When Did Obama Learn of ‘Fast and Furious’? WH Isn’t Saying

By Fred Lucas | October 5, 2011 | 10:51am EDT

(CNSNews.com) – In the White House briefing on June 27, CNSNews.com asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for the date that President Barack Obama first learned about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) botched gun-sting operation known as “Fast and Furious."

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“I’ll have to get back to you,” said Carney. “I don’t have an exact date for you.”

CNSNews.com had initially asked Carney the question in a June 20 email, sent a week before the briefing when Carney said he would have to “get back” with an exact date.

Since the June 27 briefing, CNSNews.com has repeatedly followed up with Carney and the White House press office asking for the date that Obama learned about the operation. On June 28 and on July 6, CNSNews.com sent Carney emails to ask if he had checked on the date.

In light of the release of documents that show Attorney General Eric Holder was informed about the operation in memos sent to him by senior Justice Department officials in July 2010--which could contradict testimony he gave to the House Judiciary Committee on May 3 that he had “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks” -- CNSNews.com asked the White House again this morning when the president had first learned of the operation.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

At 9:03 a.m. Wednesday, CNSNews.com sent an e-mail to Carney and the press office with this question: “When did the President first become aware of Operation Fast & Furious? Do you have an exact date? Do you have an approximate time (month-year)?”

At 9:34 a.m., CNSNews.com called the White House to follow-up on the email inquiry. A press aide, who said he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the CNSNews.com e-mail inquiry had been received and the “appropriate people do have the question and contact information.”

At the June 27 White House briefing, CNSNews.com asked Carney:  “Could you tell me what is the exact date that the president learned about the Justice Department ATF operation to allow guns to flow into Mexico?”

Carney apparently had trouble understanding the question, saying, “I mean, I think I’ve answered this question a bunch about--about what he learned?”

CNSNews.com said: “What is the exact date that he learned about it?”

Carney still did not understand. “The exact thing that he learned?”

CNSNews.com again clarified: “Exact date--date.”

Carney finally responded: “I’ll have to get back to you. I don’t have an exact date for you.”

Operation Fast and Furious was an operation run by the Phoenix division of the ATF in which federal law enforcement knowingly allowed people believed to be straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels to buy guns. The aim of the operation was to trace the guns back to Mexican drug cartels. However, the ATF has lost track of most of the nearly 2,000 guns that were sold during the operation.  “Fast and Furious,” which began in September 2009, was halted in December 2010 after two guns sold during the operation were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

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