The long-awaited 471-page report from the U.S. Justice Department’s inspector general on the Operation Fast & Furious scandal singles out 14 federal officials for criticism and possible disciplinary action, reports Politico. The report found no evidence that the department's top leaders knew about the gun-walking aspect of the operation while it was under way. The IG found misconduct or poor judgment on the part of officials at DOJ headquarters; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington and in Arizona; and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona in connection with the operation that reportedly allowed as many as 2,000 weapons to flow from U.S. gun dealers to Mexican drug cartels.
The report essentially clears Attorney General Eric Holder, who has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism, of wrongdoing or errors in judgment. The investigators found Holder didn't know about the operation or its controversial tactics until after the scandal emerged as two weapons linked to the operation were found at the scene of the shooting death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in 2010. GOP lawmakers say the report doesn't address whether Holder moved swiftly or strongly enough to discipline those responsible for the operation. As the report was released yesterday, Holder announced the departure of two officials criticized: former ATF Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Jason Weinstein.