Former DOJ official talks Fast & Furious
Former aide to Eric Holder Matthew Miller weighs in on scandal
- Duration 8:22
- Date Jun 25, 2012
Former aide to Eric Holder Matthew Miller weighs in on scandal
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-- less -- 72 hours we could see a contempt of congress vote against attorney general Eric Holder over the fast and furious scandal.
It was a gun running staying operated by the Phoenix ATF in conjunction with the DOJ that ultimately lost track of guns 2000 guns.
That ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels weapons that have since been linked to the death of US border agent not to mention hundreds down in Mexico.
In minutes you'll hear from a former Justice Department official who believes the White House had to know what was going on here but first we are joined by someone who was in the room.
When he says attorney general Eric Holder first learned about the botched gun run -- running operation -- that man is right here Matthew Miller.
He's a former aide to the attorney general and former Justice Department spokesman Matt thank you so much for being here.
Thanks for having so there is much controversy about what Eric Holder knew and when he knew it.
First let me let me ask you because he told congress that it was not until.
I think I believe it was.
That he could -- right that he injury he first found out.
And congressional investigators have been questioning that -- you with -- were you in the room with him when he found out and what is the date of that.
Why don't out of -- exact -- but it's that's right it was early 2011 and I remember clearly his reaction when when he saw the first real credible allegations that gun -- it happened.
You have to remember there -- someone who's been has spent his entire public career in law enforcement.
And you know as the criminals behind bars and knows what are appropriate law enforcement tactics and what aren't.
And he instantly said if gun walking happened.
It's wrong it's not an a legitimate law enforcement tactic and it needs to be stopped and he did two things.
One he ordered the -- the independent inspector general -- DOJ to investigate whether it happened.
And he said if it DIG found evidence of wrongdoing he would hold people accountable.
And two he sent very clear orders the field saying that.
That gun walking is is not the policy of the Justice Department if it's happening it should stop and it shouldn't happen again in the future who was the person who informed him.
I you know I I don't ever think there were there were public allegations first or letters from senator Grassley.
There is public reporting and you know initially there were there are allegations that were unclear then -- -- -- They're -- you know there there were -- blurs the came forward with with what seem to be credible allegations and that's when he asked -- the inspector general to investigate.
But you see you don't remember who was who first told him mr.
holder -- this program goes way beyond what we may have once known it involves giving guns to.
Very bad criminals down -- Mexico.
Why wasn't it wasn't so much there was any one person in the chain of command it was it was the public allegations that were coming forward and in the press.
And in and letters from members of congress that made his first where.
Okay now there is there's a program that the Department of Justice.
The known in the abbreviation is both to death are you familiar with that.
Are another apparent this apparently something it stands for organized crime drug enforcement task force and this -- basically where all the big cases go.
If you're at justice and you want a lot of money while of attention while -- people on it you hope to get this -- to death designations they can get the resources.
According to chairman I -- the Republican is leading this investigation in the house he says that operation fast and furious was designated.
As an -- -- dep operation in January 2010.
Which is almost a year before Brian Terry was murdered he claims that -- -- that that it was getting all the bells and whistles treatment essentially at DOJ.
Twelve months before you say.
Your former boss knew about it is that could that be true.
Well I you know I I'll take chairman I support for I don't know whether it was does -- knows the dep -- or not but.
Even if it was you know his investigation he's really gotten all the facts and documents everything leading up to two win fast and furious was stopped.
He's gotten all the documents from DOJ amounted to find out what happened.
And he hasn't been able to show that anyone in senior leadership knew about the illegitimate gun walking tactics.
There were of course people on main justice who had been informed that that's an operation called fast and furious was happening.
But just hearing the name and itself doesn't tell you anything what we need to know at main justice was that gun walking -- happened and that was never told -- -- in the field ever pass that information to.
To -- justice and it's unfortunate because they're not have been able to stop sooner.
But -- do you know that because that typically in an in an operation that goes through most of death within the DOJ you know this fancy program designation.
They've gone what of the wiretap applications that DOJ would have had to sign off hot and by the way which they did sign off on there's no question at DOJ had to sign -- on the wiretap applications used in fast and furious.
By the ATF in Phoenix.
Would have had to be.
Very detailed and they normally would be reviewed in great detail by senior Justice Department officials because of the importance of operations with with in the -- -- program.
Was that the case here.
Well one of the things that -- terror I think has looked into that and you know he sometimes this -- about about what he finds there.
What what he's discovered is that standard operating procedure for their review of those wiretap applications is that senior department officials in the criminal division review summaries.
And the summary is from what's come out publicly never mentioned anything about gun walking so they in fact when they signed -- -- wiretap publications never had the information.
To show the gun walking this happened net but I think we don't.
That this goes along with what I said tamraz's -- from the beginning which he often makes these allegations.
And in scrambles for facts to support them and then -- can't can't supporters out nations he moves the goal post moves on something else.
In your thought is that the summaries of those wiretap applications Maine out of had been most nefarious details of -- -- senior DOJ officials may not have known about the most nefarious stuff.
But would you concede that somebody -- DOJ had to sign off on on the more nefarious operation.
Aspects because somebody did sign off on those wiretap applications which typically have to be very detailed.
Well that knowing that knowing it judge justice and and and there's never been any evidence that anyone.
In a senior fit in his.
Think you're quell my ducks in a senior Arnold.
-- -- no doubt it's somebody at DOJ had to sign off on this did they not and I'm and I'm talking about the controversial aspects of the operation.
That -- there -- never been any evidence that anyone at main justice signed off.
-- the gun walking tactics and not only that but but can Nelson who had you know was the head of the ATF.
To dare -- -- committee that he never told anyone at main justice about gun walking.
Do you believe that President Obama and Eric Holder have talked about.
The more controversial aspects of this case that -- of about operation -- appears in the gun walking -- tactics that were used.
You know I don't know I've I've heard the attorney general testified publicly that they haven't really talked about it I -- I believe that it could be the case.
You know that there's I would surprising if they've talked about the public coverage of it not the under for you know I have no idea about the underlying operation -- The person who is it is sort of that the spokesperson for the DOJ.
One of the categories of documents that -- withholding from chairman eyesight is media discussions chair the discussions within your former department from the sound of it.
You know right did do you think that's appropriate because even folks who have been defending the DO Janice have said.
Really we -- even know what the media people were saying -- one another about this how does that fall under deliberative.
Well what it what it has to do it is so you have to look at where terrorized the starting first that's for.
All the information about what happened in passengers he got that.
They asked for all the information and it as to what led to the creation of that February 4 letter to senator Grassley that's caused much controversy and he got that.
And then when neither of those sets of information provided any evidence to back up its claims.
He did move the goal the goal post asked for all of these delivered materials about how the department has responded to media inquiries -- responded to.
Congressional inquiries and they really have nothing to do.
With the -- operation fast and furious and they won't do anything to help find out how fast and furious came to be.
They really go to the heart of the sort of delivery of materials that that the Justice Department has never turned over.
Although I -- -- I would add to this is quickly.
The depth department and it did bend over backwards and make an offer to provide as materials the chairman last week and he turned it down because he wanted to go ahead -- the contempt vote.
Now he was he was offered.
Some 14100 at thirteen hundred documents and he was -- to say.
He wouldn't hold mr.
holder in -- without seeing the documents and so that's by an opinion of -- can't do it Matt Miller listen thanks we appreciate you coming out with the attorney general's perspective -- Thank you all the best.