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.