On the day the House of Representatives votes to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents related to the Fast and Furious case, new reports show problems with the Republicans' theory of the case. House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa accuses the Department of Justice of knowing about the operation before it became public. But emails sent by Holder show that's not true, the Associated Press reports. Issa has said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intentionally allowed guns to get into the hands of Mexican drug cartels in order to track the weapons. But Fortune reports that's not true either.
The Associated Press's Pete Yost reports on this thread of emails suggesting Holder didn't know about the ATF's operation. Here's the timeline:
- February 23, 2011: CBS News runs a story on Fast and Furious. Holder's aides forward the story to him, and he responds, We need answers on this. Not defensive BS. Real answers."
- February 28: Holder asks for an investigation by the department's inspector general.
- March 3: Deputy Attorney General James Cole emails staffers, "We obviously need to get to the bottom of this."
- March 10: An ATF official emails, "I hope the AG understands that we did not allow guns to walk." Aides forwarded the email to Holder. He replied: "Do they really, really know" that gun walking didn't happen?