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Ignoring The Warning Signs

- March 22, 2013

New IG's Report Faults DHS For Ignoring Warning Signs In "Fast And Furious"



According To A New Department Of Homeland Security IG's Report, ATF Agents "Asked Their Border Patrol Counterparts Not To Pursue Criminal Leads" During "Fast And Furious." "Even as they lost scores of illegal firearms in their Fast and Furious operation, federal ATF agents asked their Border Patrol counterparts not to pursue criminal leads or track gun smuggling in southern Arizona so they could follow the firearms themselves, and senior Homeland Security agents 'complied and the leads were not investigated,' according to a new Department of Homeland Security inspector general's report." (Richard A. Serrano, "New 'Fast And Furious' Report Finds DHS Warning Signs Ignored," Los Angeles Times, 3/21/13)

According To The IG's Report, Senior DHS Officials Ignored "Updates About Fundamental Flaws With The Failed Gun Tracking Operation" From Their Agent Collaborating With The ATF. "The report, obtained Thursday by The Times, also said that a Homeland Security special agent on the border was collaborating with the ATF in Fast and Furious, but his 'senior leaders' in Arizona never read his updates about fundamental flaws with the failed gun tracking operation. Had they done so, Homeland Security officials could have tried to close down the operation before one of their Border Patrol agents, Brian Terry, was killed not far from Tucson." (Richard A. Serrano, "New 'Fast And Furious' Report Finds DHS Warning Signs Ignored," Los Angeles Times, 3/21/13)

Homeland Security IG Charles K. Edwards Said That DHS "Agreed To The Request" Of ATF Agents To "Refrain From Further Efforts" To Investigate Gun Smuggling During "Fast And Furious." "Charles K. Edwards, the deputy Homeland Security inspector general, said in his report that shortly after ATF launched Fast and Furious in Phoenix in October 2009, Homeland Security special agents learned of the operation while conducting their own investigation into a Mexican gun smuggling ring. But ATF agents told the Homeland Security special agents that the firearms were 'related' to Fast and Furious and asked them to 'refrain from further efforts to identify the smuggling ring's transportation cell.' The top Homeland Security agent in Phoenix 'agreed to the request,' largely because federal prosecutors supported Fast and Furious." (Richard A. Serrano, "New 'Fast And Furious' Report Finds DHS Warning Signs Ignored," Los Angeles Times, 3/21/13)


The "Fast And Furious" Operation Was An ATF Program That Tracked Weapons Sold To Illegal Buyers In Hopes Of Arresting Mexican Drug Cartel Members. "Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them. But they lost track of more than 2,000 weapons, and the Mexican government says some of them have turned up at about 170 crime scenes there." (Richard A. Serrano, "Emails Show Top Justice Department Officials Knew Of ATF Gun Program," Los Angeles Times, 10/03/11)

  • "About 1,300 Firearms, Most Of Them AK-47 Assault Rifles, Are Unaccounted For Since Suspected Cartel Associates Began Purchasing The Weapons Along The Mexican Border From Licensed U.S. Gun Dealers In 2009 As Part Of The Trafficking Inquiry Known As Operation Fast And Furious." "A scathing internal Justice Department report on a botched gun-trafficking investigation that allowed about 2,000 weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartel enforcers is not likely to close the book on the scandal. Federal officials acknowledge that there are serious concerns about the hundreds of guns that have yet to be recovered by Mexican and U.S. authorities. About 1,300 firearms, most of them Ak-47 assault rifles, are unaccounted for since suspected cartel associates began purchasing the weapons along the Mexican border from licensed U.S. gun dealers in 2009 as part of the trafficking inquiry known as Operation Fast and Furious." (Kevin Johnson, "Illegal Guns From 'Fast And Furious' Still On Street," USA Today, 9/20/12)

Two "Fast And Furious" Weapons Were "Found At The Scene Of The Dec. 14 Shooting Of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry." "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is facing criticism of a program that funneled illegal guns into the hands of Mexican gun runners, drug gangs, and other criminals after two of those guns were found at the scene of the Dec. 14 shooting of US border patrol agent Brian Terry by Mexican bandits in Arizona…The Dec. 14 shootout in Peck Canyon, near Nogales, Ariz., occurred after border patrol agents halted a group of armed border bandits and fired at them with bean bag guns. The bandits then opened fire with live bullets from AK-47 submachine guns, killing Mr. Terry." (Patrik Jonsson, "Did Flawed US Policies Play Role In Death Of Border Patrol Agent?," The Christian Science Monitor , 3/4/11)

"[T]he Senior Leadership Of The ATF And The Department Of Justice…Took Little Action In The Immediate Aftermath Of Agent Terry's Death To Learn More" About Operation "Fast And Furious." "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." ("A Review Of ATF's Operation Fast And Furious And Related Matters," U.S. Department Of Justice, Office Of The Inspector General, 9/19/12)

No Government Officials Involved In "Fast And Furious" Have Been Held Criminally Liable For Terry's Murder. "One year ago today, Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was gunned down in Arizona near the Mexican border by illegal immigrants armed with weapons from the now-infamous ATF 'Fast and Furious' gunwalking operation. Terry's killing has touched off a firestorm that crossed international borders and trigger investigations, Congressional hearings, denials and admissions to the upper levels of the Justice Department. A statement issued today by Terry's family raises the notion that responsible government officials should be prosecuted. 'We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable,' reads the statement." (Sharyl Attkisson, "Terry Family Marks One Year Anniversary Of Death Of Their Son, Brian Terry, Murdered Border Patrol Agent," CBS News , 12/14/11)

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