NRA President Wayne LaPierre: "Fast and Furious" biggest cover-up since Watergate

Wayne LaPierre and Eric Holder
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National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The American people were "never supposed to find out" about ATF's "Fast and Furious" operation, NRA President Wayne LaPierre told attendees during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) today in Orlando.

As CBS News has reported previously, the ATF's controversial "Fast and Furious" operation allowed thousands of weapons to be smuggled into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels, and the operation is now being investigated by congress.

"This is the biggest cover-up since Watergate and it's time to ask the Watergate question. Who authorized Fast and Furious and how high up does it go?" LaPierre asked during his speech.

In his speech, LaPierre also accused President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder of "stonewalling" the two Congressional Investigations into the operation.

"President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder shrug their shoulders and say, "I didn't authorize it. Don't ask me," LaPierre said.

"They ran a massive campaign out the Department of Justice and the White House to manipulate public opinion and encouraged the media to slander the reputations of honest gun dealers---when they knew the truth all along."

Both President Obama and Attorney General Holderhave saidthey had no knowledge operation was underway and did not authorize it.

As he did earlier this month, today LaPierre also called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to conduct the investigation into "Fast and Furious" and "get to the bottom of the scandal".

Earlier this week, CBS News obtained and releaseda series of secretly recorded audio tapes believe to have been recorded last March, in which an Arizona gun dealer and an ATF agent involved with ATF's "Fast and Furious" operation worried about the unraveling scandal.