Skip to comments.ATF Gunwalking docs show Justice Dept. feared bad press [CBS]
Posted on 11/01/2011 2:29:47 PM PDT by brityank
ATF Gunwalking docs show Justice Dept. feared bad pressBy Chris Scholl
An e-mail exchange among Justice Department officials in 2010 shows some in the Department worried about bad press if reporters knew the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let guns "walk" into the hands of drug cartels.
The e-mail exchange occurred in October 2010, almost four months before the gunwalking scandal broke publicly.
DOJ official knew of ATF gunwalking in April 2010
It's included among more than 500 pages of documents released Monday by the Justice Department in response to a Congressional subpoena. The exchange is especially revealing because it demonstrates a level of awareness among some at Justice, which oversees ATF, that the practice of "gunwalking" could be viewed as embarrassing.
"It's a good case," wrote Laura Sweeney, a Justice public affairs specialist about a gunwalking case known internally as Operation Wide Receiver started in 2006. "But the only obstacle will be explaining why we let them continue to send guns to Mexico while we were investigating."
ATF Fast and Furious secret audio recordings
Among the recipients of that e-mail was James Trusty, at that time Justice's Deputy Chief for Litigation. "I think we can navigate through this stuff fine," Trusty wrote. "Bottom line is bad guys who trafficked guns into MX (Mexico) are being targeted and indicted, so I don't see any of these questions as being so dreaded as to negate the good news component."
The case prosecutor pointed out that ATF had intercepted 50 of the hundreds of weapons ATF let walk in Wide Receiver. Sweeney in Public Affairs wrote, "Well done!!"
The three agreed to move forward on publicizing arrests in the case, minimizing the negative gunwalking aspect. But a second e-mail exchange later shows that higher officials in the department eventually nixed publicity.
"Why did we decide not to do any press (even a press release) on it?" wrote Mythili Raman, Chief of Staff to the head of Justice's Criminal Division.
"Lots of guns allowed to go south," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein replied. "(we) agreed the case would be weaved into anti-ATF story."
Guns the ATF let walk in a similar case known as Operation Fast and Furious, started in 2009, turned up at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry just a month later.
More Fast and Furious coverage:
Eric Holder to testify on Fast and Furious
Memos contradict Holder on Fast and Furious
Agent: I was ordered to let guns "walk" into Mexico
Gunwalking scandal uncovered at ATF
Gun-walking shmun-shwalking..! 3,000 Mexies and 2 agents dead, PSCHAW.....!!
Omlettes and eggs, and all that, ChyaKNOW..?!
BAH..!! (pinching face, waving hand dismissively)
Unfortunately you both speak the truth.
Now what happens? How can this be fought?
Pinal County is on the drugs and weapons highway that connects Phoenix and the Mexican border. There are probably more illegals coming north arrested in that county than anywhere else in Arizona.
We’re all doing what we can.
I know that many here and elsewhere - journalists - are doing great work. MM is doing great work, and everyone who posts summaries and links and helps to educate the rest of us, is doing great work.
Just feeling helpless in the face of a giant hellish Mordor machine...
Oops - my comment above was to you. Don’t know how my name got on it!
Hobbitses often feel that way in times like these. ;^)
This hobbit often feels like that. And like other hobbitses, just wants to be left alone.
I wish I knew, lj.
The MSM is too busy trying to destroy Cain because they want Obama or Romney.
One of the very worst villains in this story is the Evil MSM. The next villain is the coward/paid off/blackmailed/spineless Repubs. The ones that aren’t cowards I salute but there are precious few of them.
I expect marxist/muzzie/thugs to be what they are. But there are supposed to be Good and Evil in good stories. Not just Evil and Evil-lite.
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