Fast and Furious
Since February 2011, the House Oversight and Government and Government Reform Committee has been conducting a joint investigation with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) of reckless conduct in the Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious. The committee has held three hearings, conducted twenty-four transcribed interviews with fact witnesses, sent the Department of Justice over fifty letters, and issued the Department of Justice two subpoenas for documents. The Justice Department, however, continues to withhold documents critical to understanding decision making and responsibility in Operation Fast and Furious.
In this review the OIG examined information that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained about the traffickers of two firearms that were used in an attack on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Mexico that resulted in the death of one agent and the serious injury of another.
The previous joint staff report entitled The Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious: Accounts of ATF Agents chronicled Operation Fast and Furious, a reckless program conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the courageous ATF agents who came forward to expose it. Operation Fast and Furious made unprecedented use of a dangerous investigative technique known as "gunwalking." Rather than intervene and seize the illegally purchased firearms, ATF’s Phoenix Field Division allowed known straw purchasers to walk away with the guns, over and over again. As a result, the weapons were transferred to criminals and Mexican Drug Cartels.
On January 19, 2016, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the Justice Department to produce documents to the Committee related to Operation Fast and Furious. The documents—previously withheld pursuant to the President’s executive privilege claim—detail the Department’s internal deliberations with respect to denying, and eventually admitting, that firearms were trafficked into the hands of Mexican cartel associates during Fast and Furious.
Fortune’s "investigation" is exposed as a hit piece full of errors and omissions. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent John Dodson was the first to publicly blow the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious in a March 3, 2011, interview on the CBS Evening News.1 In November 2011, Agent Dodson contacted Congressional investigators to advise them that a reporter named Katherine Eban had contacted his ex-wife.
Resolution Recommending That The House Of Representatives Find Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department Of Justice, In Contempt Of Congress For Refusal To Comply With A Subpoena Duly Issued By The Committee On Oversight And Government Reform
Resolved, That Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, shall be found to be in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena. Resolved, That pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 192 and 194, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall certify the report of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, detailing the refusal of Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, to produce documents to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as directed by subpoena, to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, to the end that Mr. Holder be proceeded against in the manner and form provided by law.
In the fall of 2009, the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed a risky new strategy to combat gun trafficking along the Southwest Border. The new strategy directed federal law enforcement to shift its focus away from seizing firearms from criminals as soon as possible—and to focus instead on identifying members of trafficking networks. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) implemented that strategy using a reckless investigative technique that street agents call "gunwalking." ATF’s Phoenix Field Division began allowing suspects to walk away with illegally purchased guns. The purpose was to wait and watch, in the hope that law enforcement could identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case.
Jun 7, 2017 - This report, Part III, describes the Justice Department's response to the congressional investigation of Fast and Furious.
In the center of Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Ken Melson, then the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, relaxed in his chair. To his right sat his lawyer, a former United States Attorney. To his left at the head of the table, a court reporter, called the night before for an emergency assignment, using her stenograph to record Melson’s every word. Muzzled by senior leadership of the Department of Justice for months and amidst rumors of his imminent firing, Melson had had enough.
Find Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department Of Justice, In Contempt Of Congress For Refusal To Comply With A Subpoena Duly Issued By The Committee On Oversight And Government Reform Report Of The Committee On Oversight And Government Reform United States House Of Representatives.
This report was originally issued in September 2012. Redactions in the report were based on the Department’s identification of, among other things, Title III electronic surveillance, or federal wiretap, information. At the Inspector General’s request, the Department agreed to seek court orders authorizing the unsealing of portions of the redacted wiretap information pertaining to Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious that did not reveal the content of intercepted communications or law enforcement sensitive information, and that did not otherwise affect individual privacy interests
This report is the first of three completing the investigative work of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. This report chronicles the fundamentally flawed firearms trafficking case from the perspective of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.