ATF 'Fast and Furious' secret audio recordings reveal concerns about whistleblower

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Guns recovered by ATF Agents
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In a series of secretly recorded audio tapes believe to have been recorded last March and obtained by CBS News, an Arizona gun dealer and an ATF agent involved with ATF's "Fast and Furious" operation worried about the unraveling scandal.

The tapes were made just weeks after CBS News broke the story in February.

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The conversations were recorded by Andre Howard who ran the Lone Wolf Trading Company. Howard's gun dealership had been cooperating with the ATF in "Fast and Furious." At least two of his weapons were sold to a straw buyer before turning up later at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Hope MacAllister, the ATF agent heard in the conversations, was the lead case agent.

The ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation allowed thousands of weapons to be smuggled into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels. Agents involved describe it as "letting guns walk."

Among other things, Howard and MacAllister expressed concerns about ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who by that point had gone public about "Fast and Furious" in an exclusive interview with CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

(Listen to the audio below)

Agent: I was ordered to let guns into Mexico

They also spoke of their concerns that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) was investigating, with Agent MacCallister saying of her superiors in Washington, DC, "they're gonna say have to say Grassley you're just gonna have to sit your a-- down."

These recordings are important because MacAllister has never spoken publicly about her involvement in the operation and its fallout and Howard's role as a gun dealer cooperating with the ATF placed him in position to see "Fast and Furious" firsthand . The audio recordings contain new revelations about the guns involved, and ATF's efforts to respond to the breaking scandal. The tapes were turned over to Congressional investigators and the Inspector General in connection with their probe into "Fast and Furious."

The excerpts below refer to whistleblower ATF special agent John Dodson, and a March 9 letter that Rep. Lamar Smith and 13 other House Judiciary Committee members sent to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers regarding "Fast and Furious."

(Read text of the audio excerpts below.)

The gun dealer is Andre Howard, the agent is ATF Agent Hope MacAllister.

Dealer: He's (Dodson) more toxic than you realize. I can tell you casue I asked him. How much of this f-----g file did you release?

Agent: Mmmhm

Dealer: He said basically the underlying case file. I said okay, who'd you release it to? F-----g Patrick Leahy! Ok? Wasn't just Grassley it was Leahy alright? Leahy as we both know has adjourned this inquiry right now okay with no plans to reconvene it. So your people were successful on that end.

Agent: Right.

Dealer: Obviously that's good. However these other idiots from

Agent: Yeah I saw that. The House?

Dealer: Yeah and that I don't know. What is troublesome with this I expected Darrell Issa's signature to be on this it wasn't. He's your biggest thorn, he hates Holder.

Agent: Yeah. Where's he out of?

Dealer: Darrell Issa?

Agent: Yeah.

Dealer: California.

Agent: California.

Dealer: Lamar Smith you know's out of Texas, I don't know. Holder has to respond to this tomorrow.

Agent: Yeah he's gonna respond.

Dealer: I know he is. And I can assure you the media isn't gonna like his response because basically it's gonna mirror what he's told Grassley.

Agent: Yeah.

Dealer: He can't deviate.

Agent: Well if, I mean I've seen a rough copy at least of what our US Attorney here has sent up. Whether or not he has the b---s to actually use it or not, I doubt it. But I mean it's pretty aggressive. Um. The way I see it our local US Attorney is extremely aggressive. When it gets to DC..

Dealer: Who Emory?

Agent: No...THE US Attorney.

Dealer: Burke, yeah, used to work under Clinton. Guy used to work under Clinton. Talking about Burke?

Agent: MMhmm.

Dealer: yeah well

Agent: But the problem is once it gets to dc it just gets... well you know

(unintell.)

Dealer: Discombobulated that's a good term for it yeah I get that.

Dealer: Let me tell you you got more people out there now talking about this f-----g thing than anything I've ever seen...(unintell.) ... they're not shutting the hell up

Agent: (unintell)

Dealer: and that goes from DHS to f-----g FBI to everybody...

Agent: Yeah.

Dealer: I'm hearing hypothetically on every fringe

Agent: Yeah.

Dealer: Thru third parties and I can assure you they're all like what the hell are they nuts?

EXCERPT 2

Dealer: But you have got to put the word out there to all the departments tell the f------g FBI shut the f--- up. (whispering)

Agent: FBI'S got their own problems, trust me.

Dealer: I know I hear.

Agent: They've got their own problems.

Dealer: Hypothetically.

Agent: If anybody's gonna get sued it's gonna be the FBI in my opinion.

EXCERPT 3

Dealer: What is it with the FBI they just have a h--- on for you guys or what?

Agent: The FBI's got their own problems. Like I said they're focusing on our problems they should probably turn it inward, cause they got their own problems right now.

Dealer: That ain't no lie.

Agent: So.. so hahaha.

EXCERPT 4

Dealer: What's Holders' office got to say about this?

Agent: Well like I said they're supposed to come out with little more um b----y statement than they have in the past, so...

Dealer: God they're (intell)

Agent: I mean at some point they're gonna say have to say Grassley you're just gonna have to sit your a-- down. I mean that or they're gonna have to (unintell). I mean like I said my understanding is he can't call a hearing. Somebody from the majority party has got to call a congressional hearing and as of right now...

Dealer: Patrick Leahy's an a----e, you know that. He gets ahold of something he's like a dog with a bone.

Agent: As of right now we don't have any info that's occurred. So...

Dealer: No, not now, but

Agent: I know there was a presentation given to Judiciary committee and everybody aside from Grassley is is satisfied. At least at this point.

Dealer: So they say you know I don't trust em...

Agent: No but I mean that's all I've got...it's all (unintell.)

  • Sharyl Attkisson On Twitter»

    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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