Memos: Eric Holder Knew About "Fast & Furious" Gun Operation

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

New documents reportedly show that Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the "Fast and Furious" gun operation months before he claims he learned about it.

According to a report from The Hill, in November 2010 Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer wrote a memo to Holder about a sealed indictment against alleged gun traffickers in Arizona. He wrote that the indictment would remain sealed “until another investigation, Phoenix-based ‘Operation Fast and Furious,’ is ready for takedown.”

However in May 2011 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Holder responded to a question from Rep. Darrell Issa by saying he had only recently learned of "Fast and Furious."

“I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about 'Fast and Furious' for the first time over the last few weeks,” Holder testified.

Officials at the Justice Department are now telling CBS News that Holder misunderstood Issa’s question. They say he was "generally aware" of "Fast and Furious," but didn't know anything about its details. They claim Holder was referring to when he first learned about the details of "Fast and Furious," not the program itself.

A former DOJ official told Fox News that the attorney general receives dozens of memos every week and most likely does not have the time to read through all of them.

There were also memos about another gun program called "Operation Wide Receiver" that started in 2006 before Holder became attorney general.

Under both operations, ATF agents allowed licensed gun dealers to sell weapons to so called "straw purchasers," hoping they would turn around and sell the guns to Mexican drug cartels. The agents would track the guns and then arrest the cartel members.

However the ATF lost track of some 2,000 guns, which have since been used at some 170 crime scenes.

The Justice Department has insisted that it knew nothing about the operation until this year when ATF whistleblowers went public.