Politics
Lanny Breuer. Getty Images Lanny Breuer. Getty Images  

Holder’s No. 2 in 2009: Gunwalking, Fast and Furious a ‘terrific idea’

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

The head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and Attorney General Eric Holder’s highest-ranking deputy, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, called Operation Fast and Furious and gun walking a “terrific idea” in emails to now-former Acting Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Ken Melson back in late 2009, according a report released by Republican staff of the House Oversight Committee.

On Dec. 3, 2009, Melson wrote to Breuer, “Lanny: We have decided to take a little different approach with regard to seizures of multiple weapons in Mexico. Assuming the guns are traced, instead of working each trace almost independently of the other traces from the seizure, I want to coordinate and monitor the work on all of them collectively as if the seizure was one case. . . We should meet again just to catch up on where we are in our gun-trafficking issues and we could talk about the above idea as well. Let me know what you think.”

Breuer responded on Dec. 4, 2009, writing, “We think this is a terrific idea and a great way to approach the investigations of these seizures. Our Gang Unit will be assigning an attorney to help you coordinate this effort.”

According to the Republican Oversight Committee staffers’ report, Breuer — Holder’s number two — assigned a prosecutor to help ATF handle Fast and Furious. That attorney, according to the report, was Joe Cooley.

This information comes as Democrats on the Oversight Committee say there is no evidence that suggests any senior political appointees of the Obama administration or in the Justice Department knew about, or approved, gun walking or Fast and Furious.

According to Fox News, on Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole denied that Breuer and Melson were talking about Fast and Furious and its tactics. “In light of Assistant Attorney General Breuer’s commitment to stemming the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico and his strong ties and collaborative relationships with his counterparts in Mexico, it is inconceivable that his intention was to have guns released into Mexico,” Cole wrote.

Watch:

Follow Matthew on Twitter