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Committee hearing rips former AG Eric Holder, Obama for deception in Fast and Furious cartel gun-running scandal

June 8, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Committee hearing rips former AG Eric Holder, Obama for deception in Fast and Furious cartel gun-running scandal

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On Wednesday, members of a congressional committee at a hearing slammed former President Obama and his attorney general Eric Holder for purportedly covering up a probe into the killing of a Border Patrol agent that occurred as a result of a government gun-running project gone awry dubbed Operation Fast and Furious.

That same day, the House Oversight Committee also published a harsh, almost 300-page report that determined Holder’s Justice Department tried to conceal the facts from the relatives of slain Border Patrol Brian Terry.

They described that the department viewed his family as a “nuisance” than one deserving answers – and the report also slammed Obama’s declaration of executive privilege to deny Congress access to documents concerning Fast and Furious.

“[Terry’s death] happened on December 14, 2010, and we still don’t have the answers,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the committee chairman, said. “Terry’s family should not have to wait six years for answers.”

Both former Pres. Obama and AG Eric Holder were blasted by the Senate Committee for deception in gun-walking scandal

The agent was killed in a gun battle between Border agents and members of a six-man cartel, also known as “rip crew,” which frequently guarded the desert along the border searching for drug dealers to rob. The cartel member suspected of killing the agent, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was captured in April by a joint U.S.-Mexico task force.

Terry’s death revealed Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF investigation in which the government allowed criminals to buy guns in Phoenix-area stores with the purpose of tracking them as they were brought to Mexico.

However, they lost track of over 1,400 of the 2,000 guns they allowed smugglers to purchase. Two of those firearms were recovered at the scene of Terry’s murder.

“More than five years after the murder, the family still wonders about details of Operation Fast and Furious,” the committee’s report continued. “The Justice Department’s obstruction of Congress’s investigation contributed to the family’s inability to find answers.”

Senator Charles Grassley accused Eric Holder, DOJ and ATF officials of blocking the investigation and trying to silence ATF agents who notified the Senate of Fast and Furious.

One of those silenced agents, John Dodson, testified that he is in “in a state of purgatory” since opposing to Fast and Furious and has been the target of reprisals and ridicule, Fox News reported.

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by weapons traced back to Operation Fast and Furious

“That decision, the act of standing up and saying, ‘What we are doing is wrong’… took my standing from that of an agent of the government – to an enemy,” Dodson stated. “ATF and DOJ officials implemented a campaign to silence and discredit me… the last six or seven years at ATF have not been the best for me.”

Grassley’s and Dodson’s testimony bolstered findings of the report, which says that the Justice Department was aware before Terry’s killing that the ATF was “walking” firearms to Mexico and knew after the agent’s killing that Fast and Furious guns were involved in the incident — despite disputing this to the media.

The report then states that the Justice Department’s investigation was focused on spinning the story to evade negative coverage than looking into mistakes by the DOJ or ATF.

The report added that Holder’s Justice Department stonewalled questions from Senator Chuck Grassley, and deceptively told him that “ATF makes every effort to interdict” guns bought by straw consumers.

The controversial act of straw purchases – where a person who is banned from buying guns uses another person to buy it on his or her behalf – has been a popular method that drug cartels in Mexico use to obtain weapons.

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