International Law

Ex-US Attorney Admits Leaking Memo Intended to Make 'Fast and Furious' Whistle-Blower Look Bad


A former U.S. Attorney for Arizona who resigned in August after a botched federal probe of gun-running for Mexican drug cartels came to light has admitted leaking a memo intended to cast aspersions on a whistle-blower who went to Congress about Operation Fast and Furious. In the probe, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reportedly stood by as hundreds of weapons were illegally purchased for Mexican drug cartels. Two of the weapons purchased in the operation were eventually found at the scene of a December gun battle in which a U.S. Border Patrol Agent was murdered, which sparked a congressional probe. The federal probe has elicited outrage both here and in Mexico.

Dennis Burke, who apparently was prompted to disclose the leak in a letter yesterday by a sense that a reporter already knew about it, said through his attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, that he is sorry and will cooperate with investigators, National Public Radio reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder apologized yesterday for the fiasco at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, saying that the problems with the probe should not have occurred and must never happen again, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

“This operation was flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution, and we unfortunately will feel the effects for years to come as guns that were lost will continue to show up at crime scenes,” he said.

Mexico is threatening to extradite U.S. officials responsible for the failed Operation Fast and Furious investigation.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “US Atty for Ariz. Resigns, Minn. US Atty Promoted in Shake-Up re Botched ATF Gun-Running Probe”

ABAJournal.com: “Case of Freed Grenades Suspect Played Role in Ouster of US Attorney, ATF Director”

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