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) at the end of March that the Department needed to reexamine how it was responding to the requests for information from Congress.

Late update: Here's the agenda for the March 2010 meeting from a document that DOJ recently sent up to the House Oversight Committee:

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