A joint staff report titled, “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation” has been released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley. This report is part one in a series of three that are expected to be released. It is approximately 200 pages long and looks at the role of ATF supervisors that were involved with the failed operation.
While the report names those ATF mamagers who are accountable, such as William Newell, Mark Chait, David Voth, William McMahon, it also points out that former Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson is accountable as well. But that’s not all. No, No. The report goes on to state,
“Soon, the U.S. House of Representatives will commence legal proceedings to enforce its prerogatives following the June 27, 2012, vote holding Eric H. Holder, Jr. in criminal and civil contempt.”
OH my! They are not just going to let this go and that is a very good thing. While they have gotten the men a little lower on the totem pole, they are going after the big fish: Attorney General Eric Holder. Not only are they going after Holder for both criminal and civil contempt, but the report mentions the Obama administration several times.
In a press release from Senator Churck Grassley of Iowa he said,
“ATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office failed to consider and protect the safety of Americans, Mexicans, and fellow law enforcement personnel throughout Operation Fast and Furious,” said Chairman Issa. “Testimony and a persistent reluctance to fully cooperate make clear that many officials at ATF and the Department of Justice would have preferred to quietly sweep this matter under the rug. Though they are among the most vocal objectors to oversight by Congress, this investigation has also shown that both agencies are among those most in need of additional scrutiny and attention from Congress.”
“The ATF wasted time, money and resources on wiretaps and put agents in harm’s way trying to learn about the links that other agencies had already made,” Grassley said. “It’s a classic case of government agencies’ failure to connect the dots. The ATF leadership claims it didn’t get the full picture from the FBI until after the case was over. We know the DEA was actively giving information to the ATF, but the ATF dropped the ball. Whistleblowers put the spotlight on Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF clearly needs to clean up its act, and the Department of Justice needs to make certain this kind of program is never allowed to happen again. This report provides a road map of what went wrong.”
This new report, “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, Part I of III,” is based on transcribed interviews with 24 individuals, some covering multiple days; informal interviews with more than 50 individuals; and the review of more than 10,000 pages of documents. While the Justice Department has withheld tens of thousands of pages of documents and denied access to numerous witnesses, the investigation did find sufficient evidence to draw conclusions concerning the origins of Operation Fast and Furious, the detrimental effect of inter-agency miscommunications and turf issues, flawed strategies, delays, and an overall failure to effectively supervise subordinate offices.
The complete report consists of 2,359 pages, including 211 pages of text with 692 footnotes, 266 exhibits, and three appendices.
It seems that things are finally taking shape here uncovering those complicit in Fast and Furious. We can only hope that those leading the charge will not grow weary in the fight and bring justice for all of those who have lost their lives because of an incompetent administration.