Report: Evidence Suggests Cover-Up in ATF Gun Case

By Jon E. Dougherty at 2 Sep 2011

(Newsroom America) -- New evidence suggests that federal agents tried to cover up evidence that a gun used to kill U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last year was one used in the sale of more than 2,000 weapons to Mexican drug cartels during an operation facilitated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The revelation comes just a few days after a major shake-up of ATF and Justice Department officials, and as Congress demands more answers regarding the failed gun-trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious."

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Friday they are expanding their investigations into the operation, Fox News reported. Grassley announced Friday as well that 21 more guns from the operation have been discovered at violent crime scenes in Mexico, nearly double the 11 the government admitted to just last month.

In a strong letter to Anne Scheel, the newly appointed U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Grassley and Issa requested interviews, emails, memos and hand-written notes from members of the U.S. attorney's office who had a role in the operation. They also said the want to discuss the case with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emory Hurley and Michael Morrissey, along with Patrick Cunningham, chief of the office’s Criminal Division, the report said.

The two lawmakers want to know, among other things, why Hurley knew almost immediately that the gun used to kill Terry was part of the Fast and Furious operation but he tried to "prevent the connection from being disclosed."

An internal email a day after the shooting between Hurley and then-U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, the pair decided not to disclose the information because, "... this way we do not divulge our current case (Fast and Furious) or the Border Patrol shooting case," Fox News reported, quoting the email.

"The level of involvement of the United States Attorney’s Office … in the genesis and implementation of this case is striking," Issa and Grassley wrote.

In a statement Thursday, Grassley said the Justice Department had been "less than forthcoming" regarding pertinent information about the operation.

He said the number of weapons "will likely rise until the more than 1,000 guns that were allowed to fall into the hands of bad guys are recovered -- most likely years down the road."

© 2011 Newsroom America.

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