"Fast and Furious" Report Pegs Phoenix ATF Office, U.S. Attorney's Office of Arizona
Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement on the report, pretty much saying I told ya so.
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"I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General's report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now," the statement says. "The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006; The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and The Department's leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it."
The report has pretty much the whole saga in it, starting with the similar Bush-era program called "Operation Wide Receiver," and goes through all the congressional hearings that ensued after the public discovery of "Fast and the Furious" and related issues.
In addressing who's responsible for the strategy, the report mostly blames both the ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office here, but other supervisors and people involved are directly called out too. It doesn't go as high up as Holder, according to this report, which Holder made sure to point out in his statement.
That said, here's how the operations were supposed to go, according to the report:
Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious sought to identify the higher reaches of firearms trafficking networks by deferring any overt enforcement action against the individual straw purchasers - such as making arrests or seizing firearms - even when there was sufficient evidence to do so. Underlying this strategy was the belief that by conducting physical and electronic surveillance of the subjects, as well as collecting documentary evidence of their activities, the agents would learn how the firearms were being purchased and transported to Mexico. Each investigation also had aspirations of identifying and prosecuting the cartel leaders in Mexico ultimately responsible for the trafficking.Of course, that didn't happen.
From late 2009 through 2010, the ATF's "subjects" in the "Fast and Furious" operation bought a grand total of 1,961 firearms, and by February 2012, 710 of those were recovered. Meanwhile, some of the guns were implicated in crimes -- like when a pair of weapons linked to the operation were found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.