Report: 5 named in Fast & Furious probe

July 30, 2012 at 8:31 PM

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- Investigators have determined five Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents are responsible for a failed gun-walking program the Los Angeles Times said.

The newspaper reported Monday it had obtained a copy of a report by Republican investigators finding five senior ATF officials are collectively responsible for the Fast and Furious operation. The report found the failed operation was "marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy," the newspaper said.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., voted last month to find U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt because he had not turned over documents the committee demanded. The Republican-controlled House also voted to hold Holder in contempt.

The report to be released this week alleged the Justice Department had a role in the Fast and Furious program, citing an assertion by Kenneth E. Melson, formerly acting director of ATF, that his superiors in the department "were doing more damage control than anything" else amid public disclosure of the failed operation.

Republican investigators said they will issue two more reports, focusing on what they called "the devastating failure of supervision and leadership" at the Department of Justice and an "unprecedented obstruction of the [congressional] investigation by the highest levels of the Justice Department, including the attorney general himself," the Times reported.

Five people were indicted July 9 in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010. Two guns found at the scene of Terry's death were traced to the Fast and Furious program.

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