Graphic via My Gun Culture, Click to enlarge.
Fast and Furious, the fatally flawed operation that allowed 2,500 guns to walk across the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartel killers, began in fall 2009 and was only halted after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. Approximately 300 Mexicans were killed or wounded by Operation Fast and Furious guns, which have been found in the vicinity of at least 200 crime scenes.
In a final report likely to be released later this week, Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials are responsible for the failed operation that they say was “marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy.” The five managers are highlighted in bold type, in the paragraphs below.
Richard Serrano at The LA Times has the exclusive report:
The five ATF managers, since moved to other positions, have either defended Fast and Furious in congressional testimony or refused to discuss it. They could not be reached for comment Monday. At the Justice Department, senior officials, including Holder, have steadfastly maintained that Fast and Furious was confined to the Arizona border region and that Washington was never aware of the flawed tactics.
The joint staff report, authored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was highly critical of the ATF supervisors.
They found that William Newell, the special agent-in-charge in Phoenix, exhibited “repeatedly risky” management and “consistently pushed the envelope of permissible investigative techniques.” The report said “he had been reprimanded … before for crossing the line, but under a new administration and a new attorney general he reverted back to the use of risky gunwalking tactics.”
His boss, Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon, “rubber stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them,” the report alleged. “In McMahon’s view it was not his job to ask any questions about what was going on in the field.”
They added that McMahon gave “false testimony” to Congress about signing applications for wiretap intercepts in Fast and Furious.
His supervisor, Mark Chait, assistant director for field operations, “played a surprisingly passive role during the operation,” the report said. “He failed to provide oversight that his experience should have dictated and his position required.”
Above Chait was Deputy Director William Hoover, who the report said ordered an exit strategy to scuttle Fast and Furious but never followed through: “Hoover was derelict in his duty to ensure that public safety was not jeopardized.”
And they said Melson, a longtime career Justice official, “often stayed above the fray” instead of bringing Fast and Furious to an “end sooner.”
But, the investigators said, ATF agents said that they were hamstrung by federal prosecutors in Arizona from obtaining criminal charges for illegal gun sales, and that Melson “even offered to travel to Phoenix to write the indictments himself. Still, he never ordered it be shut down.”
This is just the first of three final reports that investigators say will deal with “the devastating failure of supervision and leadership” at the DOJ and an “unprecedented obstruction of the investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself.”
Shameless and brazen Democrats have demonstrated that they are willing to circle the wagons for this most corrupt of Attorney Generals so it looks highly unlikely, at this point, that he will step down, or be forced to step down before the election.
After all, Holder has a very important role to play, this year, IYKWIMAITYD.
Hat tip: Hot Air