This afternoon the Justice Department released the 471-page report from Michael Horowitz, the DOJ Inspector General, finding federal agents and prosecutors in Phoenix primarily responsible for the failed effort to infiltrate weapons into smuggling rings in the operation named “Fast and Furious”.
According to The Washington Post in an article entitled Justice IG Critical of ATF in Gun Operation,
The long-awaited report also directed sharp criticism at senior officials from the Justice Department and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington for lax oversight of the attempt to block the flow of weapons to Mexico’s violent drug cartels. Many of the weapons later turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including one in which a Border Patrol agent was killed.
The inspector general’s report recommended that the Justice Department consider taking disciplinary action against 14 current officials from the department and ATF. Among them were former acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, former acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson, former ATF Special Agent in Charge William Newell and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein.
Weinstein resigned today but called the IG’s conclusion that he knew about and failed to stop the practice of allowing guns to cross the border “completely false.” Weinstein is represented by NAFUSA member and former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich.
The IG’s report failed to criticize Attorney General Eric holder Jr., finding that he had no advance knowledge of the tactics and risks involved in the operation.
In a scathing report, the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, laid primary blame on what he portrayed as a dysfunctional and poorly supervised group of Arizona-based federal prosecutors and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As part of the operation, those officials did not act to seize illegal weapons in hopes of bringing a bigger case against a gun-smuggling network linked to a Mexican drug gang.
While it found no evidence that officials at the Justice Department in Washington had authorized or approved the tactics, it faulted several officials for related failures, including not recognizing red flags and failing to follow up on information about both Operation Fast and Furious and a similar, earlier investigation called Operation Wide Receiver, in which guns also reached drug gangs.