A top Justice Department official on Wednesday confirmed the existence of ongoing investigations where agents have laundered drug-proceed money to Mexican drug cartels as part of a sting run, but he defended those probes against Republicans’ attacks.
Congress gave the Drug Enforcement Administration the authority to conduct such sting runs as far back as 1984, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Ronald Weich told Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a letter, obtained by Texas on the Potomac. In investigations during the Ronald Reagan administration, some in which agents laundered over $100 million, they gained access to the top levels of drug-cartel leadership, Weich wrote.
Weich wrote that he couldn’t discuss the specifics of any current ongoing operations, “the details of which, by their very nature, are not suitable for public discussion, particularly insofar as those operations touch on important national security concerns and implicate issues of agent safety.”
Issa has opened a probe into the current drug-money stings, tacking it on to another investigation he’s conducted with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, into Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-trafficking sting.
“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday.
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