An updated AP story: "DOJ denies border shootout claim."
Grassley spokeswoman Beth Pellett Levine said the Justice Department denied one aspect of allegations presented by whistleblowers and promised to give the senator a briefing. "However, the briefing has still not occurred, and documents provided with the allegations are not consistent with that denial," she said. "There are many specific questions that need to be answered in full by the Justice Department as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, our sources within ATF confidently stood by the whistleblowers' narrative and uniformly scoffed -- some profanely and obscenely -- at the DOJ letter's fig leaf of the word "sanctioned," comparing it to the Clintonian use of "sexual relations" or the definition of "what 'is' is."
A long-time observer of DC in general and the ATF in particular had this reaction:
The letter is supposed to create layers of deniability and create a distraction via the insult mechanism (i.e., get you to react to and focus on the insult rather than salient facts or questions). I doubt Lanny Breuer is going to come near this. And the point about Melson not responding to the letter is more than telling; Melson may not have had a choice, consider that.
Some questions that occur to me, in no particular order of importance:
1. Has the gun used to murder Border Patrol agent Brian Terry been identified? If so, on what evidentiary basis, including ballistic evidence. If the gun has been identified, the two key questions: (A) has this gun ever been traced before? (B) if so, what do the traces show?
2. What are the locations in Mexico where "gunwalked" firearms were recovered?
3. Were any "gunwalked" firearms used to murder anybody in Mexico? If so, who? Again the Goat (Copulation) questions: (A) have any of these guns ever been traced before? (B) if so, what do the traces show?
4. Did Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer attend any meetings at which Project Gunrunner was discussed in full or in part? If so, provide (1) the date of the meeting or meetings, (2) names of all persons who attended each meeting or meetings, and (3) the unredacted write-ups of what was discussed at each meeting or meetings, as well as private, unpublished notes, e-mails and any other documents that contain information about each meeting or meetings.
[nota bene: I am making a distinction here between ATF and DOJ as institutions, in asking these questions]
5. For each of the 274 firearms recovered in Mexico, describe the extent, if any, to which Mexican authorities were advised these firearms had been transported to Mexico with the knowledge of ATF.
Good questions all.
I can't wait to be sitting in gallery when they are asked -- under oath.
Holder (Sotto voce): "I'm telling them the whole damn thing was your fault." Breuer: (Voice rising): "Bullshit, if you sell me we're both going down."