A top Justice Department official said Monday that he regretted not informing others in DOJ’s leadership about a Bush-era operation that used the flawed “gun walking” tactic like the technique used in Operation Fast and Furious.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads DOJ’s Criminal Division, said in a statement released by DOJ that he first learned of “unacceptable tactics used in Operation Wide Receiver” in April 2010. He instructed one of his deputies to schedule a meeting with ATF’s Acting Director Ken Melson to bring the issue to his attention.“When the allegations related to Operation Fast and Furious became public earlier this year, the leadership of ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona repeatedly assured individuals in the Criminal Division and the leadership of the Department of Justice that those allegations were not true,” Breuer said.
“As a result, I did not draw a connection between the unacceptable tactics used by the ATF years earlier in Operation Wide Receiver and the allegations made about Operation Fast and Furious, and therefore did not, at that time, alert others within Department leadership of any similarities between the two,” he continued. “That was a mistake, and I regret not having done so.”
The Justice Department also released a selection of documents that they sent up to the House Oversight Committee in response to a subpoena by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. More on those to come.
Late update: We’ve got more on the document dump here.