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Documents recently turned over by the Justice Department to Congressional investigators indicate that then-Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler received a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious more than a year and a half ago.
"Deputy Attorney General" is the Justice Department's No. 2 figure, directly under Attorney General Eric Holder.
Grindler moved from Deputy Attorney General to a spot as Holder's chief of staff last January.
The briefing Grindler attended was on March 12, 2010, six months into ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons on the street in an attempt to track down Mexican drug cartels. Portions of the documents are redacted.
In handwritten notes about Fast and Furious that are not all legible, Grindler writes about "seizures in Mexico" and "links to cartel." He also noted "seizures in Mexico" on a map of Phoenix, the home base for Fast and Furious, and Mexico locations where some guns ended up. And Grindler made notations on a photograph of several dozen rifles.
Listen to this interview the president of the United States, not the attorney general, the president of the United States, had with CNN Espanol back in March.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There have been problems, you know. I heard on the news about this story that -- Fast and Furious, where allegedly guns were being run into Mexico, and ATF knew about it, but didn't apprehend those who had sent it.
Eric Holder has -- the attorney general has been very clear that he knew nothing about this. We had assigned an I.G., inspector general, to investigate it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It begs the question, how did the president know about this in March, and how did the president know the attorney general knew nothing about this in march, when the attorney general says in May he just learned about it a couple weeks ago?
The Justice Department has provided Congress with 1,364 pages of documents detailing how the department gave inaccurate information to a U.S. senator in the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the Southwest border.
In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally. In connection with Operation Fast and Furious, both statements subsequently have turned out to be incorrect.