Criminal Justice

IG Report Blames DOJ Prosecutors, ATF Agents for 'Fast and Furious,' Seeks Discipline Probe of 14


In a scathing report made public Wednesday about the botched Operation Fast and Furious federal gun trafficking investigation, an inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice called for disciplinary reviews of 14 current and former employees.

In the report (PDF), inspector general Michael Horowitz put primary blame on what he said was a dysfunctional, poorly supervised Arizona-based group of federal prosecutors and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, recounts the New York Times (reg. req.).

Hoping to land bigger fish involved in drug trafficking, those involved in the probe allowed illegal firearms to be smuggled across the border by low-level suspects without intervening. Two weapons linked to the case were later found near the scene of a shootout where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.

While the IG’s investigation found no evidence that higher-ups in the nation’s capital had authorized the decision to allow illegal gun-smuggling, the report says it “identified individuals ranging from line agents and prosecutors in Phoenix and Tucson to senior ATF officials in Washington, D.C., who bore a share of responsibility for ATF’s knowing failure … to interdict firearms illegally destined for Mexico, … without adequately taking into account the danger to public safety that flowed from this risky strategy.”

Among those for whom disciplinary reviews are recommended is assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and Kenneth Melson, the former acting director of ATF, reports the Washington Post.

CBS News and NBC News also have stories.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-US Attorney Admits Leaking Memo Intended to Make ‘Fast and Furious’ Whistle-Blower Look Bad”

ABAJournal.com: “House Committee Sues AG Holder for Civil Contempt, Asks Judge to Nix Obama Executive Privilege Claim”

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