The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico, reports the Los Angeles Times. All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office. McMahon and Newell have acknowledged making serious mistakes in the program, which was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious. Kenneth Melson, ATF acting director, said in an agency-wide confidential email announcing the promotion that McMahon was among ATF employees being rewarded because of “the skills and abilities they have demonstrated throughout their careers.”