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OIG Report: A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters

• DOJ, Inspector General
Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was assigned to
investigate the murder of Agent Terry, the senior leadership of ATF and the
Department of Justice (Department or DOJ) took little action in the immediate
aftermath of Agent Terry’s death to learn more about an ATF investigation that
involved the trafficking of approximately 2,000 weapons over many months,
and how guns purchased by a previously-identified subject of that investigation
ended up being recovered at the scene of Agent Terry’s murder. Shortly after
Agent Terry’s death, stories began appearing on the Internet alleging that ATF
had allowed firearms to “walk” to Mexico, and that one of those firearms may
have been linked to the death of a federal law enforcement officer.
The flaws in Operation Fast and Furious became widely publicized as a
result of the willingness of a few ATF agents to publicly report what they knew
about it, and the conduct of the investigation became the subject of a
Congressional inquiry. On January 27, 2011, Senator Charles E. Grassley
wrote to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson that the Senate Judiciary
Committee had received allegations that ATF had “sanctioned the sale of
hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers,” who then
transported the firearms throughout the southwest border area and into
Mexico. On February 4, 2011, the Department responded in writing by
denying the allegations and asserting that “ATF makes every effort to interdict
weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to
Mexico.” However, after examining how Operation Fast and Furious and other
ATF firearms trafficking investigations were conducted, the Department
withdrew the February 4 letter on December 2, 2011, because it contained
Also on January 27, 2011, Senator
. . .

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