Report places blame for 'Fast & Furious'

Sept. 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Senior federal officials failed to stay on top of the "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation that left weapons in criminals' hands, a draft report concludes.

Fox News, which obtained portions of the Justice Department Inspector General's yet-to-be-released report, said Tuesday the report concludes dozens of officials jeopardized public safety as "Operation Fast and Furious" played out..

The report and related materials outline failed leadership, oversight, accountability and chain of command in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Justice Department and other offices, Fox said.

The report reveals many senior executives knew the United States was facilitating the movement of weapons into Mexico that killed people but let it happen anyway.

"We found no evidence in 'Operation Fast and Furious' that the ATF or the [U.S. attorney's office] attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants," the draft report says.

Under the operation, about 2,000 assault weapons were delivered into Mexico as U.S. authorities tried to get a handle on gun-trafficking across the border. However, many of the guns wound up in criminals' hands and two guns were tied to the slaying of one U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.

Fox said the report, which is expected to be released this week or next and be presented to Congress, lays much of the blame at the feet of Phoenix ATF Agent in Charge Bill Newell, ATF Supervisor Dave Voth and ATF Case Agent Hope MacAllister. Their attorneys contend their clients are being made scapegoats.

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