Republicans in the House and Senate say the Department of Justice is continuing to hide critical information about the Fast and Furious scandal, years after it was revealed that the government lost hundreds of guns that were meant to be tracked by federal agents.
One of the guns was found at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered on the U.S.-Mexico border. That find led to sharp Republican criticism and ultimately a House vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to reveal information about the operation.
On Thursday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, charged that the Justice Department is covering up another crime that appears to have taken place with a gun that was lost under Fast and Furious.
Specifically, Issa and Grassley say they’ve become aware of a 2013 shooting in Arizona involving one of those weapons.
“Documents obtained by Judicial Watch under Arizona’s public records law show that law enforcement officials recovered a Fast and Furious gun last summer in connection with a shooting that left two individuals wounded,” they wrote in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Eric Cole.
The two members said Sean Steward, a man who has already pleaded guilty to firearms trafficking under Fast and Furious, bought 40 guns under the watchful eye of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. But they said only eight of those guns were recovered by the ATF, and said there’s evidence the gun used in the 2013 shooting was one of those lost guns.
“Based on the serial number from the police report obtained by Judicial Watch and documents obtained during our Fast and Furious investigation, we can confirm that the assault rifle recovered in the vehicle on July 30, 2013 was purchased by Sean Christopher Steward,” they wrote.
But Issa and Grassley said that without the Judicial Watch documents, none of this information would have surfaced, as the Justice Department has said nothing and failed to notify Congress.
“Unless the information becomes available some other way, the public would never know,” they wrote. “This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is still seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”
They also noted that letters they sent to Justice asking for information about Fast and Furious in 2012 and 2013 have still not been answered.
Despite that terrible record, Issa and Grassley asked Justice to answer several other questions, including whether the firearm from 2013 had been used in any other crimes, and how many other weapons from Fast and Furious have been used in violent incidents.
Read their letter here: