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Tag: fast and the furious

Family of Border Patrol Agent Slain Along Border Sues Federal Government

Brian Terry

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a Border Patrol agent killed in a firefight along the Arizona-Mexico is suing federal officials, saying the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation put law enforcement authorities at grave danger, the Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit is the latest fallout from an investigation that allowed gun-smuggling rings to buy weapons and smuggle them into Mexico in hopes of determine.

But two years ago, one of those weapons was found at the scene where Agent Brian Terry was mortally wounded in a firefight.

The suit alleges that federal authorities should have known the investigation would lead to injuries and deaths of civilians and police.

Justice Department Rejects Claims That Obama Administration Policies Led to Botched Drug-Running Case

Rep. Issa/gov photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department on Tuesday dismissed allegations from Republican lawmakers who claimed the Obama administration’s strategy for cracking down on gun-smuggling led to the botched Operation Fast and Furious, the Associated Press reports.

Republicans allege the administration shifted its focus from seizing firearms from Mexican drug cartels to identifying gun traffickers.

The idea was to track down drug kingpins and black-market weapons by following their track from low-level buyers in the U.S. to Mexico.

The Republican report “reiterates many of the distortions and now-debunked conspiracy theories that Rep. Issa has been advancing for a year and a half, including the fiction that the flawed tactics used in Fast and Furious were somehow the brainchild of the current administration as opposed to the reality that the pattern of flawed tactics dates back to 2006 and the prior administration,” Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told the AP.

GOP Report Blames Five ATF Officials for “Fast and Furious” Mess


William Newell

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican investigators blamed the failures of “Operation Fast and Furious” on five high-ranking officials at ATF in a scathing congressional report issued Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“From the outset, the case was marred by missteps, poor judgments, and an inherently reckless strategy,” the report states.

The 211-page report calls on the Obama administration and Senate to improve leadership at the ATF, which has been without a permanent director for six years.

Among the five held responsible is William Newell, the former special agent-in-charge in Phoenix, who the report says exhibited “repeatedly risky management,” the LA Times reported.

The five ATF managers identified in the report have been moved to other positions, according to the LA Times.

Here’s some excerpts of the report:

“From the outset, the case was marred by missteps, poor judgments, and an inherently reckless strategy. In the summer of 2009, the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. promulgated a ‘Strategy for Combating the Mexican Cartels.’ The new aim was to zero in on the firearms trafficking networks. Agents were advised that ‘merely seizing firearms’ purchased illegally by straw buyers should take a back seat to gathering information in hopes of dismantling entire firearms trafficking networks. To effectuate the new plan, ATF agents in Phoenix convinced local gun dealers to cooperate by supplying ATF with real-time information on the straw purchases, even though ATF knew the buyers were illegally obtaining firearms destined for the Mexican drug cartels. The gun dealers were reassured that ATF was closely monitoring the transactions, and interdicting the weapons. That was false.”

**

“Shortly after the case began, in December 2009, DEA supplied ATF with extensive information on what would become ATF’s prime target. At that point, ATF should have shut Fast and Furious down, but it failed to recognize the significance of the information the DEA had shared. Instead, ATF continued with its plan to identify all the players in the trafficking network rather than disrupt or deter them through confrontation and arrest. So, hundreds of guns flowed to criminals while two of the trafficking network’s customers, who were its connection to the Mexican drug cartels, were already known to U.S. law enforcement. Both the FBI and DEA had key information on the network’s connection drug cartels in Mexico by the time ATF’s wiretaps were approved.”

 

***

“Though Attorney General Holder testified that the case was ‘fundamentally flawed’ and President Obama has stated that mistakes may have been made, all responsible ATF officials still work either at the ATF or within the Department of Justice. The two men most closely identified with the failed strategy of the case and who bear the brunt of responsibility for supervising the operation on a day-to-day basis, William Newell and David Voth, have both kept their jobs at ATF.”

 

***

“This report is not intended to imply in any way that the mistakes and responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious are limited to ATF and other federal officials who were based in Arizona. While mistakes by figures in Arizona were immense, the joint Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious will issue a second report detailing the mistakes and culpability of Department of Justice officials based in Washington, D.C.”

***

“Operation Fast and Furious was the largest firearms trafficking case involving the U.S.-Mexico border in the history of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case began in the fall of 2009 in ATF’s Phoenix Field Division under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge William Newell, an agent with a history of sanctioning the dangerous investigative technique known as gunwalking. Newell had been reprimanded before by ATF management for pushing the envelope with discredited tactics. But Newell had an audacious goal. He intended to dismantle the U.S.-based gun trafficking network that supplied the formidable Mexican Sinaloa Cartel. When the Obama administration resurrected an earlier case in which his division used reckless gunwalking tactics, Newell saw his opportunity.”

***

Click here for a copy of the report, Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, Part I of III” and the 2,148 page appendices.