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September 19, 2012

Justice OIG issues 'Fast and Furious' report

The #Justice Department's Office of Inspector General on Wednesday issued its long-awaited report on the 'Fast and Furious' gun-walking scandal that has long captivated Congress.

The 512-page report concluded that the Fast and Furious operation and its predecessor begun in the second Bush administration, Operation Wide Receiver, were "seriously flawed in several respects." The operations were undertaken "without adequate regard for the risk it posed to public safety in the United States and Mexico," investigators said, adding that there were problems with the use of certain informants.

Investigators further criticized the lack of oversight from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials.

"Although both Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious should have qualified as 'sensitive' investigations given the 'international implications' involving Mexico and their non-traditional strategies and tactics, neither case received the type of oversight from ATF Headquarters the procedures seemed to contemplate," investigators noted.

Immediately following the report's release, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the immediate retirement of Kenneth Melson, the former Acting Director at ATF, as well as the resignation of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, a longtime career prosecutor.

Operation Fast and Furious, and its predecessor, entailed ATF investigators allowing guns to be sold in the United States to illegal buyers, with the hopes that the guns could ultimately be tracked to Mexican drug cartel leaders.

Justice Department investigators, while acknowledging that ATF has instituted "significant and helpful reforms" following the collapse of Fast and Furious, added that "more rigorous oversight" of the agency is still needed. On Thursday, some of that oversight will occur in the latest hearing conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

"The Inspector General’s report confirms findings by Congress’ investigation of a near total disregard for public safety in Operation Fast and Furious," Issa said, adding that "it’s time for President Obama to step in and provide accountability for officials at both the Department of Justice and ATF who failed to do their jobs."

Nonetheless, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California declared the report as a vindication of sorts.

"It confirms what has long been known – that the Attorney General and his leadership team were not involved with and did not know about the flawed tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious. It also confirmed that the ill-conceived and botched ‘gun walking’ operations were begun under the Bush Administration," Schiff said.




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John Randolph

It is with great sadness that I say that BP Agent Brian Terry died in vain.

I say that as someone who lost two of his own co-workers and friends to gun fire. One performed his duties as Border Patrol Agent and the other his duties as a DEA agent:

With great sadness I now know that George and Keith both died in vain too.

All died in vain because the system that creates the situations in which they were murdered is unnecessary.

The system is touted and propagandized as one that is patriotic, necessary and protective of the American way of life. Yet the system in fact facilitates death in order to maintain its own profitable status quo.

Profit put above human life as it relates to: illegal drugs, illegal guns, illegal immigration, money laundering, human trafficking, illegal human labor, cross border trade, oil, remittances, NAFTA, the medical and educational costs of the US undocumented, US corporate investments in Mexico, the privatization of prisons, and the militarization of the border via the US border security industrial complex.

There is simply too much unscrupulous profit being made off of not only the illegal commodities of drugs, guns, and immigration, but also in fighting the wars against these insidious industries for either the US or Mexican governments to end this madness.

These agents did not to have die in vain. We must oust the 1% political profiteers and dismantle their deadly corrupt systems in order to give the lives of these fallen heroes the significance that is due.

James Bowen

Anyone remember the name of the last Director of the BATF? There hasn't been one in place since about 2005 thanks to the GOP blocking the appointees of both the Bush and Obama administrations.

kay sieverding

How much does Holder know about what DOJ attorneys do?

DOJ published an official notice in the Federal Register, vol. 60 p 23214, that the purpose of the "Prisoner Tracking System" is to manage the imprisonment of "Federal prisoners who are in custody pending criminal proceedings". DOJ attorney David Rybicki filed in DDC 09-0562 doc 8-1 p 23 and substituted "judicial" for "criminal" and claimed that the PTS can be legally used to manage prisoners held without a criminal proceeding. DOJ published an official notice in the Federal Register, vol. 66 p 20478, that the categories of individuals whose records should be put into the "Joint Automated Booking System" are "alleged criminal offenders who have been arrested and booked". Only, no one else. Rybicki filed in DDC 11-01032 doc 31 p 3 “Nothing in that Federal Register Notice states, as Plaintiffs erroneously claim, that the JABS must be used only to process individuals arrested for criminal offenses”. As a result, Judge Bates found “JABS was not limited to arrests for a criminal charge.”

Ryblcki argued that a federal arrest warrant can be issued by a judge without an oath or a criminal complaint. See the 4th Amendment. Rybicki also implied that DOJ can legally imprison for months without a bail hearing or a stated statutory basis based only on a judicial order. See 18 USC section 3142 and 4001. No courtroom disruption was involved.

This case law precedent could affect you. Does Holder know?


When this investigation started they named someone in the white house that knew about the fast and furious Gun running. So why would anyone think that Barrack Obama and Eric Holder did not know about this criminal operation. Barrack Obama and Eric Holder are as guilty as the people that pulled the trigger that did kill Brian Terry and other American agents as well as hundreds of Mexican Citizens in Mexico.

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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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