Holder Claims Former DAG Had No Knowledge Of 'Operational Tactics'

Ann Kane
Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire Thursday at a House Judiciary hearing on the deadly operation known as Fast and Furious. Many Republican members grilled Holder on specifics of the operation, while Democrats on the panel played nice. The AG stonewalled and evaded most of the tough questions; he was not under oath.

A turning point in the hearing came when Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX) obnoxiously interrupted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) while he had the floor. She broke in just when Issa had asked Holder if he knew his former Deputy Attorney General and now Chief of Staff Gary Grindler "was aware of Fast and Furious and what it's procedures were on March [12] of 2010."

The exchange went like this:

Issa: Gary Grindler was well aware according to documents provided on Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010, are you aware of that, that he was aware of Fast and Furious and what it's procedures were on March of 2010?

Holder: It was certainly brought to his attention as part of a regular briefing he got from
ATF, he did not hear during that briefing anything about the tactics.

Issa: Really? Is that why in his own handwriting when he talks about going to stash houses...he clearly understood in a document you delivered in his own handwriting what the tactic was. (Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee interrupts here, tells Issa to let the Attorney General answer the question)

Holder: (starts looking at paper on the table) "First he [Grindler] was not made intimately aware of the program, the briefing he received from then acting director Melson did not go into the tactics."

Later Holder repeats:

Holder: The Acting Director [Ken Melson] did not share tactical information with Mr. Grindler.

Why didn't Holder say the Acting Director also didn't know the tactical information like one of his spokesmen claimed in a CBS report on October 27, 2011? From Holder's assertion, it appears Melson had knowledge of tactics, but just didn't "share" it with Grindler.

Holder's claim of Grindler's lack of knowledge of details contrasts sharply with the facts.  Issa has evidence Grindler was "intimately" involved in the operation.

According to documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler was keenly aware of all aspects of Operation Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. In a letter to A.G. Holder, Chairman Issa wrote:

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...

Well, after Holder lied directly to Issa, the congressman from California should have asked:  if the AG didn't know the details and his DAG didn't know the details, and the US Attorney in Arizona didn't know the details, and the Acting Director of ATF didn't know the details...then who in the hell did?

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report

Attorney General Eric Holder came under fire Thursday at a House Judiciary hearing on the deadly operation known as Fast and Furious. Many Republican members grilled Holder on specifics of the operation, while Democrats on the panel played nice. The AG stonewalled and evaded most of the tough questions; he was not under oath.

A turning point in the hearing came when Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX) obnoxiously interrupted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) while he had the floor. She broke in just when Issa had asked Holder if he knew his former Deputy Attorney General and now Chief of Staff Gary Grindler "was aware of Fast and Furious and what it's procedures were on March [12] of 2010."

The exchange went like this:

Issa: Gary Grindler was well aware according to documents provided on Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010, are you aware of that, that he was aware of Fast and Furious and what it's procedures were on March of 2010?

Holder: It was certainly brought to his attention as part of a regular briefing he got from
ATF, he did not hear during that briefing anything about the tactics.

Issa: Really? Is that why in his own handwriting when he talks about going to stash houses...he clearly understood in a document you delivered in his own handwriting what the tactic was. (Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee interrupts here, tells Issa to let the Attorney General answer the question)

Holder: (starts looking at paper on the table) "First he [Grindler] was not made intimately aware of the program, the briefing he received from then acting director Melson did not go into the tactics."

Later Holder repeats:

Holder: The Acting Director [Ken Melson] did not share tactical information with Mr. Grindler.

Why didn't Holder say the Acting Director also didn't know the tactical information like one of his spokesmen claimed in a CBS report on October 27, 2011? From Holder's assertion, it appears Melson had knowledge of tactics, but just didn't "share" it with Grindler.

Holder's claim of Grindler's lack of knowledge of details contrasts sharply with the facts.  Issa has evidence Grindler was "intimately" involved in the operation.

According to documents obtained by the House Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler was keenly aware of all aspects of Operation Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. In a letter to A.G. Holder, Chairman Issa wrote:

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...

Well, after Holder lied directly to Issa, the congressman from California should have asked:  if the AG didn't know the details and his DAG didn't know the details, and the US Attorney in Arizona didn't know the details, and the Acting Director of ATF didn't know the details...then who in the hell did?

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report