The Daily Caller

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WASHINGTON - MAY 28:  U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks to the media during a news conference May 28, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) WASHINGTON - MAY 28: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaks to the media during a news conference May 28, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  

Issa, Grassley press FBI, DEA for Fast and Furious documents, information

House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, are now looking to the FBI and DEA for information on Operation Fast and Furious.

The top Congressional Republican investigators fired off letters requesting specific details from FBI director Robert Mueller and DEA administrator Michele Leonhart last week.

“In recent weeks, we have learned of the possible involvement of paid FBI informants in Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa and Grassley wrote to Mueller. “Specifically, at least one individual who is allegedly an FBI informant might have been in communication with, and was perhaps even conspiring with, at least one suspect whom ATF was monitoring.”

Issa and Grassley asked Mueller to provide them with details on how many FBI informants communicated with Operation Fast and Furious players, and what the nature of those communications was.

The Republican investigators also asked Mueller if any of those informants were ever deported by the DEA or any other law enforcement entity. If these potential FBI informants involved with Fast and Furious were ever deported, Issa and Grassley would like to what the repatriation process is for them and what other agencies were notified.

Issa and Grassley gave Mueller until noon on July 25 to respond.

FBI officials Issa and Grassley listed in their letter to Mueller, indicating they may have been involved, include:

  • Nathan Gray, former special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • Annette Bartlett, assistant special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • Stephen Cocco, acting special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • Steven Hooper, assistant special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • John Iannarelli, assistant special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • John Strong, assistant special agent in charge, Phoenix field division
  • David Cuthbertson, special agent in charge, El Paso field division

In their letter to Leonhart, Issa and Grassley asked for details about informants from agencies other than the DEA who were involved with Operation Fast and Furious. Specifically, they want Leonhart to tell them what the DEA knew and when. Issa and Grassley also requested Leonhart provide a list of all DEA employees who act as liaisons between the DEA and other law enforcement agencies in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Issa and Grassley also sent Leonhart a list of DEA officials:

  • Elizabeth Kempshall, special agent in charge, Phoenix
  • Doug Coleman, acting special agent in charge, Phoenix
  • Chris Feistle, assistant special agent in charge, Phoenix
  • Albert Laurita, assistant special agent in charge, Tucson
  • David Hathaway, resident agent in charge, Nogales
  • Joe Muenchow, resident agent in charge, Yuma

The new letters followup a secret testimony acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) director Ken Melson gave on July 4. At the testimony, investigators for Grassley and Issa say Melson indicated other agencies were involved in Operation Fast and Furious.

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  • Lt Scrounge

    While I personally believe that the corruption on this thing runs all the way to the top, I don’t believe that anything will be done to those responsible. The Republicans in the House could demand that a special prosecutor be named, but they aren’t doing it. The ATF has FIRED one of the first and most damning of the whistle blowers in this case, while REASSIGNING the very supervisors and special agents in charge who insisted on allowing the guns to leave the country. Nothing is being done to the BATFE for firing that agent, despite the amount of unwillingness that the firing will cause among other career agents. There will be a lot of political grand standing on this thing, they’ve even passed legislation blocking the BATFE from implementing the unconstitutional multiple sales reporting requirement that this entire operation was designed to initiate, but other than that, absolutely nothing will be done to those responsible. On the other hand, expect the whistle blowers to either find themselves unemployed and blackballed from federal law enforcement service, or assigned to count rounds of expended brass at the Arctic Warfare training school in Alaska.