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Emails, notes give insight into Gunwalker communications

David Codrea
November 1, 2011

Email correspondence and handwritten notes obtained today by Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars and this correspondent provide details on information and strategy being shared between top level officials of the Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including between Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and then-ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson.

A total of seven documents are presented herein, including:

  • A Feb. 4, 2011 letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Weich denying the walking of guns, itself the subject of a Feb. 8 Gun Rights Examiner column.
  • Email correspondence between Breuer and Melson.
  • The assignment of Gang Unit Prosecutor Joe Cooley to Operation Fast and Furious at the time when walked guns from Operation Wide Receiver were being reported by a fellow prosecutor.
  • Cooley's handwritten notes.
  • Notes from Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler--including about quantities of guns bought by straw purchasers and dollars spent.
  • False assurances to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein by Gang Unit Chief Kevin Carwile that ATF did not allow guns to walk but instead learned of that "after the FFL began cooperating."
  • Weinstein advising Breuer that guns walked, guns were lost, and no "upstream conspirators" were caught--"only straws."

"Documents in the possession of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee provide a much clearer picture than that given by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in his statement of yesterday of what the Justice Department knew of the tactic of 'letting guns walk' and when they, and Breuer himself, knew about it," Mike Vanderboegh writes in his companion report to this one.

Among some of the elements brought into better focus:

  • The revelation by then-Phoenix Field Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett to Cooley that "Fast and Furious" was an OCDETF (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) operation requiring Department of Justice approval is something Janet Napolitano was unwilling to admit to Rep. Trey Gowdy in an Oct. 26 House Judiciary Committee Hearing.
  • The admission in a Dec 2009 email from Melson to Breuer talking about tracing from seizures that "we do seem to be making progress with our Mexican partners."
  • A recommended strategy from Weinstein to Breuer that "[T]he best move is to indict both Wide Receiver I and Wide Receiver II under seal and then unseal as part of Project Deliverance, where focus will be on aggregate seizures and not on particulars of any one indictment."   The DOJ lauded the success of Deliverance in a June 2010 press release.
  • Also bear in mind that Grindler is the No. 2 guy at Justice--Eric Holder's Chief of Staff.

See the accompanying sidebar slideshow for screen captures of handwritten notes and open the sidebar media player to review the pdf file featuring all seven documents or click here to view them.

Click here to read Vanderboegh's analysis on Sipsey Street Irregulars.

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