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"You've got people who are dead, you have weapons that are missing and you have an administration that doesn't seem to want to take any accountability for it," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah and a member of the House Government Oversight Committee. "There is absolutely no justification, no justification for this. There are people that are going to have to be held accountable."
Hoping to score a knockout blow against the Mexican cartels, U.S. law enforcement created "Operation Fast and Furious" to stop gun smuggling by allowing the weapons into Mexico, thereby exposing the entire cartel network to prosecution, according to a new congressional report on the U.S. program.
Instead, the operation was a bust, a deadly strategy that left a trail of blood and bodies throughout the Southwest, the scathing congressional report said, concluding that a reckless and irresponsible chain of command ignored repeated warnings the plan would fail.
Findings from the preliminary report include:
-- Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.” Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.
-- ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.
-- Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.