Department of Justice's Operation Fast and Furious: Accounts of ATF Agents: Joint Staff Report Prepared for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, Chairman, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Ranking Member, United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, 112th Congress, June 14, 2011   [open pdf - 1MB]

"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. [...] This report is the first in a series regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Possible future reports and hearings will likely focus on the actions of the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona, the decisions faced by gun shop owners (FFLs) [Federal Firearms Licensees] as a result of ATF's actions, and the remarkably ill-fated decisions made by Justice Department officials in Washington, especially within the Criminal Division and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. This first installment focuses on ATF's misguided approach of letting guns walk. The report describes the agents' outrage about the use of gunwalking as an investigative technique and the continued denials and stonewalling by DOJ and ATF leadership. It provides some answers as to what went wrong with Operation Fast and Furious. Further questions for key ATF and DOJ decision makers remain unanswered. For example, what leadership failures within the Department of Justice allowed this program to thrive? Who will be held accountable and when?"

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United States House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://oversight.house.gov/
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Listed on July 13, 2011 [Critical Releases]