Dozens of senior-level U.S. government officials turned a blind eye to public safety as they pursued an ill-conceived and poorly managed investigation into gun trafficking in Mexico, says a long-awaited inspector general’s report on Operation Fast and Furious quoted by Fox News Channel. The report cites a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the main Justice Department itself, and other offices. It says many senior executives knew the U.S. was helping traffic guns to Mexico that killed people but did nothing to stop it.
“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. Fast and Furious was the anti-gunrunning sting that helped send 2,000 assault weapons to Mexico in an attempt to stop illegal trafficking. The operation ended only after the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Two weapons associated with the investigation were found at his murder scene. The report directs much of the blame at three ATF managers: Phoenix agent in charge Bill Newell, supervisor Dave Voth, and case agent Hope MacAllister.