Politics
              President Barack Obama waves as he takes the stage prior to speaking at Scranton High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
              President Barack Obama waves as he takes the stage prior to speaking at Scranton High School, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)   

White House denies reports Obama knew of ‘Fast and Furious’ in 2010

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

A White House spokesman pointed Friday to an account published by the left-wing advocacy group Media Matters for America in its denial of three online claims that President Barack Obama was briefed about the failed “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-walking program in 2010.

According to recently released White House visitor logs, then-Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler was admitted to the White House four times in 2010 between May 7 and May 19.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program was at its peak during May 2010. Grindler was briefed in depth about Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010.

At least three different investigators on the political right have suggested that those visitor logs indicate Obama met with Grindler personally, since the president was identified as Grindler’s “visitee” on the visitor logs.

But on the dates in question, the logs specifically referred to formal arrivals and receptions related to a State Dinner for Mexican president Felipe Calderón. It’s unclear whether the three writers noticed this feature of the visitor logs, since the spreadsheets’ columns related to the purpose for the visits is hidden from view and only become visible when readers scroll a considerable distance to one side.

In response to questions from The Daily Caller on Friday, Obama spokesman Eric Schultz pointed to a Media Matters attack on the same three writers. That Media Matters report also identified an event, related to the announcement of a Supreme Court nominee, which the group said Grindler attended.

“The three May 19 listings indicate that Grindler was one of President Obama’s many guests for the widely attended events related to Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s state visit, not any sort of briefing,” according to the Media Matters report to which Schultz pointed TheDC. “Grindler is listed as an attendee of the Mexico State Dinner in a report by NBC Chicago.” (RELATED: Issa: Holder should reform law enforcement agencies or quit)

“The 3rd visit on May 10, 2010, is listed in the visitor logs as a ‘Large Event With POTUS and Community Leaders’ that took place in the East Room. A large event to discuss Operation Fast and Furious? No, Grindler attended President Obama’s announcement of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Schultz added that Obama has repeatedly denied involvement in, and knowledge of, Fast and Furious. “The President has made clear that he did not know about or authorize this operation,” Schultz said. “As a general matter, the President does not authorize criminal investigations nor does the White House manage them in any way.”

Schultz, however, has refused to answer questions related to Obama’s thoughts about the surge in congressional demands for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation.

When TheDC asked Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office about the Grindler meetings, his spokeswoman Beth Levine said has not drawn any conclusions.

“Senator Grassley’s investigation will go wherever the evidence takes him,” Levine said. “Just like with the Attorney General, up to this point there has been no evidence that the President was involved in the decision making on Fast and Furious. Senator Grassley is continuing to move forward in a deliberate manner as the documents come in and the interviews take place to ensure that all of these questions are answered.”

Issa’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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