Publicly, ATF and Justice have tried to downplay any notion it would let guns knowingly flow to straw buyers to Mexican drug lords.
Newell, the special agent in charge in Phoenix, was asked at a news conference after the Avila indictment whether his agency would ever let guns knowingly cross the border. Newell answered, “Hell, no.” But, he said, suspects under surveillance sometimes elude agents, which could result in guns winding up in Mexico.
[Sen. Charles] Grassley got a similar answer.
In a Feb. 4 letter to the senator, the Justice Department said ATF never “knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico.” ATF, the letter added, makes “every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation into Mexico.”
Grassley told the Center he now believes those representations are contradicted by the documents his staff has gathered and the testimony of agents like Dodson. “The Justice Department and the ATF put up a wall to mislead the American people and were less than forthcoming,” he said.
So on top of everything else, now the BATF is openly lying to Congress. (Again.) Only this time, the Senate doesn't believe them.