Senator C. Grassley (or his office) replied.
The response from Grassley is a non denial denial. He (or his office) writes that the key issue is that the BATF "encouraged" gun sales. The previous line had been that the BATF "allowed" gun sales. The original claim is important, since it implies that the BATF could have prevented the gun sales. Grassley (and his office) no longer stick to their previous claim that this has been demonstrated.
I stress that I use the word "previous" refers to the previous sentence. In one sentence Grassley (or his office) asserts that the claim that the BATF could not stop the guns is inconsistent with the evidence. In the following sentence he (or they) argue in the alternative that it doesn't matter if the BATF could or couldn't stop the trafficking.
The central claim of the article, that there was nothing ATF could have done to stop the illegal sales, is simply incompatible with the evidence. If it is true that ATF could not interdict and seize weapons due to legal hurdles beyond its control,
I believe that's called arguing in the alternative. Something defence attorneys can do, but prosecutors better not. Don't you think that after months of investigation Grassley (and his staff) should know if the BATF can or can't stop gun sales ? Yet he (or they) claim no knowledge of relevant law and make no assertions one way or the other about legal advice from the US Attorney's office (which is notably part of the same Justice Department so they can harass Holder over that instead).
via Mother Jones