Secret recordings raise new questions in ATF ‘Gunwalker’ operation

Sharyl Attkisson
CBS News
9/19/2011

Updated 5:09 pm, Sept. 19, 2011 with comment from the Office of the Inspector General
WASHINGTON – CBS News has obtained secretly recorded conversations that raise questions as to whether some evidence is being withheld in the murder of a Border Patrol agent.

The tapes were recorded approximately mid-March 2011 by the primary gun dealer cooperating with ATF in its “Fast and Furious” operation: Andre Howard, owner of Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Arizona. He’s talking with the lead case ATF case agent Hope MacAllister.

The tapes have been turned over to Congressional investigators and the Inspector General…

…Law enforcement sources and others close to the Congressional investigation say the Justice Department’s Inspector General obtained the audio tapes several months ago as part of its investigation into Fast and Furious.

Then, the sources say for some reason the Inspector General passed the tapes along to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona: a subject in the investigation. It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation…

…In the audiotapes, ATF Agent MacAllister tells Howard that a third weapon recovered at the Brian Terry murder scene last December is an SKS assault rifle. Agent MacAllister claims to know that the SKS “had nothing to do with” the Brian Terry murder and, unlike the WASR’s, did not trace back to the Lone Wolf gun store.

It’s unclear why a weapon would be, in essence, missing from the evidence disclosed at the crime scene under FBI jurisdiction.

Agent MacAllister and Howard (the gun dealer) also discuss various Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are investigating Fast and Furious. They express concern that whistleblower ATF special agent John Dodson has further evidence that could be damaging to the government…

The complete article, the audio recording, and the transcript of the recording is at CBS News.

H/T The Blaze:

…CBS has asked the pertinent question: ”It’s unclear why the Inspector General, who is supposed to investigate independently, would turn over evidence to an entity that is itself under investigation.”

Increasingly, the answer appears to be a cover-up that stretches widely across the government and reaches up into the highest echelons of power.

In a national election year, a cabinet-level resignation due to scandal would be very politically damaging. For Operation “Fast and Furious,” it appears robust Congressional oversight measures will be required to get anywhere near the truth.

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